Peak Mountaineering’s one day Introductory Mountain Bike Skills course suits anyone who can ride a bike confidently on road but hasn’t sampled the delights of off-road riding yet. The Peak District is a world class mountain biking paradise and, having cycled here for many years, we know the very best routes and venues to hone your skills as well as showing you some of the most stunning parts of the UK’s first and most popular national park.
Over the day we will cover a range of essential skills on terrain to let you progress at a speed that suits you. We also match the ride to the fitness levels within the group but on this course rides will usually be around 15 km in length and are suitable for anyone with reaonable general fitness. By the end of this course you will feel confident to plan and ride some off simple road routes under your own steam.
Who is the course suitable for?
Our one day Introductory Mountain Bike Skills course suits those who are competent bike riders who now want to see how fantastic the off road world really is. We use the varied terrain of the stunning Peak District National Park to develop a package of skills designed to give you the confidence to tackle simple off road routes under your own steam.
The course is suitable for adults of all ages and we are happy to have participants as young as 16 although under 18’s need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Do I need to have my own bike?
If you have a suitable mountain bike you are very welcome to bring it along. It needs to be in good working condition and suitable for off road riding (some bikes are not suitable for off road riding on all terrain types so please do check with us in advance if you aren’t sure). Please also bring any spares that are specific to your bike – your instructor will have a general tool kit but can’t carry a wide range of spare items. It is also essential that you have a cycling specific helmet.
If you don’t have a suitable bike we can happily arrange bike hire for you. We have links to an excellent hire shop which supplies good quality bikes (and helmets) for £30 per day. If you’d like us to reserve a bike for you please let us know at the time of booking.
What is the format of the day?
We will meet at 9.30am in the village of Bamford which is right in the heart of the Peak District National Park (full Joining Instructions will be sent with your Booking Confirmation). We are very keen to help protect this precious natural environment (please check out details of our Environment Policy) so if you don’t have a car we can collect you at the local train station and if you are travelling by bus we can also pick you up and drive you to the venue.
Once we’ve checked bikes and safety equipment we’ll head on to the trails to start learning some key skills. During the day you’ll learn a ‘toolbox’ of essential mountain biking skills as well as enjoying a classic off road ride on some of the best trails in the park. Skills are always introduced progressively and you’ll have time to consolidate them at your own pace so don’t worry that you’ll be thrown in at the deep end!
We stay out for the full day so be sure to bring enough food and drink. The best foods for mountain biking are a mixture of quick energy sources and some slow release foods. Examples are foods like flapjack, honey sandwiches or good old malt loaf! Please also bring plenty to drink (at least 2 litres) as it is easy to get dehydrated when cycling.
The selection of techniques covered will include:
- Choosing and the correct us of equipment
- Safety and trail etiquette
- Basic bike maintenance and set up
- How to deal with simple mechanical problems on rides and issues to consider when choosing equipment
- Introductory climbing and safe descending skills
- Effective braking techniques
- Using the ‘Cone of Movement’ for more effective riding
- Techniques for cornering safely
- Tackling trail obstacles such as tree roots and simple drop-offs
- Finding information on suitable rides to continue your development
The day will end at about 4.30pm.
Who will be looking after me?
Peak Mountaineering prides itself on the quality of its instructors and our excellent reputation. The instructor leading your course will be fully qualified, fully insured and an active mountain biker. They will also be one of our close knit team and personally known to us. We only use instructors who know the area well so they can ensure you get the most from your day.
Having said all that, we know that the views of past clients are probably your best guide to the quality of our provision. Please take the time to read the independent reviews clients have left before you book.
What do I need to bring?
You will obviously need a suitable bike, helmet and gloves as discussed at the top of the page. Don’t forget to let us know if you want us to book one for you in advance.
Other than that, you’ll need suitable clothing and footwear along with a small daypack type rucksack to carry your day’s essentials. Full details on suitable clothing will be sent with your Joining Instructions, but please be reassured that you don’t need specialist clothes and the key features are to have something that is easy to move in and that will keep you warm and dry. Footwear simply needs to be something comfortable and with a grippy sole suitable for walking on challenging terrain. It is quite common to get muddy when biking so please bring a complete change of clothing for the end of the day.
