Courses FAQ




  • 1.Mountain Bike Leader Information
  • Introduction

    The purpose of the Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme is to promote the safe enjoyment of mountain biking in an off-road environment.

    The scheme provides training and assessment in the technical and group management skills required by those who wish to lead groups in a variety of on and off-road environments in the U K and abroad.  It integrates training, experience and assessment in a variety of testing conditions in off-road country. It also incorporates some basic on road training.

    Since its introduction in Birmingham in 1989 the award has become recognised by Local Authorities, armed services, Outdoor Education Centres and statutory Youth Services, to name a few, as providing technical competence in this field. The scheme is recognised throughout the UK and abroad It is the national gauge against which standards of competence are measured. To prevent duplication and to compliment many of the existing awards which currently exist for walking. This award has been run in conjunction with standards which have already been set. The MIAS Awards may require additional AALS awards. MIAS is recognised by Adventuremark & LOtC, Adventurous Activities Licensing Service (AALS), Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC).  We are endorsed and are platinum awarded inspectors for Adventuremark and Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC). With QCF training dictates level achieved.

  • Scope of the Scheme

    The Mountain-bike Instructors’ Award Scheme offers the opportunity to gain competence in leading mountain biking in off-road environments.

    Completion of a training course alone, without taking an assessment is not a qualification in itself, although it may be of considerable benefit to the trainee.

    It is the duty of the employer or operating authority to decide whether a leader possesses the personal attributes needed to take responsibility for a group of people. It is the combination of technical skills, wide experience and personal qualities which forms the basis for effective group management. The scheme assesses the technical skills and experience, the employer or operating authority must gauge personal qualities.

  • Stages in the Scheme

    The scheme consists of:           

    • Registration and issue of log book
    • Training course
    • Consolidation period – gain further riding experience personal and as a leader
    • Assessment at the appropriate level
  • Registration

    Candidates registering for the scheme must be a minimum of 16 years old (Junior/Assistant Leader 16+), and have a genuine interest in off road biking with at least twelve months experience of off road riding as well as an interest in leading groups. Candidates will be registered with the Mountain Bike Instructors’ Award Scheme when they attend a training course.

  • Training

    Candidates must attend a training course at an approved centre. Courses may be residential but not always and may be run during the week or over a weekend. Courses can be tailored to suit individuals and groups.

    The training course is for potential leaders/instructors and assumes basic competence as a mountain biker. It emphasises those skills which a candidate might have difficulty in learning without expert guidance. A few minor aspects of the syllabus may not be covered during the training course and candidates are expected to learn about these in their own time.

    The course provider/Trainer/Assessor will complete the appropriate pages of the candidates log book and an action plan at the end of the training course 

  • Log Book

    The log book is divided into ten sections. The candidate's relevant experience in off road riding should be recorded in the log book in the appropriate section. Entries should be concise and easily read and should provide a complete record of the candidate's biking experience

     

    During the period between training and assessment, candidates are expected to gain extensive personal experience in appropriate terrain. This should include some practice in leading groups on appropriate terrain and working under the guidance of a suitably experienced instructor in more difficult terrain. Every opportunity should be taken to practice the skills learned during training.

  • First Aid Requirements

    At the start of the assessment course, the candidate must hold a currently valid first aid certificate. A minimum of 8 hours first aid training for Level 1 & 2 and 16 hours for level 3 is required.

  • Assessment

    When applying for assessment, candidates should send the log book and first aid certificate to the course provider to confirm that sufficient experience has been gained.. Candidates should be familiar with all aspects of the syllabus before assessment, even if some parts of the syllabus were not covered in training. During the assessment candidates will be tested in accordance with the syllabus requirements. The course provider then endorses the log book with an assessment report and makes appropriate recommendations.

    The assessment report will take one of three forms:

    Pass: awarded where the candidate has demonstrated a proper knowledge and application of the course syllabus and has shown the necessary experience for and attributes of mountain bike leadership and instruction.

    Deferred: awarded where the candidate has generally performed well and has shown the necessary experience and attributes, but where complete proficiency has not been attained in certain aspects of the syllabus.

    Recommended reassessment: awarded where the candidate's performance has been generally weak, or the necessary experience and attributes have not been shown.

  • Exemption/Approved Prior Learning

    Candidates who already have substantial experience of leading groups on mountain bikes may apply for exemption from training. To qualify for exemption candidates should have at least two years recent experience of leading groups, mountain biking in the United Kingdom or on application abroad and be able to provide evidence of exceptional experience relating to all aspects of the syllabus. There is no exemption from assessment.

