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.

British Cycling, Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling

The aim of this award is to upskill members of staff or volunteers 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.

The centre accreditation process is undertaken in partnership with British Cycling and leads to a formal inspection prior to any delivery of leadership 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
  • effective group management for a flowing journey
  • accident and emergency procedures.

Because 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.


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 candidates need to bring on the course?

Candidates 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.

Do candidates 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.

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

Upon successful completion of the course, candidates will receive a certificate and be awarded with the Level 1 Mountain Bike leadership status.

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

Those who do not fulfil all the required criteria, should continue to develop their skills under the guidance of an appropriately qualified member of staff 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 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.


If you feel that you might need additional support to undertake either a training course or an assessment because of a physical or learning disability and would like to discuss any reasonable adjustments that would support you to become a Mountain Bike Leader then please contact the Mountain Bike Leadership team at British Cycling before booking on to a training course to discuss your needs.

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