Other benefits for Peak Mountaineering customers
We have negotiated some useful discounts with a selection of great retailers for all course participants. Full details will be sent with your Joining Instructions.
We run our mountain biking courses around the Hope Valley and Derwent Valley. These treasured parts of the Peak District National Park offers a broad range of options with suitable terrain for developing skills in a tranquil and scenic setting. On one of our courses you really will be in the very heart of the UK’s oldest and most popular national park.
We normally meet in Bamford (full details will be sent with your joining instructions) and the valley is ideally placed near to the beautiful villages of Hathersage, Hope and Castleton. They all make suitable places to base yourself and all have plenty of shops, accommodation options and the all important pubs to enjoy a celebratory drink after your days in the hills.
The scenic train line between Manchester and Sheffield runs through the valley and there is a station at Bamford. The train will carry bikes and so it couldn’t be easier to arrive for you course by public transport. The valley really does have everything you need to enjoy a relaxed and educational stay.
Here are a list of questions clients frequently ask about our mountain biking courses. We hope you’ll find the info you need but, if there’s something you want to know that we haven’t covered, please call or email us and we’ll be more than happy to help. Infact, if you’ve thought of it then the chances are other people have too – so we’ll add it to the list!
What equipment is provided and do I have to pay to use it?
It is important that attendees of these courses have a suitable and well maintained bike. We do head off the beaten track onto trails that are only suitable for a mountain bike. Participants with their own bike are very welcome to bring that along but many bikes are marketed as ‘mountain bikes’ and this doesn’t always mean they are really up to use on technical off road terrain. If you do wish to bring your own bike and aren’t sure about its suitability please do speak to us in advance. It is essential that you also have a suitable helmet.
An alternative that is popular with many attendees is to hire a bike. We work with a reliable and very professional local bike hire company who have a range of both hardtail (bikes with front suspension only) and full suspension (bikes with front and rear suspension) available. The cost for hire is £30 per day for an excellent quality hardtail (a hardtail is perfect for our courses). If you do prefer a full suspension bike these are available for £50 per day. It is essential that we book these in advance so do let us know in plenty of time if you want us to arrange hire for you. Helmets will be provided by the hire company.
Your instructor will carry emergency equipment and basic bike repair equipment but if you do have any equipment of your own please bring it along. This should include a spare inner tube.
Do I need insurance?
We have professional indemnity insurance and for all UK courses we are all lucky enough to have free access to mountain rescue services and healthcare (although you may still consider it worthwhile purchasing your own personal accident and cancellation insurance). The following companies provide appropriate mountaineering insurance:
British Mountaineering Council www.thebmc.co.uk 0870 010 4878
Snowcard Insurance Services www.snowcard.co.uk 01327 262 805
What if I have a specific objective or want to learn things not offered on one of your courses?
That’s what we specialise in! Just get in touch and we will happily tailor an itinerary to suit your requirements.
What about under 18s?
For our mountain biking courses we welcome participants over 16. For younger children we can still offer a great range of family mountain bike activities – details of these are available on our Family Activities page. Please note that under 18s must be accompanied for the duration of the course by a parent or guardian.
Will you give my details to other people?
All information supplied to us remains completely confidential and we will never pass it on to third parties.
Why is the instructor to client ratio so important?
You will get more out of your time with us if you work in a group where the numbers suit the activity. We favour small instructor to client ratios so that you benefit from quality time and instruction, where you have time to ask all the questions you want, the routes chosen can be tailored to suit you, and we can take plenty of time to show you specific techniques and skills.
Why don’t you provide accommodation for all your courses?
We organise both residential and non-residential courses. If we think the course will benefit from us all staying somewhere together we’ll make it a residential course. For others we ask you to arrange your own accommodation since some people will want to stay in luxury accommodation, others will opt for a B&B and others will be happy to camp. If you need help with accommodation please do check out our accommodation section.
What if I need to cancel a course booking?
If you cancel over 26 weeks in advance of a course start date we refund all the money you have paid us so far. If you cancel within 26 weeks of a course start date, you forfeit the deposit, but we refund any other money you may have paid. If you cancel within 8 weeks of the course start date you forfeit the full amount unless we are able to resell your place. See the Terms and Conditions page for more detailed information. To cover this eventuality we recommend you take out an insurance policy that includes cancellation of your trip or holiday.
