Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award

Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award

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British mountain bikers are well-equipped, highly-skilled and looking for new challenges. The Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award enables the most experienced leaders to take these groups and individuals on demanding wilderness rides in the most remote corners of the country.

British Cycling, Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling

Course overview

The Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award is aimed at experienced, qualified leaders who are ready to take the next step and increase their ability to create inspiring and long-lasting experiences. This could be for clients or friends, operating in remote environments and on physically demanding trails of high technical difficulty.

Qualified leaders at this level will need to be proficient in all areas of mountain bike leadership, as well as demonstrating that they are highly-skilled mountain bike riders through their logbook. The three-day training course builds upon the skills and knowledge gained at Level 2, with specific topics covered in more depth.


The Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award particularly focuses on leading groups in technical terrain and trails of technical difficulty. The training covers the following areas;

  • advanced trailside repairs
  • route planning and navigation strategies for technical terrain
  • group management in technical terrain
  • risk assessment
  • managing accidents and emergencies
  • promoting hydration and nutrition
  • methods for developing attentional focus.


To attend the training, you will need to:

  • be at least 18-years-old or over
  • be well practised and fully qualified in the Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award (or TCL or MBL Awards as appropriate)
  • be a fit and committed mountain biker prepared to ride all day in challenging, up to black-graded terrain. You should be able to do this with energy in reserve in order to demonstrate appropriate levels of fitness
  • be a skilful rider, competent at negotiating the typical trail features found in Level 3 terrain, where obvious line choices and rollable options are often not available. Required techniques include step-up, bunny-hop and drop-off skills
  • be comfortable with reading a map, taking bearings and creating flow in a trail environment
  • have a working knowledge of the variety of mechanical systems on current mountain bikes and a desire to increase this knowledge
  • hold a current two-day outdoor First Aid certificate.

You will be required to discuss your log book with the tutor you have booked with, demonstrating that you have fulfilled the following minimum requirements for training:

  • In preparation for the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award, we recommend that you log at least 30 quality rides since qualifying as a Level 2 or Trail Cycle Leader. The majority of these should be within the last 18 months and represent all the UK has to offer. We recommend that at least 12 of these rides should be as group leader or assistant leader.

What do we consider to be a quality ride in preparation for training and assessment as a Mountain Bike Leader?

  • Involvement in planning and leadership.
  • Adverse conditions may be encountered and map based navigation skills required.
  • Experience of terrain and weather comparable to UK conditions.
  • Attention is paid to safety, increasing knowledge and practising skills.
  • The ride will include sections of technical difficulty which reflect the Level 2 or 3* environment  (*as appropriate).
  • Journeys are likely to contain a proportion of ascent and descent throughout.

In addition to the terrain appropriate for a Level 2 leader, the remit at Level 3 includes terrain that may:

  • require more than walking speed to be negotiated safely and successfully
  • require wheels to leave the ground
  • not have an obvious line choice
  • be more than half an hour’s walk from where a road ambulance can get to.


Assessment for the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award consists of a formal two-day practical assessment and a written assignment.

Practical assessment

The practical assessment is held over two days, with the first day primarily assessing the learner’s competence in trailside repairs, navigation strategies and techniques required in technical terrain, as well as a peer-led ride through technical terrain. The second day enables the aspiring Level 3 learner to lead a group of participants around a technical route, demonstrating all the required competencies of the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award.

Each learner will lead a section of the assessment route for approximately 1 hour. You will be expected to deliver a flowing journey, demonstrating excellent navigation skills, and be able to locate your position on a map at all times.

Written assignment

The written assignment is an open book home study task and comprises of a range of short answer questions. This task is based on the information included in the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Handbook and other resources provided on the course. You will receive your Level 3 Handbook on arrival at your training course. The written assignment will be sent to you by your assessment tutor after you have booked your place on an assessment.

Registration with British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership programme

Prior to booking onto a training course, you need to ensure that you are registered with the British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership programme. If you have already completed the Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award, then you will already be registered and have completed the necessary pre-course work.

If you are qualified as a Trail Cycle Leader (TCL) or Mountain Bike Leader (MBL) through the MBLA, then you will need to register with British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership programme at a one-off cost. We will then provide you with the Level 2 training manual (in order to familiarise yourself with the Level 2 award), log book and free Ride Membership valid for one year. If you do not regularly work with young people or do not have evidence of completing safeguarding training, we will provide log in details for an online learning programme ‘Child Protection Awareness in Sport and Active Leisure’. A free link to this online safeguarding training course is included in the cost of registration and is made available upon request.

If you have already completed safeguarding training and assessment, you should send a copy of your certificate to mtbleadership@britishcycling.org.uk. Alternatively, if you regularly work with young people, a letter from the organisation you work for verifying you competency in a safeguarding role also satisfies this requirement.

Cost of qualification

The awards are delivered by British Cycling licenced tutors, please contact individual providers for course and assessment costs.

How do I book?

The awards are delivered by British Cycling licenced tutors, please contact individual providers for course and assessment dates.

Dates and venues

Please click below to find a list of current dates for the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award. The list is constantly updated, so please check back for regular updates.


Contact British Cycling regarding the MTB Leadership Award

If you feel you might need extra support to undertake a training course or assessment because of a physical or learning disability, please contact the Mountain Bike Leadership Team ahead of booking. We can then discuss any reasonable adjustments that would support you to become a Mountain Bike Leader.

Contact us