What we did this weekend…

British Cycling MTB Leadership Level 2 Training

Across the weekend of 13/14 May Neil attended his British Cycling MTB Leadership Level 2 training course, so what went down and how did he get on?

As a last minute booking onto the course I didn’t receive the course handbook and material until the day before the course and as such Friday night was spent quickly checking I had everything needed for the weekend. Rolling into Dalby Forrest for 8:30 on a Saturday morning felt strange as I wasn’t greeted by the usual eager faces of ride buddies about to hit the trails, instead it was course book and pen in hand ready for some learning.

Greeted by our instructor Mark, myself and the 3 other attendees were soon settled in with a brew and some tasty home baking; thanks Mrs Grange. The morning was filled with a mixture of paperwork, presentations and some practical work looking at what was required to be an MTB leader including essential trailside mechanical skills and what to carry in your guiding pack. On breaking for lunch we were told to reconvene ready to ride.

The afternoon was kicked off with helmet, clothing and bike safety check procedures which flagged up one of our group as having a badly damaged helmet (not yours truly). With a replacement sorted it was then off into the forest to look at core skill games and an introduction to practical leadership techniques and the sort of terrain deemed to be ‘in remit’.

It was then back into the classroom to prepare for tomorrow’s ride kicking off with everyone’s favourite bit of H&S; RISK ASSESMENT! It was then time to break open the maps, compass and route card to prepare what we thought would be necessary to guide a group round the given route. I’m not going to lie my home advantage looked like it was going to make this a relatively easy task as I’ve ridden most of the route numerous times and shouldn’t really get lost in my own backyard! But like a true professional I treated it like an unknown area so as not to be under prepared for any situations and questioning on route.

Sunday morning broke and contrary to the weather report, which said light rain till about 8 then drying and brightening up throughout the day, I was a little surprised and concerned to drop into patchy fog on the way into Dalby. No need to worry though as true to form the micro-climates of Dalby forest were out in force the fog being confined to the entrance. I was chosen as the first leader and as such had to carry out the pre-ride helmet, clothing and bike safety checks and guess what, another dodgy helmet – seriously people check them regularly and thoroughly.

No further problems presented themselves for my first stint however when I took over for a second go the instructor threw a ‘situation’ my way. Faced with a rider who couldn’t continue to pedal I had to find a suitable escape route and plan how to get them back to the start point. Successfully dealt with we continued and finished the ride with the other attendees having to deal with fictional mechanicals and route diversions. The only real emergency that raised it’s ugly head was on reaching Saltersgate Bank car park the ice-cream van was nowhere to be seen!

On our return to the classroom we had discussions over how things went and things we might do differently next time and then had an individual review with Mark. It was agreed that after completing my 2 day outdoor first aid course I would probably be ready for assessment to gain the qualification as he was happy with my performance. So watch this space as hopefully quite soon I’ll be a qualified MTB ride leader!

For further info on leadership courses check out





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