    Before applying for exemption candidates should consider the following points:

    • The training course is not an elementary mountain bike course, but a vital part of the preparation for assessment and includes specialised subjects which might be unfamiliar to mountain bikers who are otherwise experienced.
    • The training itself is an interesting and enjoyable experience, from which most mountain bikers can derive considerable benefit .
    • To apply for exemption, candidates should:
    • Be registered with the scheme
    • Obtain and complete an exemption application form
    • Send the completed form, appropriate fee and log book to the Administrator, Mountain-bike Instructors’ Award Scheme, 258 Highfield Road, Hall Green, Birmingham B28 ODP.
  • Wilderness/Open Country Environments

    Leader Levels

    MIAS Mountain Bike Leader Level One (MBL1)  – Non Technical Terrain – (2 days) this award allows access into low-level terrain, with few potential hazards, i.e. country parks, canal towpaths, and non-wilderness areas where help is almost immediately accessible. Includes blue forest trail routes.

     

    MIAS Mountain Bike Leader Level Two (MBL2)– Technical Terrain –         (2 days +) this award allows access into open country, with the potential hazards that surround such terrain.  The leader will operate within 20 minutes of cycling assistance. AALS may also require you to hold additional qualifications to work in this terrain. Includes red forest trail routes.

     

    MIAS Mountain Bike Leader Level Three (MBL3)  – Mountainous Terrain  – (2 days +) this level covers areas defined as mountainous by the Mountain Training UK, but excludes ridges and potential hazardous routes such as ridges or routes involving scrambling. To lead groups on accessible routes to cyclists that are defined by map and ground. AALS may also require you to hold additional qualifications to work in this terrain (e.g. ML, WGLA or equivalent MOD qualifications. Includes red/black forest trail routes.

     

    Tutor Levels

     

                                 MIAS Mountain Bike Tutor Level Four (MBT4)

    – Train AMBL, MBL1 and MBL2 – Assess AMBL and MBL1

     

                                 MIAS Mountain Bike Tutor Level Five (MBT5)

    – Train (as above) + MBL3 – Assess MBL2

  • 2.Mountain Bike Leader Course Content
  • Group Management and the Responsibilities of the Group Leader

    Candidates must be familiar with the main areas of responsibility of the mountain bike leader, particularly for the care and safety of the group, as follows:

    General responsibilities

    • To parents, to individual group members and to the group as a whole.
    • To the sponsoring authority or committee and to the head teacher, warden or club organiser sanctioning the Ride. Also to the general public, to environmental      interests, to local residents or farmers, and to other mountain bikers.

    Specific responsibilities

    • To identify the underlying aims and objectives and to define the specific purpose of the ride.
    • To carry out initial planning, e.g. to obtain parental consent, authority clearance,   personal and medical information, cost,  insurance arrangements. To complete         detailed preparations, e.g. Plan routes, obtain access permission, weather forecasts and brief the group.

    Operational responsibilities

    • To manage the group effectively by setting and reviewing targets, by positive     decision making, delegation where appropriate, proper group control, discipline and good communication.
    • To meet the changing needs of the group and individual members by observations, anticipation and good judgement. Provide sensitivity to the needs of the group and its members, with particular regard to their health and fitness, by maintaining     confidence and enthusiasm despite uncertainty or stress. Adopting leadership styles appropriate to the situation.
    • To provide a safe and rewarding experience for each group member through      involvement, interest, enjoyment and achievement. Imparting appropriate technical skills and competence and fostering environmental awareness.
  • General Skills

    Individual skills: pace, rhythm, foot use, conservation of energy,  balance and

    co-ordination.

    • Group skills: leader and tail person, psychology of the group, corporate strength.

    Group procedure on different terrain.

  • Technical Skills
    • Demonstrate understanding of efficient gear selection applicable to terrain
    • Knowledge of difference in frame types and the relative advantage/ disadvantages
    • Be able to ride over an obstacle of moderate height
    • Control steep descent
    • Ride up moderate slope on rough ground
    • Ride a ridge in a controlled manner
    • Ride a shallow water course
    • Ride with day sack and expedition equipment
    • Be able to ride 30 kilometres plus in a day
    • Have a good all round knowledge of maintenance on the move
    • Carry a comprehensive tool kit and first aid kit
    • Carry a pack appropriate for leading a group out for a day
  • Personal Equipment

    Personal equipment & clothing of the mountain bike leader should be professional and dressed suitably for all weathers & conditions.

