MBLA FAQs

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Below you will find the list of Frequently Asked Questions about the MBLA Scheme and the awards. Updated 12th June 2014.

1. What are the different awards in the MBLA Scheme?

Trail Cycle Leader (TCL)

All courses last at least 16 hours; they may be structured in different ways (2-day or evening day 1 to afternoon day 3). Tutor contact details are listed at the end of each section.

On successful completion of TCL assessment the participant will be sufficiently skilled in mountain bike leading to lead groups of up to 8 riders throughout Scotland and the UK as detailed below:-

Public highways, way-marked routes, rights-of-way on which cycles are permitted, identifiable routes, tracks and trails with obvious navigational features. The award covers normal summer conditions. These routes will be 90-95% rideable and take the group no more than 30 minutes walk by a reasonably fit person away from the nearest accessible road or a shelter with communication. They will not involve cycling activity of more than one day length.

A Trail Cycle Leader could also act as an assistant to a Mountain Bike Leader, and would be encouraged to do so to attain the next level of award.

Mountain Bike Leader (MBL)

All courses last at least 16 hours; they may be structured in different ways (2-day or evening day 1 to afternoon day 3). Tutor contact details are listed at the end of each section.

On successful completion of MBL assessment the participant will be sufficiently skilled in mountain bike leading to lead groups within Scotland and the UK as detailed below:-

Public highways, way marked routes, rights of way on which cycles are permitted, identifiable routes and tracks with obvious navigational features which are rideable for 90-95% of their total length and to any height above sea level and more than 30 minutes walk from the nearest shelter with communication. The award covers normal summer conditions.

Expedition Leader

The Expedition Module is open to anyone with a TCL or MBL qualification who wants to learn about expeditions by bike or be able to lead groups on multi-day trips. Expedition Leaders operate in the conditions which are applicable to their level of award.

An Expedition Leader can lead self-sufficient groups on multi-day trips which requires carrying additional equipment and planning and management of groups on such trips. Terrain and technical difficulty are determined by the scope of the Expedition Leader's level of award (TCL or MBL).

Night Riding Leader

The Night Riding Module is open to anyone with a TCL qualification who wants to learn about night riding or be able to lead groups in darkness. Night Riding Leaders operate in the conditions which are applicable to their level of award (TCL/MBL).

A Night Riding Leader can work in conditions outside the 'daytime only' remit of the TCL/MBL awards. The duration of any route chosen must also be within the battery life of lights used.

Winter Conditions Leader

The Winter Conditions Module is open to anyone with a TCL qualification who wants to learn about riding in winter conditions or be able to lead groups in winter conditions. Winter Condition Leaders operate in the conditions which are applicable to their level of award (TCL/MBL).

The course consists of 1 day theory which is classroom based, and one day field based, winter weather permitting (dates arranged according to available conditions).

Click here to download the Candidate Pathway which aims to take you through the scheme step by step.

2. What are the Pre-Entry Requirements?

MBLA Registration

Prior to any training course you must first register with the MBLA.  Your registration pack includes the MBLA Training Manual which contains all the topics covered in TCL and MBL training and assessment, together with all the documentation you require for the course, including log sheets and membership forms. Registration can be done on-line our online shop, or download a Registration form and send it with a cheque to Scottish Cycling. Current Registration fee is £50.00.

Logbook

Candidates must be over 18 years old and have Log book evidence of at least 20 mountain bike rides of 1.5hr duration in appropriate terrain, and in a variety of weather and riding conditions. Longer runs of 2-3 hrs duration, with at least one being 6 hours and 2-3 detailed route cards should also be included. The terrain covered should be appropriate to the level of award sought. Logbook sheets are provided within the MBLA Training Manual, included in candidates' Registration pack.

Evidence of having acted as an assistant leader with a group is recommended, to help acquaint the candidate with the skills and issues covered by the course.

Ideally candidates must have their own bike or at least have easy access to one, e.g. through their Centre or School. Bikes are not provided on the course.

What does assessment involve?

Candidates should be effective in mountain bike leading on applying for assessment. They should be familiar with the course requirements and syllabus, as detailed in the course materials. An outline of the assessment procedures and criteria will be provided on the training courses.
Candidates will be assessed in the following areas:

Clothing & Equipment; Planning & Preparation; Riding skills; Emergency Planning; Navigation; Access Rights & Responsibilities; Leadership; Fitness, Fuel & Hydration; Trailside Repairs & Bike set-up; Hazards & Risk Management; Weather; Legal Issues & Liability.

No prior accreditation of learning is accepted for SMBLA training or assessment from candidates who have attended courses provided by other award schemes.

A TCL or MBL certificate will only be issued if the candidate possesses an appropriate and current First Aid certificate and membership of Scottish Cycling/British Cycling. Both First Aid and membership must be kept current for a TCL or MBL qualification to remain valid.

What level of First Aid Certificate do I require for my TCL/MBL award to be valid?

First Aid training must be provided by organisations approved by HSE for purposes of First Aid training, and delivered by staff who are registered with that organisation as First Aid Trainers/Assessors.

Courses must be a minimum of 12 hours, with no sessions shorter than 2 hours.

Courses must include:

  • action at an incident
  • management of an unconscious 
  • casualty resuscitation
  • treatment and control of bleeding
  • treatment of injuries to bones, muscles and joints
  • recognition and treatment of shock
  • treatment of choking
  • recognition and treatment of common illnesses
  • contents of First Aid box

The course must contain material relevant to the outdoor environment. 

Click here to download a list of First Aid training providers which meet the above criteria and are recognised as appropriate for the First Aid and Safety element of this award. If in doubt about the suitability of a first aid qualification please supply a copy of the syllabus to Scottish Cycling for approval.

Scottish Cycling members are eligible for a 10% discount on the cost of St Andrew's First Aid courses, please contact Scottish cycling to obtain the discount code.

What level of insurance will I recieve and how will I be eligible for this?

TCL/MBL award holders who retain membership of British Cycling at Ride, Race Silver or Race Gold level and a valid First Aid certificate receive Professional Indemnity insurance (to a limit of £5 million) and Public Liability insurance (to a limit of £10 million) to operate as TCL/MBL Leaders in the UK or in Europe. Cover is extended to leadership activities carried out on a commercial basis where the Leader is operating as a sole trader or business.

TCL/MBL Leaders should provide evidence of having attended an approved training course in Child Protection in accordance with the terms and conditions of British Cycling's Professional Indemnity policy. Leaders must retain membership of British Cycling even if they have their own insurance or cover through an employer, to keep their TCL/MBL award valid.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on mbla@scottishcycling.org.uk or 0141 554 6021.