On The Doorstep: Hannah Barnes

Jan 22, 2017 at 10:57
by Simon Nieborak  
Hannah Barnes

Hannah Barnes
I love where I live and can't help but stop to take in the scenery.
Hannah Barnes
Riding here, it never gets old.

Hannah, could you sum up your 2016 season?

It was great! Travelling with such a fun, professional and supportive team is just awesome! I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such a nice ‘second family’. Having Jared join was a great addition, pushing Curtis and being like another big brother to me (as well as Curtis!). With Miranda being at some races too was the icing on the cake! It was a long year - starting in the beginning of February in South Africa to film a Destination Trail Episode, then a 4-day xc marathon race in Sri Lanka called ‘Rumble in the Jungle', then Sea Otter and the Enduro World Series, which finished in October. I’m loving every minute of it!

Hannah Barnes
  A classic go-to ride, meandering all the way up this valley to the climber's hut at the bottom of the North Face of Ben Nevis. There's plenty of big drainage ditches and techy rocky sections to keep things exciting!

Seeing so much of the world, what has been your favourite place?

It was great to go to Sri Lanka again! It felt like an adventure to be racing in a relatively third world country, with school kids excitedly running with us through villages, elephant poo on the trail, tea plantations, jungle, and very spicy but delicious food!

Hannah Barnes
  Levo lifting is a full body work out, but the extra weight feels much less noticeable when you ride.

What's it like returning home after months of travelling and racing around the world?

It’s much needed and always nice to return home. It’s nice to simply recharge the batteries and have a bit of a routine for a while. You have to stop every so often to really appreciate it all!

Hannah Barnes
  The Highlands of Scotland are a rugged wild place, an outdoor playground!

Where do you call home and how long have you been living there?

Home for me is up a little glen (or valley) near to Fort William in Scotland. I was born in the Lake District, but my family moved up to the Highlands when I was 7 and my brother Joe was 5. I love it here, especially now that I have my own little house! I would definitely live somewhere else for a while, but here will always feel like home.

Hannah Barnes

What do you enjoy doing in the off-season?

Relax and enjoy! I'm chilling at home with family and friends, my own bed, cooking, playing my fiddle, just appreciating the simple, home life!

Hannah Barnes
  The climber's hut doesn't serve flat whites, but river water and a sandwich aren't a bad alternative.

What are the pros and cons to riding at home in the winter?

The wet Scottish weather and shorter days are the challenge, but you just get on with it and wear the right clothes. You can’t beat riding on those cold crisp frosty days in beautiful winter light, then a cosy evening by the fire. Snow, fun. Ice, not fun! If it’s snowy I love it, but any ice and I’m out of there.

Hannah Barnes
  From the wild mountain trails down to the sheltered trail centre in Leanachan Forest.

Given how remote it is here, is there much to do?

Not in the conventional sense, however, there still aren’t enough hours in the day! You don’t need to live in a city to have things to do. I really enjoy visiting a city, but love to come home to the quiet countryside. Riding bikes, skiing in the mountains, swimming in lochs, good friends… I enjoy the simplicity of country life and wide open spaces.

Hannah Barnes
Hannah Barnes

What else do you like to do besides mountain biking?

Yoga, ski, run, swim, road ride, play my fiddle, cook, bake, read, eat out, visit coffee shops, and shopping! Lots of things really!

Hannah Barnes
  Snow-capped Glen Nevis.

What's so special about Fort William that it keeps you here?

It’s a very beautiful place, wild rugged mountains, an intricate coastline with white sandy beaches and lots of islands, a great traditional music scene, and great people. If we had more defined seasons then it would be perfect, but it’s still great just as it is.

How deeply are you involved in the local MTB scene?

I love the local XC winter league races, it’s a great local scene with lots of enthusiastic people and families involved. In the summer there are the Time Trial’s which are always painful, but great training and motivation.

Hannah Barnes
  The River Nevis. In summer, we swim in here after a ride, but no swimming today!

What are your favourite trails here?

I love the classic trails around Nevis Range, Glen Loy of course as it is right on my new doorstep, also Laggan and Aviemore have great riding, too!

Hannah Barnes
  The Women's Levo has Body Geometry women's touch and the women's RX tune.