  • Access and Conservation

    Candidates should:

    • Be aware of the multiple uses of wilderness areas (e.g. hill farming, forestry, water collection, grouse shooting, stalking) all of which must be respected by the
    • recreational user.
    • Appreciate the issues of conservation (e.g. wildlife. plant life and erosion) and be aware of the long term effects of human pressures on the wilderness environment.
    • Know how and where to get information about access to wild country (e.g. From appropriate guide books and maps and from National Park Authorities, Forestry
    • Commission, Nature Conservancy Council, National Trust, local landowners and other agencies).
    • Appreciate the significance of access agreements and rights of way in wilderness areas, having regard to the fact that a large proportion of these areas are privately owned.
    • Understand the nature of specially designated areas and limitations on their use (e.g. National Trust properties, National Parks, Nature Reserves and Areas of
    • Outstanding Natural Beauty).
    • Be familiar with the Mountain Bike Code and Country Code.
  • Navigation

    Competence as a navigator is a basic prerequisite of any mountain biker. Candidates will be expected to choose the appropriate navigation technique for the conditions.

    Candidates should be familiar with:

    • Relevant maps, scales and conventional signs
    • Contours and other methods of showing relief
    • Topographical features
    • Relating the map to the ground and vice versa
    • Measuring distance on the map and the ground
    • Navigating across country with map alone
    • Suitable compasses, bike computers, GPS if available
    • Methods for relocation
    • Methods for navigating across country in poor visibility and in the dark
    • Route finding without map and compass
    • Route planning, including methods of recording routes
  • Weather

    Candidates must have an elementary knowledge of weather and be able to plan their journeys accordingly. Candidates must also demonstrate their ability to find sources of information on weather.

  • Camp Craft

    Most elements of camp craft are covered in the Basic Expedition Leader BEL or BEAL

    Walking Group Leader WGL and Mountain Leader ML, syllabuses. If candidates choose to combine off road riding and camping they will need to consider the transportation of  camping equipment . The MTB Expedition award bolt-on covers camp craft.

  • Additional Interests
    • Mountain bikers should extend their knowledge about all aspects of biking and the wilderness environment, e.g. Geology, flora and fauna, local history,    history of mountain biking.
    • The leader should know details of clubs and organisations or have access to information on suitable training organisations, cycling clubs, guide books and mountain bike literature.
  • 3.ESCP Information
  • ESCP Information

    The purpose of the Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme is to promote the safe enjoyment of mountain biking in an off-road environment.

    The scheme provides training and assessment in the technical and group management skills required by those who wish to become search and rescue bikers in a variety of on & off-road environments in the U K and abroad.  It integrates training, experience and assessment in a variety of testing conditions in on road & off-road country. It also incorporates some on road training.

    Since its introduction the scheme has  become recognised by the emergency services and is recognised throughout the UK and abroad It is the national gauge against which standards of competence are measured. To prevent duplication and to compliment many of the existing awards which currently exist for wilderness country. This award is to run in conjunction with standards which have already been set. For example, the Basic Expedition Leader (BEL) Walking Group Leader (WGL) and Mountain Leader (ML) award or similar. It is accredited by the  Awarding Body Consortium (ABC), ABCC, Cycle Touring Club (CTC) and recognised 

  • Scope of the Scheme

    The Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme offers the opportunity to gain competence in search and rescue mountain biking in on road and off-road environments.

    Completion of a training course alone, without taking an assessment is not a qualification in itself, although it may be of considerable benefit to the trainee.

    It is the duty of the employer or operating authority to decide whether the biker possesses the personal attributes needed to take responsibility for S & R. It is the combination of technical skills, wide experience and personal qualities which forms the basis for effective S & R. The scheme assesses the technical skills and experience, the employer or operating authority must gauge personal qualities.

    Mountain biking is often associated with freedom, adventure, discovery, exercise, healthy lifestyles and promotes an opportunity to explore local and national wilderness environments. S & R bikers should always foster a high regard for the environment, other  users, inhabitants and encourage others in an understanding of the issues of conservation, access and erosion.

    Winter This scheme does not cover mountain biking in winter conditions.

     

    Stages in the scheme

    The scheme consists of:     Registration and issue of log book

    • Training course
    • Consolidation period – gain further riding experience personal and as a leader
    • Assessment at the appropriate level
  • Registration

    Candidates registering for the scheme must be a minimum of 18 years old, and have a genuine interest in S & R/off road biking with at least twelve months experience of off road riding as well as an interest in the outdoors.

