Mountain biking attracts children and young people interested to activities that allow them to participate independently or as part of a social group, in their own time and at their own level
Unlike many team sports, mountain biking can be offered to children from the ages of six upwards. The younger the participant the slower they may move through the mountain biking experience, but their journey will remain the same over time.
Setting up a school club can allow young people to become involved in mountain biking, perhaps as a lifelong activity. The participant pathway can provide an enjoyable way to appreciate the outdoors, stay fit and healthy and can also involve events, competitions and athletic performance.
The satisfaction in aiding children and young people to discover the joys of mountain biking is worth the effort.
Read the list below for hints and tips about setting up your own school club and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland team.Back
There are many advantages to asking for help including:
- Help to link your school club to the local mountain biking club – giving children & young people the opportunity to further progress their cycling.
- There may be funding or knowledge of where to access funding available from agencies.
- Get help organising events and school competitions.
- Advice on all things mountain biking.
- Helping your school become a “cycle friendly” school.
- Ensure your school is part of the big mountain bike picture across Scotland.
We would recommend you contact the following people before setting up your club:
- Active Schools Co-ordinator – At Your School
- Scottish Cycling Regional Development Officer - Nationwide
- Bike Club Officer (Glasgow, Lothians, Falkirk & Fife)
- iBike Officers (Perth, Kirkcaldy & Edinburgh)
Feel free to also contact the DMBinS team and let us know how great your school club is!Back
School playing fields and local parks are often excellent places to deliver young people’s first experiences of mountain biking.
Using local spaces also has the additional benefit of changing young people’s outlook on what they can access near to where they live and encourage informal participation.
Alternatively you may wish to develop your own mountain biking facilities within school grounds. This has several benefits including encouraging young people to travel to school on their bike which could inspire a life long habit of active travel.
If you are considering this please see the section building your own trails.Back
Option 1 - The children and young people bring their own bikes to school.
This has the added benefit of children and young people cycling to school however, it’s recommended all participants have achieved at least stage 2 in the BikeAbility programme.
Children and young people often have bikes which are not maintained to a high quality. It may be a good idea to form links with a local bike shop and for children to bring their bikes into school for a 'service' before starting your club. They may also be able to offer deals for children who have serious problems with their bikes.
Your local bike shop may be willing to help to increase their profile in the local community. They may also be able to offer deals for children who have serious problems with their bikes. It is important all bikes ridden at the club are in good working order and all children and young people wear helmets.
Option 2 - Obtain funding for bikes to be stored within the school.
This can be an attractive option as you can guarantee the quality of the bikes and ensure the club is inclusive to everybody within the school. The bikes can also be used for cycle training and could be used for PE lessons.
A major barrier to this option is the ongoing bike’s ongoing maintenance. However this could be an opportunity offer some practical life long skills by teaching the children and young people bike maintenance. Please note, it is advisable to build a maintenance plan into your funding bid or to buy spare parts and tools from your local bike store.
Other considerations should be to ensure bikes can be cleaned at or near the school. There are a number of portable bike washes on the market which operate without needing to be near a power supply or outdoor water tap.
Please see our funding guide for a list of potential funders.
Option 3 - Form links with your local bike shop, facility provider or outdoor store to organise a hire deal
This is not an ideal long term solution it is an excellent option for those wishing to pilot a mountain biking club without committing to buying and maintaining a fleet of bikes. Funding may be available for this option.
Please see our funding guide for a list of potential funders.Back
You may see your club as a way of leading riders into the outdoors or you may wish to bring a competitive element into the club.
You may decide that your club will combine elements of both leading or coaching, in which case you should endeavour to have both a leader and a coach within your club. Check out the different courses on offer.
Most courses to deliver mountain biking come at a cost but it is likely funding will be available for deliverers.
It is recommended for all deliverers to have a relevant first aid qualification.
The other approach you could possibly take is to contact a skills provider who may be able to come into your school to do a block of mountain biking.Back
A risk assessment is a pre-requirement of any activity. Many local authorities will have their own version of a risk assessment, which you could speak to the school about. Also we have a sample risk assessment available to download at the top of this page but you must ensure that this form is adequate for your local authority’s needs.
Mountain biking within school grounds in most local authorities will be covered through insurance – providing the head teacher gives their consent. However it is best practice for everyone involved within mountain biking to gain the most relevant leadership or coaching award. Once you lead children away from school grounds you must ensure leaders or coaches have suitable qualifications. To see the different courses on offer see the Coaching and Leadership section.Back
Working in partnership with Mountain Biking UK (MBUK), we have developed a series of adaptable posters which you can customise to suit your clubs details. Using these high quality materials, should help to increase the appeal of mountain biking to children and young people.
Examples of these can be viewed on the grey scroller bar. Please go to 'Marketing Mountain Biking' to download the posters.
We are also encouraging school clubs to send us photos and outline why their club is the best in Scotland? Your clubs success story will be posted on our website and each year the winning club will be featured in MBUK. The school club we judge to be the best will be presented with a prize at the biennial Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland conference.
Download your application form from the 'orange tab' on the banner at the top of this page.Back
Working in partnership your local club has many benefits especially for the young people you are going to inspire to get involved in mountain biking.
By ‘passing’ the young people onto the club you are providing them with the opportunity to possibly compete in mountain bike racing. You are also giving them the opportunity to develop their riding skills and trail craft experience.
To view the location and contact details of clubs in Scotland click here.Back