Do you prefer nicely groomed tracks or the wilder, more natural style trails?

Natural, fast and flowy trails put the biggest smile on my face. I do like it all, though, a nice variety is good to keep things fresh. I prefer riding dry trails, though, which is strange coming from such a rainy, wet place!

Hannah Barnes
  Very quickly up one side of the glen, then down the other! You can fit in twice as many laps with the extra power.

Hannah Barnes

How do you find riding the Levo bike?

Initially I was apprehensive but totally open to giving it a go. I first rode a Levo at Sea Otter last year, where I did the E-Bike XC race there. I didn’t know what to expect, it was definitely different and took a bit of getting used to, but it was such brilliant fun to ride and race on! It was just as physically demanding to race, with the extra power you just did twice as many laps.

Hannah Barnes

What in your opinion are the pros and cons of pedal assist bikes?

In general, I think that they are great! They will never replace a 'normal' bike, but then again it isn’t trying to. Although a lot of people aren’t very open minded about them, yet, there is definitely a place for them and are getting increasingly popular. I love mine and the trail exploring possibilities it brings! It is incredibly fun and nimble once you’ve got the hang of the extra power and weight. Although still a relatively new bike, it’s awesome that there is already a women’s Levo! The main difference being the Body Geometry women’s touch points and the women’s RX tune. It would be really cool for more women and girls to give it a go, I’m sure it would result in more women out enjoying the trails! A guy with Spina Bifida recently messaged me to say that his Levo has enabled him to get back out on trails he hasn't been physically able to access in years, which is life-changing. It's also great for people to ride together who normally wouldn’t be able to. If it enables or encourages someone to ride who otherwise wouldn’t or may be put off by joining a fast group ride, then that's brilliant! As a tool to explore further afield trails, cover double the ground, and be just as tired at the end, it’s pretty awesome!

So, when and where would you use this bike?

At home, to go for a nice long spin, have some fresh air and loosen up the legs, but still get a good bit of distance covered.

Hannah Barnes

How often do you ride?

It varies depending on the time of year and which part of the season we’re in. Anything from two to six times per week of varying length and intensity. I also run, swim and do yoga throughout the week. In the winter there’s usually quite a few big ski tour days too which is good cross training and so much fun! I love a good snowy winter!

Who do you usually ride with?

At home I ride alone a lot, as it’s easy to get out in the day when it suits and not worry about fitting around multiple people's schedules, less organising. I love to ride with my boyfriend, friends, and family, too, though! When I’m away, it’s, of course, great to ride with the team and other friends on the circuit such as my good friend, Anka. At the races, it is like one big travelling extended family, so there’s always friends keen to ride and go for a coffee.

Hannah Barnes
  There's so much more to be found in Fort William area besides the famous World Cup track. Go explore!

MENTIONS: @Specialized


  • 58 7
 Right. The industry is trying hard to convince us that the e-bikes are good for you. Try harder. A pro will not change my mind; that's for sure. Other than that, Hannah is very cool indeed and a hell of a rider!
  • 30 4
 Yep nice interview almost spoilt by the inclusion of the e-bike advert.
  • 9 3
 @cypher74: 'almost' = sarcasm right?!?!
  • 16 10
 I dunno....I mean she is almost DFL in every EWS race she enters...clearly not sponsored for her results. And since when does pinkbike to moped ads?

Lovely trails in Scotland though
  • 8 1
 I'm just impressed that she can carry that 25kg thing across those stones, with one hand, and with a smile on her face.
  • 5 4
 you cant deny that e bikes open new doors .... its a whole different thing ! you can go so much further .. different adventures.... FoR FREERIDE mtb like the coastal shame crew edit its totally wtf but here in the adventure mode, I'm in !
  • 2 1
 @cypher74: The interviewer asked, she answered. If you don't read any anwer to a question about the bike, you shouldn't have been bothered. It is all under your own control. Apparently you were interested?
  • 5 1
 @RedBurn: A review of some eMTBs in the German Freeride Magazin said: "You can not go lot further than 1000 vertical meters because of the battery".

Sorry, I don't need a 25kg heavy, extremely expensive Moped to ride 1000vertical meters.

