Outdoor Centre Accreditation and the Level 1 Mountain Bike Leadership Award

Outdoor Centre Accreditation and the Level 1 Mountain Bike Leadership Award

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Outdoor Centre Accreditation and the Level 1 Award are site-specific and designed for organisations such as Outdoor Activity Centres.

The aim of this award is to upskill members of staff or volunteers, either from a basic level of MTB proficiency or from 'in-house' training. The Level 1 Leaders will be trained to a standard that enables them to lead introductory level mountain bike rides on limited pre-determined routes in a safe and enjoyable environment. This limits the level of route planning and navigation skills required by the individual and places greater emphasis on the centre’s standard operating procedures.

How to become an Accredited Centre

The centre accreditation process is undertaken in partnership with British Cycling and leads to a formal inspection prior to any delivery of leadership training.

Level 1 training

The one day Level 1 training course includes training and assessment of:

  • essential leader equipment
  • effective puncture repairs
  • equipment set-up and safety checks
  • fundamental mountain bike techniques
  • bike games
  • techniques for effective group management
  • accident and emergency procedures.

As it is a site-specific course, the centres’ existing procedures such as Emergency Action Procedures are incorporated into the training. This will give the leaders all the skills necessary to operate in their specific environment.


There is no formal assessment during this programme; the assessment for this course will be ongoing throughout the day. Upon successful completion of the required criteria staff will be signed off by the tutor. This will enable them to lead rides on the site specific route.


Leaders trained at Level 1 can lead on limited pre‐determined routes they have been trained on and in terrain that;

  • Can be ridden seated and only requires basic weight‐shift application
  • Has one clear line choice, so no decision making is required from riders. If there are two choices then the leader needs to tell or show riders which line to take
  • Is no more than half an hour’s walk from where an ambulance can get to
  • Is during daylight in normal summer and intermediate seasonal conditions.

Note: Sections of road can be included if appropriate and part of the training.


Can I book onto a Level 1 public course?

No, the award is designed to be used at Centres who have been accredited. As such, these centres will organise closed courses for their staff or volunteers only.

Do I need to hold the Level 1 Award to progress to the Level 2 Award?

No, the two awards fulfil different roles in mountain bike leadership, but many Level 1 leaders have used their experience to successfully prepare for the Level 2 Award.

What do learners need to bring on the course?

Learners must bring appropriate footwear and clothing for the weather conditions. Unless they have their own equipment, bikes and helmets should be supplied by their organisation. The safety of their equipment will be assessed by the course tutor and learners should be able to loan equipment from the organisation should theirs be deemed unsuitable.

Do learners need to know the site-specific Mountain Bike route before they go on the course?

Yes. Everyone training at Level 1 is required to have ridden the specific route on which they will be trained. Existing Level 1 leaders will be trained on additional routes as part of their centre's induction procedures.

Will there be a formal qualification at the end of the course?

Yes. Upon successful completion of the course, candidates will receive a certificate and be awarded with the Level 1 Mountain Bike leadership status. This will allow them to operate as a Level 1 MTB Leader at an Accredited Outdoor Centre, subject to completing that centre's orientation procedures.

What happens if someone doesn’t get signed off on the day of the course?

Those who do not fulfil all of the required criteria, should continue to develop their skills under the guidance of a nominated Level 2 MTB Leader within the organisation, who will be able to sign them off at a later stage.

What if someone wants to work and lead mountain bike rides somewhere else? Can they still use the qualification?

Leaders at Level 1 can use their qualification to work for other British Cycling accredited Level 1 centres provided they receive a site-specific induction by an appropriate member of staff.

It is important to note that British Cycling’s professional indemnity insurance is not applicable for Level 1 leaders as they are not trained to lead their own rides and plan their own routes. A Level 1 leader will always work under for an accredited centre and their work has to fall under the centre’s own insurance cover. Where a leader holds a Level 2 MTB Leadership qualification, their eligibility to use British Cycling insurance is not effected by holding a Level 1 qualification.

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.

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