Qualifying Awards for Leaders

Scottish Mountain Bike Leader Association

The SMBLA scheme has been developed by Scottish Cycling, in conjunction with the Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor bikingEducation (SAPOE), in order to provide a framework of qualifications for Leaders to deliver mountain biking as a safe and enjoyable sport and activity. The scheme offers awards at two levels - Trail Cycle Leader (TCL) and Mountain Bike Leader (MBL). Each award covers mountain biking skills, repairs and cycle set-up, navigation and leadership


Trail Cycle Leader Award

The Trail Cycle Leader Award consists of a two day training course, followed by a single day assessment. It is the appropriate award for those wishing to lead groups on mountain bikes on recognised trails and paths. Aberdeenshire Council in accordance with the Trail Cycle Leader scheme requires that the terrain on which a Trail Cycle Leader may operate is restricted to LOW LEVEL and LOW HILLS. (Ref P   – Walking & Hillwalking) It must therefore be less than 600m above sea level and not more than 30 minutes WALK from the nearest road or place of emergency contact.

Holders of a Trail Cycle Leader Award can progress to the Mountain Bike Leader Award, with a further two days of training and one day of assessment. Entry to the Expedition Module, Night Riding and Winter Modules will be available to both qualified TCL & MBL award holders. 
Multi-day trips* will require the carrying of additional equipment and planning and management of groups on such trips.

Mountain Bike Leader Award

mountain biker

This is the minimum nationally recognised award for leading cycling activities on upland, remote or rugged off-track terrain, and terrain with significant technical riding difficulty.

On successful completion of the 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
  • Routes requiring considerable technical ability which are ride-able for 90-95% of their total length.

The award covers normal summer conditions at any height above sea level. Multi-day trips* will require additional equipment, planning and management.

(*NB expeditions, camp craft and the leadership and management of self-sufficient groups in expedition situations will be covered in an additional, 2 day expedition course with continual assessment*)


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