British Cycling’s Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award enables the most experienced leaders to take groups and individuals on demanding wilderness rides in the most remote corners of the country and throughout the world.

Jules Fincham, Cycle Wild Scotland’s director, is proud to be have been closely involved in the design and development of the new BC scheme.  We are one of only a handful of  providers of the Level 3 award.

NB The Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award replaces the MBLA’s Mountain Bike Leader award as the top level award for MTB Leaders.

Course overview

The Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award is aimed at experienced leaders who are ready to take the next step and increase their scope for creating inspiring and long-lasting experiences, for clients or friends, through guiding rides in remote environments and on physically demanding trails of high technical difficulty.

Leaders at this level will need to be proficient in all areas of mountain bike leadership, as well as being highly-skilled mountain bike riders. The three-day training course builds upon the skills and knowledge gained at Level 2, with specific topics covered in more depth.


The Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award particularly focuses on leading groups in technical terrain and trails of technical difficulty. The training covers the following areas;

  • Advanced trailside repairs
  • Route planning and navigation strategies for technical terrain
  • Group management in technical terrain
  • Risk assessment
  • Managing accidents and emergencies
  • Promoting hydration and nutrition
  • Methods for developing attentional focus


To attend the training, you will need to:

  • be at least 18-years-old
  • be well practised and fully qualified in the Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award (or TCL or MBL Awards as appropriate)
  • be a committed mountain biker prepared to ride all day in challenging, up to black-graded terrain, with energy in reserve
  • be a skilful rider, competent at negotiating the typical trail features found in Level 3 terrain, where obvious line choices and rollable options are often not available. Required techniques include step-up, bunny-hop and drop-off skills
  • be comfortable with setting a map, taking bearings and creating flow in a trail environment
  • have a working knowledge of the variety of mechanical systems on current mountain bikes and a desire to increase this knowledge
  • hold a current two-day outdoor First Aid certificate

You will be required to send your log book to the provider demonstrating that you have fulfilled the following minimum requirements for training:

  • In preparation for the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award, you should log at least 30 quality days since the completion of Level 2. The majority of these should be within the last 12-18 months and represent all the UK has to offer. At least 12 of these rides should be as group leader or assistant leader.


Assessment for the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award consists of a practical assessment and a written assignment.

Practical assessment

The practical assessment is held over two days, with the first day primarily assessing the candidate’s competence in trailside repairs, navigation strategies and techniques required in technical terrain, as well as a peer-led ride through technical terrain. The second day enables the aspiring Level 3 to lead a group of participants around a technical route, demonstrating all the required competencies of the Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award.

Each candidate will lead a section of the assessment route for approximately 1 hour with a ratio of 1:5. You will be expected to deliver a flowing journey, demonstrating excellent navigation skills, and be able to locate your position on a map at all times.

The assessment procedure is informal and is designed to help you to develop your skills as a mountain bike leader. The group you lead can consist of other riders who are also being assessed on the same day and/ or riders who are there, simply to fulfil the role as participants on the ride.

Written assignment

The written assignment is an open book home study task and comprises of a range of short answer questions. This task is based on the information included in the British Cycling Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Handbook and other resources provided on the course.

Once payment has been received for your assessment place, the assessment questionnaire will be sent to you via email (paper copies are available upon request) and should be returned to your course provider no later than seven days prior to your practical assessment date. Please ensure you allow plenty of time to complete and return the questionnaire before your assessment day.

Registration with British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership programme

Prior to booking onto a training course, you need to ensure that you are registered with the British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership programme. If you have already completed British Cycling’s Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award, then you will already be registered and have completed the necessary pre-course work.

If you are already qualified as a Trail Cycle Leader (TCL) or Mountain Bike Leader (MBL) through the MBLA, then you will need to register with British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership programme at a one-off cost. BC will then provide you with the Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award training manual, log book and free British Cycling Ride membership valid for one year. You will also receive log in details for the online learning programme, NSPCC Child Protection Awareness in Sport and Active Leisure, which you need to complete as part of your pre-course work.

Booking Options

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