What sort of bike!

You don't need the latest hi-tec bike or equiptment to attend our courses, our courses are ran off road with the occasional tarmac section between trails, so eight inches of travel are not really neccasary...

...2 wheels and 2 brakes are though!

However, it is recommended that all bikes are fit for purpose in that they must be suitable for off road conditions and be in good mechanical condition.

Slick or bald tyres are not recommended. It is advised that bikes are serviced regularly and maintained to high standards to ensure your maximum enjoyment and that of the group, as well of course, your safety.

Riders are responsible for the condition of their own bikes, as pre ride checks will be made. Small adjustments may be made by the instructor, ie seat height, brakes ect.. But all other repairs are to be carried out by the rider.

Remember, we do cover basic bike set ups and maintenance during these courses, as well as a pre ride check.



Cycling helmet

Cycling/padded Gloves

Suitable clothing (including some layers)




Eye protection

Elbow and knee/shin pads                  

Food/energy bars/sachets

Extra clothing


Tools and spares ie inner tubes

A change of clothing

Course timings.

All skills courses run from 10.00 until around 16.00 (ish) with a short stop for lunch. There may or may not be food available at the venue, i'll advise beforehand.

The exception are the splash and dash sessions, which are 2 hours in duration and start at 18.30. These have no natural break. 

Food and drink will have to be taken adhoc, as with any other late night business meeting.

First aid kits are carried on the ride, along with tools, a pump and a camera: for those special moments!

There is no need to bring everything but the kitchen sink, but if you do bring one, also bring a kettle, cups and some tea bags and you can make yourself useful. I'll provide the Hobnobs!

Route Grading:

I am often asked about route grading and what each colour means in terms of difficulty. I do find this a little akward to answer, as one mans (or womans) black is another persons red: and vice versa.

I have ridden red routes and thought: ooh that was a bit technical and equally i've rode blacks and wondered what all the fuss was about.  

Trail centres around the country do stick to the basic Blue/green - Red - Black format adopted from ski runs around the world. But much of it is a little subjective when it comes to us mere mortals riding the terrain.

Below is an outline of trail centre grading to help you judge which route will suite you best.

Green: Easy

Relatively flat trails that are suitable for young people, beginners or families. They may have the odd bit of single track (narrow path) or some loose sections. Generally contains nothing steep or technical. Think tow paths and local parks.

Blue: Moderate

Requires very basic off road skills, expect more single track, rocks and loose ground. Contains some small gradients but still easily managable. Not very strenuous. Think disused railways and larger parks.


Red: Difficult

Not for beginners. Good riding skills are needeed, a reasonable level of fitness and a 'proper' mountain bike. Expect plenty of single track, obstacles, some technical sections and steeper climbs and decents. The staple diet of most trail centres. 


Black: Severe

 Black routes are physically demanding and contain extreme technical sections, Expect big drop offs, rock gardens, jumps, big berms and combinations of all these in one section. High level of technical ability required.