‘Brilliant three days, totally flew by.  Learned loads, it’s a huge step up from TCL, especially in terms of the riding and coaching but not impossible if you’re handy enough already.  Feeling a lot clearer now on the standards of some leaders out there and how I can get that competent’.
– Eoin

The Cycling Ireland MBLA Mountain Bike Leader qualification is the most comprehensive MTB leadership award currently available.  It is aimed at people who have already attained their TCL and who wish to guide in more remote locations on more extreme terrain and above 600m elevation.  It’s a much more challenging course that requires a far higher technical skill level, coaching delivery and advanced leadership management   The MBL Award consists of a three-day training course followed by a separate two-day assessment.  In order to complete the award, you must meet the prerequisite requirements.

MBL candidates are experienced mountain bikers, capable and comfortable with highly technical mountain biking who already have a good degree of leadership experience.  The standards of this award are deliberately set high and successful assessment requires top level performance and preparation.

Course Content

Day One

Introductions.  Advanced Leader Kit.  Advanced Mechanics.  MBL Riding Skills.  Teaching and Coaching Techniques.  Leadership.

Day Two

Session Planning and Observed Coaching Sessions.  How to Coach Advanced Riders.  Feedback Skills and Practical Use of Advanced Coaching Techniques.  Business Planning and Development.  Navigation.

Day Three

Focused Route Planning and Practical Risk Assessment.  Practical Navigation Skills.  Group Management on Technical Terrain. Fitness, Fuel and Hydration.  Trail Definition.  Emergency Scenarios.  Summaries.

Before Attending

You must have up to date Cycling Ireland membership and bring your TCL certificate to the course.

It is assumed that you are an active user of your TCL with a solid experience of group leadership in many situations and environments.  There is also a presumption that your own personal riding is of a suitably high standard with the ability to ride confidently in highly technical terrain.  Skills such as drop-offs, step-ups, bunny hops and pumping should be second nature. If you feel you need to work on these skills it is strongly recommended that you attend a coaching session before attending MBL training.

Following training there is a minimum three-month consolidation period before assessment.

To hold the award, you must also have completed a suitable 16hr First Aid qualification within the last three years and also hold current Cycling Ireland membership.

Rock and Ride Outdoors are the only providers of the Mountain Bike Leadership Awards in Northern Ireland.  The MBLA scheme is the only scheme administered and recognised by both Cycling Ireland and Sport Ireland Coaching and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive and respected mountain bike qualification available.  If you are seeking to take groups out mountain biking, then the MBLA awards are the ones your insurers would like you to have.

Ian was central to the development of this qualification in Ireland, re-writing and improving key aspects of the original Scottish Cycling syllabus to make the Cycling Ireland MBL award hit all the ‘Advanced’ level criteria demanded by Sport Ireland Coaching.

What Does It Cost?

Mountain Bike Leader Training costs £325/€365.

What Do You Need to Bring?

Details are sent upon registering for the course, this is a rough guide;

  • A mountain bike in good working order
  • A suitable bike helmet
  • Gloves and eye protection (highly recommended)
  • Clothes suitable for three days of biking
  • Any food and drink you’ll need to keep the energy levels up
  • Your full leader kit

Where Is The Course Based?

MBL Training is based in and around Tollymore Forest, County Down.  Full details of the venue are provided upon registering for the course.

Accommodation is available locally, contact us for advice.

All the course information is sent to you via e-mail once we have received your booking.  Give us a shout with any further questions.

Upcoming Dates

Contact ian@rockandrideoutdoors.com for details.

Get In Touch

Paul Swail


Mountain Biking
Ian Bailey