Of course it is fun to ride. But it is not real biking any more.
  • 5 1
 @dfishdesign: it's not all about race results Specialized sponsor her for her adventures. I suspect Hannah is on the EWS team cos she's a nurse not cos she's expected to win races
  • 4 2
 Promoting a more open mind towards E-bikes is all good if you ask me. Was it an advert? maybe but...
Perfect examples of why these bike have a place werr given and that makes it ok for me. Not everyone is a rad DH riding fitness freak
  • 7 0
 @dfishdesign: Bit harsh.. where did u finish?
  • 3 2
 why you guys don't just try at least ones an e-bike first, before get that loud!? just try! make sure its a good one, with Bosch or Brose engine. you will come back with a smile and say how the f..k unfortunately awesome!
I still like more the normal mtb more, but the e-bikes will bring more people to our beloved sport, witch will help to crow and get stronger in the community and politics.
so all you riders out there, be smart and stick together! doesn't matter if we are dhllers, enduromanicas, xcdudes, or even roadies, we are bike riders! cheers
  • 2 0
 @blackforest: german freeride magazine? with good e-mtb you are able to climb around 3000 vertical meters, and this on single trails! but you need to pedal, even harder then you think;-)
I'm agree, its different then on a normal mtb, but as you said fun too.
  • 3 0
 @mikeyspaff: Also, when you've got Yeti sponsoring photographer Dan Milner, Danny MacAskill getting bikes from Santa Cruz, even though he's primarily a street trials rider and Rob Warner being a brand ambassador for Commencal, despite being retired, it seems pretty obvious that brands have uses for guys, other than racers.
  • 4 0
 @Smevan: Hit the nail on the head. MTB is more than just a sport it's a lifestyle and Hannah epitomises that lifestyle. She's just as valuable to Specialized from a marketing point of view as Jared Graves or Curtis Keene.
  • 38 5
 Nope, not even a super-cutie like Hannah will make me like e-bike's..
  • 24 5
 I guess if the word "boyfriend" had appeared at the first answer, plenty wouldn't have read till the end Big Grin
  • 4 0
 amazing shots, not hard to see why we have such an awesome MTB scene here in the UK with scenery like that. Still part of what gets me going about riding is just being out there and taking it all in. Definitely good for the soul Smile
  • 4 0
 "Anything from two to six times per week of varying length and intensity. I also run, swim and do yoga throughout the week." - So much envy right here from a full time working man with kids. Enjoy it!
  • 4 2
 Having done a few rides in the Scottish Highlands I wonder about the suitability of e-bikes and e-bike riders to that environment. You usually end up pushing and carrying for a substantial portion of the ride so pedal assist might not be much help, and the extra weight would be a real hinderance. Unpredictable weather and navigation are real issues and almost any ride can become an epic. I'm all for accessibility, but in this case physical fitness and riding experience should be a barrier to entry
  • 6 1
 First the Coastal Crew and now Hannah Barnes. The big S is trying really hard
  • 3 0
 Nice article Hannah but you need to add KAYAKING to your list of pursuits. Fort William is also a bit of a whitewater Mecca.
  • 2 0
 Thought I was reading a genuine interview, turns out it was an advert. Could pinkbike label these things as advertorial or whatever the phrase is...?
  • 3 0
 Started ok then went the same way as skeptical
  • 3 4
 The Levo rocks. Puts big smiles on your face. Disagree on the RX tune though-this thing can be made really capable with a few tweaks and RX tune is not progressive at all and could be better for the long descents you're likely to enjoy more of with this beast. About to Fit a monarch plus and change the Yari to 160mm. Can't wait to test!
  • 2 0
 Everyone thinking we need more people like Hannah, that one but last picture will make you happy.
  • 2 0
 Subliminal levo ad. I am not so sure if I still like my favourite bike company... I still like Hannah though...
  • 1 0
 I love Hannah and I think I may well soon in my slightly older years be loving a pedal assist bike too!!
  • 1 0
 WTF is the point of an e-bike XC race anyway? Isn't XC racing SUPPOSED to be about suffering?
  • 2 1
 Can we all just get over the E-bike thing. Who cares?! If you don't like them, nobody is forcing you to ride one.
  • 1 0
 Oh hannah.... The fiddle ey?
  • 2 0
 So cute!
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