Last weekend, the skills of British Cycling Mountain Bike Leadership tutors were put to the test, when they successfully rescued a casualty from the hills near Ambleside
With support from Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue and an Royal Air Force (RAF) Search and Rescue helicopter, the team saved a cyclist who had fallen off his bike.
Fortunately, it was all part of a training exercise, which was sprung on the tutors during their annual workshop.
The fake scenario was set up by British Cycling as an opportunity for Mountain Bike Leadership Leadership tutors to practice their incident management skills, in a highly realistic situation.
The tutors were unaware that they would face this challenge when they set off on an early morning bike ride on Saturday.
Discovering the fallen mountain biker as they went through the gate on the bridleway above Rydal Water, the tutors responded to the crisis quickly and efficiently, calling upon the support of Mountain Rescue and the RAF Search and Rescue helicopter based at A Flight, 202 Squadron, RAF Boulmer.
Neil Atkinson, British Cycling’s Recreation Education Manager, organised the event and was there to see the tutors respond to the surprise.
He said: “The exercise was as close as the tutors will get to a real life situation, so it was an excellent training opportunity. We’re really grateful for the support from the Rescue Services in making it as life-like as possible.”
The annual workshop for British Cycling Mountain Bike Leadership tutors is an opportunity to bring together tutors from across the country, enabling them to learn from one another and continue to develop their skills.
Neil added: “This team of Mountain Bike Leadership tutors is responsible for training future Mountain Bike Leaders, who lead groups of cyclists on rides.
“It is important that the tutors are educated to the highest standard, so that in turn they educate leaders to the same level and keep mountain bike riders across the country safe.”
A spokesperson from the RAF said: “The concept of teaching tutors the intricacies of dealing with incidents and how to conduct procedures involving Search and Rescue helicopters is extremely important.
“With so many people now taking to the countryside with mountain bikes for recreation, it is good to know that these tutors will be passing on valuable information to potential Mountain BikeLeaders.”
Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team’s Nick Owen, said: “It was good to work with British Cycling.
“It’s helpful when people can assess and stabilise a situation and then make the right call for help. Keeping an accident casualty safe and warm while waiting for emergency services to arrive has the potential to be life-saving.”
British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership programme involves three levels of award, which qualify mountain bike enthusiasts to become Leaders and lead groups of cyclists on rides. To find out more information, please visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/mtbleadership.