Facebook Sessions: Joe Thomson

Joe River 01

 

TRF:

So, Joe, tell me about your riding history? Are you new to bikes?

Joe:

I had a go on a friends Yamaha TY80 when I was about 12 and got my 1st bike when I was 14, me and a friend went halves on a DT125. Since then I’ve had a few mx bikes and small capacity road bikes, my current bike is a road legal KTM 350 EXC-F

TRF:

So, it’s always been off road oriented bikes then. Does that mean you have been green laning a long time too?

Joe:

It’s always the dirt bikes that have interested me the most but there wasn’t many places to ride one near Durham. I haven’t been green laning for long, I started properly in March 2013 when I bought my KTM

TRF:

So you are relatively new to it then. Has it lived up to your expectations? What role has the TRF played?

Joe:

It really has, buying a brand new KTM was something I’ve dreamed about for years, it’s lived up to all my expectations and is honestly the best thing I’ve ever bought. Joining the TRF has allowed me to quickly get out and ride, meet some fantastic like minded people and learn all about where I can and can’t ride legally

TRF:

Ah, you’re an orange disciple. Great stuff, I’m glad you are making your own dreams a reality. Has there been anything that has surprised you about trail riding? Such as the community or the legal aspects?

Joe:

The legal aspects have really surprised me, I already knew the TRF was fighting for access rights but didn’t realise how bad the situation was, there seem to be people trying and succeeding in permanently closing rights of way forever and for unfair and unjust reasons

TRF:

How has the trail riding community reacted to this? Do you think that all the reasons for closing lanes are unfair?

Joe:

I think the majority are upset and angry at lane closures, I haven’t heard of a single case where I think it’s been fair – they are gone forever and none are ever opened up! What makes me most frustrated are when selfish individuals (e.g. PDGLA) don’t like to share tracks with motorcycles and lobby for them to be closed for their use only when there are many many more fantastic public rights of way accessible via foot that we can’t legally use

TRF:

That’s an interesting point. Do you think most walkers actually know the legal classifications of the routes they walk on? Did you before you started trail riding? If they did know do you think they would behave differently?

Joe:

Some of the keen ramblers will do but generally I don’t think many truly understand all the legal classifications, including the police. Before I started I only knew about a few lanes that were clearly signposted, a lot of routes aren’t marked or are incorrectly marked, better signage would help.

TRF:

Do you think non-trail riders have an accurate view of who is riding in the countryside?

Joe:

Probably not, I always smile and say hello but I guess we all look like power rangers with all the protective gear and full face helmets

TRF:

Do you think they would be surprised to find out a little about the man under the helmet?

Joe:

Maybe, I only wear it for protection and generally take it off to talk to anyone I meet in the countryside

TRF:

Why do you enjoy the countryside?

Joe:

I love the adventure, the terrain and the views

TRF:

What aspects of trail riding do you enjoy the most?

Joe:

Meeting new people, breaking down, drowning in a river, getting lost, getting stuck, falling off, taking a photo of your friend falling off – I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend

TRF:

When you are not on the bike – who is Joe?

Joe:

I’m 29 years old, live in Durham with my girlfriend and 3 dogs, I enjoy spending time with friends and family and have many hobbies – football, badminton, tennis, mountain biking, trail riding, walking as well as maintaining my bikes. I enjoy cooking and love to tire myself out on a long walk or ride and then pig out an a nice meal when I get back.

TRF:

What do you do?

Joe:

I’m a chartered mechanical engineer and generally office based designing/developing machines and process equipment for the metals industry, I’m currently working long term in India helping to construct a new blast furnace for TATA Steel

TRF:

Do you access the countryside in any other way other than on a bike?

Joe:

Yes I do enjoy a long hike as well as getting out on my mountain bike

TRF:

What does the future of trail riding look like?

Joe:

Long term it’s depressing as lanes do get closed down and none ever open up meaning the remaining ones get used more often, get overused and hence more likely to be closed, all we can do is continue to fight to reduce the rate of closures.