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Becoming a British Cycling Mountain Bike Instructor

  • Level 1 – Simple in-house, site-specific qualification. Enables you to lead groups on a specific location
  • Level 2 – 2-day training and a consolidation period. 1-day assessment. Enables keen MTB’s to guide groups
  • Level 3 – 3-day training. 2-day assessment. Allows you to lead groups in wilderness environments.


  • BC awards have a separate training & assessment courses
  • This allows for a consolidation period to work on a personal actions plan that you will get from your tutor
  • Note that it’s not essential that you need to be leading groups during to consolidation

You may want to read our guide to mountain bike qualifications for opinions and thoughts on the awards.

Level 1 – Outdoor Centre Accreditation


The Level 1 allows you to lead groups on pre-determined trails that are not technical and are with-in 30 minutes walk of ambulance access


 It’s a site-specific award designed for Outdoor Activity Center, colleges or trail centres. It’s delivered by such organisations which have had British Cycling accreditation and incorporates their internal operating procedures. As an example, PGL use this award a lot. Unless you’re working at a centre that does this you may as well go straight to Level 2.

Getting it

It’s a 1-day training & assessment course. The award is only delivered by organisations for their own staff.

Working with it

As this is only run by approved centres it’s something that you can look out for when looking for jobs. Prior MTB experience will only stand you in good stead for employers. Once you have the qualification you can work at other British Cycling approved centres but who will need a site-specific induction (pretty standard for anything really though!)

British Cycling Level 2 Mountian Bike Leader Award (MBLA L2)


Allows experienced mountain bikers to safely guide riders through mountainous terrain and provide them with a great day out.


This is a standard entry point for mountain bike enthusiast wanting to get qualified and take groups out.


  • You don’t need Level 1
  • You need to be a keen mountain biker – comfortable on red trails at centres.
  • 10 to 15 logged rides in the last 12 months is suggested
  • 2-day first aid
  • A log-book with about 15 quality rides in 12 months prior to assessment. Must be on a variety of locations, terrains, and conditions

Getting it

Step 1 – Register with BC HERE. Registration costs £106 for non-members or £67 for members. See HERE for details on becoming a member of British Cycling. You’ll then receive handbook and logbook

Step 2 – Get the prerequisites above!

Step 3 – Book a 2-day training course. You’ll learn leadership skills, group management, navigation and trailside repair

Step 4 – Consultation period. Your tutor will give you a personal action plan with the experience that you need to go out and get before assessment

Step 5 – The Assesment consists of:

An Assignment – This will be sent to you by your providers

A practical ride – A full days ride where you will  be tested on leadership skills, group management, navigation and trailside repair

Working with it

  • Schools, clubs and outdoor companies often require MBLA L2 on a freelance basis. As always you’ll need to get out there and start getting to know the right sort of organisations
  • You will also have what you need to set up you’re own guiding company.

British Cycling Level 3 Mountian Bike Leader Award (MBLA L3)


Allows you to lead groups in demanding wilderness rides of severe difficulty all over the UK. Rides can be physically demanding and have a high technical difficulty.


More focus on group management and navigation in more challenging environments


  • Hold MBLA Level 2 ( the old BC  Trail Cycle Leader &  Mountain Bike Leader as still valid)
  • Logged at least 30 rides since Level 2. Most in the last 18 months. At least 12 as a leader. Must be on a variety of terrains etc
  • Be comfortable with step-ups, drops-offs, and navigation
  • Be competent at solving bike mechanical issues

Getting it

Step 1 – Make sure you have the above

Step 2 – Book a 3-day training course

Step 3 – 2-day assessment. You must submit your written assignment before you attend your assessment. You can download it BC-L3-Written-Paper


  • The 3-day training course will cost you about £290 to £330
  • The 2-day assessment will cost about £190 & £250