    Candidates will be registered with the Mountain-Bike Instructors Award Scheme when they attend a training course.

     

  • Training

    Candidates must attend a training course at an approved centre. Courses may be residential but not always and may be run during the week or over a weekend. Courses can be tailored to suit individuals and groups.

    The training course is for potential S & R instructors and assumes basic competence as a mountain biker. It emphasises those skills which a candidate might have difficulty in learning without expert guidance. A few minor aspects of the syllabus may not be covered during the training course and candidates are expected to learn about these in their own time.

    The course provider/Trainer/Assessor will complete the appropriate pages of the candidates log book and an  action plan at the end of the training course

  • Log Book

    The log book is divided into ten sections. The candidate's relevant experience in on road/off road riding should be recorded in the log book in the appropriate section. Entries should be concise and easily read and should provide a complete record of the candidate's biking experience. Search and Rescue should be recorded.

     

    Log book period

    During the period between training and assessment, candidates are expected to gain extensive personal experience in appropriate terrain. This should include some practice in leading scenarios on appropriate terrain and working under the guidance of a suitably experienced instructor in more difficult terrain. Every opportunity should be taken to practice the skills learned during training.

     

  • First Aid Requirements

    At the start of the assessment course, the candidate must hold a currently valid first aid certificate. A minimum of 8 hours first aid training for Level 1 & 2 and 16 hours for level 3 is required.

     

  • Assessment

    When applying for assessment, candidates should send the log book and first aid certificate to the course provider to confirm that sufficient experience has been gained.. Candidates should be familiar with all aspects of the syllabus before assessment, even if some parts of the syllabus were not covered in training. During the assessment candidates will be tested in accordance with the syllabus requirements. The course provider then endorses the log book with an assessment report and makes appropriate recommendations.

    The assessment report will take one of three forms:

    Pass: awarded where the candidate has demonstrated a proper knowledge and application of the course syllabus and has shown the necessary experience for and attributes of mountain bike leadership and instruction.

    Deferred: awarded where the candidate has generally performed well and has shown the necessary experience and attributes, but where complete proficiency has not been attained in certain aspects of the syllabus.

    Recommended reassessment: awarded where the candidate's performance has been generally weak, or the necessary experience and attributes have not been shown.

     

  • Exemption/Approved Prior Learning

    Candidates who already have substantial experience of S & R on mountain bikes may apply for exemption from training. To qualify for exemption candidates should have at least two years recent experience of S & R  mountain biking in the united kingdom or on application abroad and be able to provide evidence of exceptional experience relating to all aspects of the syllabus. There is no exemption from assessment.

    Before applying for exemption candidates should consider the following points:

    • The training course is not an elementary mountain bike course, but a vital part of the preparation for assessment and includes specialised subjects which might be unfamiliar to S & R mountain bikers who are otherwise experienced.
    • The training itself is an interesting and enjoyable experience, from which most mountain bikers can derive considerable benefit .
    • To apply for exemption, candidates should:
    • Be registered with the scheme
    • Obtain and complete an exemption application form
    • Send the completed form, appropriate fee and log book to the secretary, Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme, 258 Highfield Road, Hall Green, Birmingham B28 ODP.

     

  • Wilderness/Open Country Environments

    For the purposes of the scheme, wilderness environments are defined on three levels relating to the level of award within the scheme.

    Grade 1: Country parks within city areas, canal towpaths, and non-wilderness
          off road rides where help is almost immediately accessible.

    Grade 2:  As grade 1 for low grade rides on recognised bridleways below 599 metres in wilderness terrain. BEL or equivalent qualification is required.

    Grade 3: As grades 1 & 2. This grade covers areas  defined as mountainous by the Mountain Leader Training Board (MLTB). Rides on recognised bridleways are permitted. ML or Equivalent qualification is required.

     

  • ESCP Award Graded Levels
    • ESCP Grade 1: Introductory Cycling Skills (16 hours)
    • ESCP Grade 2: Developing Cycling Skills (16 hours)
    • ESCP Grade 3: Consolidating Cycling Skills (16 hours)
    • ESCP Grade 4: Trainer/Assessor (60 hours)
    • ESCP Grade 5: Trainer/Assessor (60 hours)
    • ESCP Grade 6: Trainer/Assessor (60 hours)
  • 4.ESCP Course Content
  • Group Management and the Responsibilities of the Group Leader

    Candidates must be familiar with the main areas of responsibility of the S & R mountain biker, particularly for the care and safety of other members and the public as follows:

    General responsibilities

    • To individual S & R members and to the group as a whole.
    • To the sponsoring authority or committee, warden or club organiser sanctioning the S & R. Also to the general public, to environmental  interests, to local residents or farmers, and to other mountain bikers.

