MTB Coaching/Guiding Provider of the Year - Shortlist

We know that Scottish mountain bike businesses are amongst the best qualified guides, skills instructors and coaches in the world. 

We wanted this award to celebrate all those companies that help us find new adventures and give us new skills and confidence to further our enjoyment of this incredible sport.  

This award celebrates all of the above.

The winner of this award 2019 - GoWhere Scotland

Coaching And Guiding Gw

We’ve been doing our thing since 2008. And as you’d expect, things morph - priorities change, and what’s important becomes more and more apparent. Go-Where Scotland began as a Scotland-wide mountain bike guiding service and incrementally over time we responded to the market and evolved into a specialist Scottish mountain bike package holiday outfit with a reputation for infusing a distinct Scottish flavour into every trip.  
More and more we’ve recognised the fundamental principles that drive us as humans behind the business, in the business, and everyone we work with. ‘RIDEMÒR’ is the expression of who we are and what we do. We’re a mountain bike tour operator but we’re more than that - we utilise our place in the market and the industry to bring about positive change for Scotland, for our visitors, and for those that do not have the opportunity to experience the physical and mental benefits and sheer joy that riding mountain bikes on Scottish soil can have. 

Our product range is diverse:

● Guided, self-guided and bespoke mountain bike, gravel and bikepacking adventures in the Tweed Valley, Trossachs, Highland Perthshire, Cairngorms, Royal Deeside and Angus Glens, Lochaber, Wester Ross and the Inner and Outer Hebrides; ● Organising and hosting industry press camps and product launches ● Community events and rideouts e.g ‘Afternoon Tea Rides’, annual women’s charity MTB mini festival ● Mòr Diversity projects e.g girl’s bikepacking trips working with local schools and bike clubs to build confidence and encourage future female leadership into mountain biking; offering job shadowing opportunities to those aspiring to be leaders and contributing Go Where’s knowledge and expertise of guiding and coaching e.g. as part of the launch of this year’s British Cycling’s Ride to Leader programme.

In 2019, we have continued to deliver on our own ‘ridemòr’ goals including a range of inclusive scheduled and bespoke mountain bike trips; increasing numbers of international customers and increasing levels of engagement with more diverse groups, particularly women.

Only one thing matches our desire to enjoy Scotland’s amazing outdoors and that’s our commitment to contribute to sustainable adventure tourism in Scotland.

Aneela is secretary of the Tweed Valley Trails Association, a trail advocacy charity; and has invested a significant amount of time and energy in bringing together a new partnership with Forestry Land Scotland to adopt part of the unauthorised trail network and carry out regular trail maintenance and repair. She has been an active member of the board since 2017 and is also a qualified trail leader co leading dig days in the Tweed Valley. Aneela was pivotal to organising a Love My Trails women’s dig day in November encouraging and educating more women to give back to the trails they ride.

We actively encourage the use of public transport by providing clients with a detailed breakdown of travel options in the pre trip information pack. Many of our clients use the sleeper train from London to access our tours in the North West Highlands.

We maximise the use of public transport by picking up clients at different meeting points along the way. For example our ‘Torrid Affair’ pick up starts in Innerleithen and we have meeting points at Edinburgh Park, Perth, Dunkeld and Aviemore train stations.

Additionally, we are developing products more closely aligned with public transport options e.g Borders Bike Bus and (in 2020) we are incentivising customers to use public transport wherever practical to join our trips through a ‘green deal’ incentive whereby we offer a scaled % trip fee discount linked to public transport usage.

Annually, we select at least two environmental organisations or relevant causes and donate a % of trip fees e.g TVTA or NTS Footpath Fund.

We operate ‘small footprint’ mountain bike adventures to minimise any negative environmental impacts of running this kind of business. Although we are often asked about running large group trips in remote, sensitive locations but in line with our safety and environmental policies – that’s not really our forté.

We encourage our clients to consider their interaction with the environments they are riding wherever possible.

Our office practices have been thoroughly optimised and we are now almost entirely digital i.e 99% paper free.

2019 Shortlist

Craig Hardie Guided Mountain Bike Services

Craig started MTB riding in 2013 as a way to clear his head and  to just enjoying being out there away from the Hussle and bustle of normal life , later that year he attended the then industry leading MBLA Trail cycle leader course in Aviemore.  From their things started taking off to begin with he took a few friends out regularly in the cheviots, over the next few years this evolved into running a Guided MTB service predominantly in the Scottish borders.

Dirt School

Dirt School Ltd was founded in 2007 with one simple aim; to provide mountain bikers with the best possible coaching service across all aspects of the sport regardless of rider level, from coaches at the very forefront of the sport. Since inception, the mission hasn’t changed and 12 years later Dirt School continues to learn from the working with the very best and pass that knowledge in the best possible way to every customer. From world class athletes, to families, kids, novices, people who want to go faster further or ride more safely, it’s all about making sure people on bikes have as much fun as they can have and are equipped with the right tools at the right time to get the most out of every ride they have. 

Off The Grid MTB

I have been interested and involved in outdoor activities for over 35 years starting off with rock climbing and mountaineering before buying my first mountain bike when the sport was just starting. I have always had an appreciation and a sense of being privileged to have access to the places I visited. I feel very strongly about preserving them having a no trace policy whenever I am out on a bike or walking.

I started out as a club coach about 8 years ago and progressed to coaching a mountain bike and cyclocross, thereafter achieving all the MBLA guiding qualifications. I started Off The Grid MTB in 2016 when I became aware that there were a lot of youth riders that were keen on the sport but didn’t have the chance to get involved for a variety of reasons. Since then I have had the chance to coach riders of all ages and abilities, which has been hugely enjoyable. One of my mantras is Expanding Your Horizons as I try to get riders to think slightly beyond their expectations and consider other possibilities on a bike. 

Previous winners of this award 

2018 - RIDELINES Mountain Bike Tuition Ltd 

Ridelines is a mountain bike tuition and experience company based in the Tweed Valley, Scotland. 

The company was started by Andy Weir in 2011 with the goal of bringing his passion for mountain biking to people who lacked the confidence or ability to take their riding forward. It was a dream of his to take the riding he enjoyed, his passion for working with people and promoting active lifestyles through cycling, and make a living from it, something many people can relate too. 

8 years later Ridelines is one of the most respected businesses in this sector, catering to a wide customer base, from family orientation days, to coaching hardened riders on the valleys most challenging trails.

H&I Adventures – Scottish MTB Provider of the Year 2016

Off the Grid MTB - Scottish MTB Provider of the Year 2017