Can you guarantee good conditions?
Unfortunately we can’t control the weather. However, we do always try to plan areas and routes that should be appropriate and in good condition. One of the advantages of being in small groups with flexible itineraries is that we can make the best of the conditions on the day. This does mean that we reserve the right to change the itinerary for safety reasons if required. Please follow the kit lists and be prepared for all the ‘interesting’ weather the U.K. and overseas has to offer.
What is the timetable for courses?
For non-residential courses we will meet somewhere convenient on the first morning of the course and a typical day lasts from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Full Joining Instructions will be provided with your booking confirmation.
What about transport arrangements?
We ask you to provide your own transport to and from venues although we can quite often organise car sharing to minimise environmental impact and reduce fuel costs. Once we are there we will try to use car sharing to get us around during the course. We can usually collect you from a local station if you are travelling to your course via public transport. Conveniently, our mountain biking courses start in Bamford village which has convenient train access.
How do you try to reduce your environmental impact?
We are passionate about protecting the natural environment. Please take the time to read our Environment Page.
How fit do I need to be?
It goes without saying that arriving fit and well is important if you want to get the most out of your course and it is essential for succeeding on many of our objectives. Please take note of the guidance on the Course Syllabus before booking and contact us in advance if you need more guidance.
Do you need to know about medical conditions?
It is essential that you let us know about any medical condition or injury when booking and that you also let your instructor know on the starting day of your course.This information will remain completely confidential but is essential to allow us to tailor our activities to suit you and to ensure the safety of other group members.
Mountain Biking can seem very equipment intensive and it is certainly the case that you can spend a lot of money on a bike and the related gear. It is also the case that, by and large, you get what you pay for. There will always be shops offering ‘mountain bikes’ at extremely low prices, but that certainly doesn’t mean they are up to the job of travelling over challenging technical ground. At the other end of the scale you will see shops selling bikes for £10,000 plus! Of course, once you’ve got the bike there is also the accessories to also consider…..and that’s another minefield of decision making!
So, the reality is that you can’t avoid spending a reasonably high amount to get yourself all set up with a good quality all terrain capable bike and the safety and repair accessories you will need, but the good news is that you don’t need to do that straight away. For our mountain biking courses you can actually use your normal sports clothing and hire the rest of the kit – it’s a great way to see what works for you and to check the sport is everything you hoped it would be (it will be!) before splashing out yourself. Details on recommended local bike hire options are available on our mountain biking FAQ’s page.
So, we’ve listed the equipment you need to bring below, but made it clear when there is an item you can hire or borrow and also clarified if there is something you have probably already got that will do the same job.
- Bike – goes without saying really! If you do bring your own it needs to be a ‘proper’ mountain bike that is in serviceable condition. Your bike instructor will carry general tools and equipment to fix punctures, but it is also vital
- Helmet – please ensure it is in good condition, hasn’t had a damaging impact and is within its recommended lifespan)
- Suitable shoes -lightweight walking boots or approach shoes with good ankle support and a grippy sole
- Rucksack – please make sure your rucksack is big enough as you will need to carry your lunch, a drink, waterproof and spare clothing. You may also be asked to help carry some group equipment
- Waterproof jacket – one that is breathable and folds up small is best
- Thermal base layer – synthetic fibres rather than cotton
- Fleece mid-layer
- Suitable shorts or trousers – trousers offer better protection but shorts work well in warmer weather
- Lightweight windproof jacket – it is well worth having a wind resistant top in addition to your waterproof jacket if possible
- Cycling gloves – and a spare pair on wet or muddy days
- Plenty of food – a mixture of quick energy boost foods and slow release foods are ideal – flapjack, honey sandwiches and malt loaf make a great alternative to expensive energy bars
- Drink – at least 2 litres (and worth bringing extra for pre and post ride rehydration)
- Sunglasses and sun cream – even on dull days please consider some form of eye protection
- Personal first aid and medication
- Spare clothes, towel and wash kit for after the ride
Your instructor will carry tools to tackle most trail emergencies but bring your tool kit if you have one. Please also bring a spare innertube and pump as well as any other spares that are specific to your bike.