    Specific responsibilities

    • To identify the underlying aims and objectives and to define the specific purpose of S & R on bikes.
    • To carry out initial planning, e.g. to obtain  consent, authority clearance,   personal and medical information, costings, insurance arrangements. To complete detailed preparations, e.g. Plan routes, obtain access permission, weather forecasts and brief the group.

    Operational responsibilities

    • To manage the group effectively by setting and reviewing targets, by positive     decision making, delegation where appropriate, proper group control, discipline and good communication.
    • To meet the changing needs of the group and individual members by observations, anticipation and good judgement. Provide sensitivity to the needs of the group and its members, with particular regard to their health and fitness, by maintaining     confidence and enthusiasm despite uncertainty or stress. Adopting leadership styles appropriate to the situation.
    • To provide a safe and rewarding experience for each group member through      involvement, interest, enjoyment and achievement. Imparting appropriate technical skills and competence and fostering environmental awareness.

     

  • General Skills
    • Individual skills: pace, rhythm, foot use, conservation of energy,  balance and co-ordination.
    • Group skills: leader and tail person, psychology of the group, corporate strength. Group procedure on different terrain.
  • Technical Skills
    • Demonstrate understanding of efficient gear selection applicable to terrain
    • Knowledge of difference in frame types and the relative advantage/disadvantages
    • Be able to ride over an obstacle of moderate height
    • Control steep descent
    • Ride up moderate slope on rough ground
    • Ride a ridge in a controlled manner
    • Ride a shallow water course
    • Ride with day sack and expedition equipment
    • Be able to ride 30 kilometres plus in a day
    • Have a good all round knowledge of maintenance on the move
    • Carry a comprehensive tool kit and first aid kit
    • Carry a pack appropriate for leading a group out for a day

     

  • Personal Equipment

    Personal equipment & clothing of the mountain bike leader should be professional and dressed suitably for all weathers & conditions.

  • Access and Conservation

    Candidates should:

    • Be aware of the multiple uses of wilderness areas (e.g. hill farming,forestry, water collection, grouse shooting, stalking) all of which must be respected by the recreational user.
    • Appreciate the issues of conservation (e.g. wildlife. plant life anderosion) and be aware of the long term effects of human pressures on the wilderness environment.
    • Know how and where to get information about access to wild country (e.g. From appropriate guide books and maps and from National Park Authorities, Forestry Commission, Nature Conservancy Council, National Trust, local landowners and other agencies).
    • Appreciate the significance of access agreements and rights of way in wilderness areas, having regard to the fact that a large proportion of these areas are privately owned.
    • Understand the nature of specially designated areas and limitations on their use (e.g. National Trust properties, National Parks, Nature Reserves and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
    • Be familiar with the Mountain Bike Code and Country Code.

     

  • Navigation

    Competence as a navigator is a basic prerequisite of any mountain biker. Candidates will be expected to choose the appropriate navigation technique for the conditions.

    Candidates should be familiar with:

    • Relevant maps, scales and conventional signs
    • Contours and other methods of showing relief
    • Topographical features
    • Relating the map to the ground and vice versa
    • Measuring distance on the map and the ground
    • Navigating across country with map alone
    • Suitable compasses, bike computers, GPS if available
    • Methods for relocation
    • Methods for navigating across country in poor visibility and in the dark
    • Route finding without map and compass
    • Route planning, including methods of recording routes

     

  • Weather

    Candidates must have an elementary knowledge of weather and be able to plan their journeys accordingly. Candidates must also demonstrate their ability to find sources of information on weather.

     

  • Camp Craft

    Most elements of camp craft are covered in the Basic Expedition Leader (BEL), Walking Group Leader (WGL) and Mountain Leader (ML), syllabuses. If candidates choose to combine off road riding and camping they will need to consider the transportation of  camping equipment .

  • Additional Interests
    • Mountain bikers should extend their knowledge about all aspects of biking and the wilderness environment, e.g. Geology, flora and fauna, local history,    history of mountain biking.
    • The leader should know details of clubs and organisations or have access to information on suitable training organisations, cycling clubs, guide books and mountain bike literature.