Overview of Mountain Biking Qualifications
Before we review them, note there are other providers & organisations to be aware of:
- Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) – Much more road cycling focused
- Mountain Bike Coaching (MBC UK) – Run a series of Coach / Leader programmes. Endorsed by ABCC.
- The Association of British Mountain Bike Guides (ABMG) – They are associated with the European Organisation of Mountain Bike Instructor-Guides. They run an internationally recognized qualification for experienced mountain bike coaches, guides & instructors.
- Cycling UK – Work with the above.
Mountain Bike Instructor Scheme (MIAS)
They run Level 1, 2 & 3 instructor awards and also run other awards for the military but we’ll focus on the instructor awards
Consider when choosing:
- Clear pathway into European Qualifications – need to confirm?
- Takes other outdoor qualifications such as ML & BEL into consideration
- Recognised by AALA’s
British Cycling (BC)
British Cycling is a much larger organization (its sponsored by a bank!) and is the National Governing Body for cycling in the UK (as stated by Sport England). They have historically been more focused on racing and participation across cycling than mountain biking until recent years. They now have an increasing drive for mountain biking which seems to be the root cause of any differing opinions.
To consider when choosing:
- As it stands, they don’t really recognise any other qualifications. This is only really an issue if you already have LOTS of experience and want to go straight to Level 3
- The membership fees are quite a lot more but bear in mind that it includes an online child protection course and the course manual. Also, significantly it includes public liability insurance for you as an individual. This means that as soon as you get the award you are insured to take people out riding – a very tidy solution.
- If you pay a higher membership fee you can also feature on the Find A Leader directory which may send some clients your way.
The British Cycling route is a more comprehensive and ‘robust’. By robust we mean the administration is more efficient, the award requires more experience, the average standard of tuition is probably higher and as a result, the award is probably regarded to be of a higher standard. That said if you’re already a MTBer with lots of group experience, have an ML then the MIAS route might be all you need and will save you some cash.
MIAS Level 1 & 2
2-day option costs about £210
3-day option is about £290
Admin fees: a £40 admin fee is included in both estimations.
British Cycling Level 2
2-day course and a 1-day assessment (taken at a later date) costs about £300
Admin fees: Registration costs £106 for non-members which includes a ‘Ride’ membership to BC. Its £67 if you are already a member