Get into mountain bike
The endurance and technical skill of cross-country; the speed and raw nerve of downhill; the explosive, elbow-to-elbow spectacle of four cross, mountain bike racing is the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
And whether you fancy exploring the thousands of miles of accessible off-road routes, having a great day out at one of our world-class trail centres or giving your first mountain bike marathon a try, mountain biking is diverse enough to offer something for everyone.
Mountain bikes and riders come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Find out more a bout mountain biking and get to know your Enduro’s from your Marathons, your 4X from your XCE and your downhill’s from your trials. Find out which category you should be in for your first race.
Mountain bike racing takes place in a variety of off road venues. Cross-country races often use parkland, woodland and forestry sites, with the terrain chosen to incorporate climbs, descents and technical features. Looped courses are designed and built specifically for events by skilled course designers, with man-made technical features such as ‘rock gardens’ incorporated to increase the technical challenge.
Downhill courses are shorter point-to-point courses exploiting a venue’s steep terrain, incorporating technical features such as rocks, tree roots, jumps and drop offs. Like cross country courses, these tracks are often created specifically for events or form part of a trail centre or bike park’s established courses.
Four cross courses are, like downhill courses, built on steep terrain with man made jumps, berms (banked corners) and other technical features. They’re much shorter than downhill courses but wide enough for four riders to compete shoulder to shoulder.
Away from racing, the ‘venue’ for recreational mountain biking is huge; it’s the great outdoors. Britain’s network of bridleways and other legal rights of way extends to thousands of miles. For the adventurous type with a bike and an Ordnance Survey map, it’s ripe for exploration. If however you like your riding more ‘point and shoot’, mountain bike trail centres are where it’s at, with way-marked, graded routes, generally in forestry land, with all the amenities such as bike hire, bike wash, bike shop, cafe and changing facilities provided. Think of them as one stop shops for mountain bikers.
Go-Ride clubs throughout the country run mountain bike skills sessions to help young riders get into the sport, teaching them the essential techniques of off-road riding. Scottish Cycling also provides training for mountain bike leaders, equipping people with the skills to lead groups of riders in an off-road environment. Many trail centres also run skills sessions where you can learn the basics of off-road riding in a fun, friendly and risk managed environment.
The mountain bike racing season extends throughout the year, with the main racing season running from spring to autumn while various winter series ensure there’s racing for four seasons. There is racing for all age groups and a range of abilities.There are events all over the country to suit all different types of riders. Know what your looking for check out the events calendar to find an event near you.Not sure what type of race to try find out more about Moutnain biking.
Mountain biking is best watched up close and personal, where you can really appreciate the athleticism and skill of those taking part. The environments that mountain biking take place in are often spectacular and the culture at events is relaxed and exciting, with many events having a festival feel.
Support the sport by volunteering your time and skills at your local mountain biking event. There are opportunities for a variety of roles including timekeepers, judges and marshals. British Cycling has a range of volunteer education courses to support your development.
Putting on your own event is a great way to put something into the sport. There is a lot plan, a lot to think about but there are big smiles to be had too!
Forestry Commission Scotland Events Agreement
When organising events on FCS land organisers must follow the below guidelines.
Developing Mountain Biking In Scotland
The aim of the project is to provide a strategic approach to development, co-ordinate activity, ensure best practice is spread and maximise the potential of mountain biking in Scotland. For more information on the project, news and events please visit our website:
Scottish Cycling are partners in the Go Mountain Bike Scheme which was designed and produced by Cycling Scotland.
Go Mountain Bike is a national mountain bike proficiency scheme with five levels of proficiency across four themes. One of it's principal aims is to support more young people to take up mountain biking through a structure programme.
Go Mountain Bike is delivered by qualified Leaders (from the MBLA scheme) who have been orientated into the scheme. Follow the link for more information on the scheme and to see a list of accredited Centres.
More info on the scheme can be found here