Mountain Bike – Trail Leader Award

The Heart of Exmoor team has been working with Minehead Cycling Club to encourage  people to explore our wonderful moorland through mountain biking. Thanks to our Heritage Lottery Funding we have been able to support training for some of the club’s ride leaders. Here one of the group, Will Wake, talks about his recent experience of undertaking the Trail Leader Award.

I have been a keen mountain bike rider for six years. It is a great way to explore Exmoor and I have hugely enjoyed the experience of traveling quietly through the woods and over the hills of this amazing National Park. Bike riding is a great way to see the wild places and animals of Exmoor and a very effective way to de-stress from our hectic lives.

I have taken a few friends on rides and was keen to do the trail cycle leader course to make me a better and more rounded leader.

The course was great, I learnt a number of new skills and refreshed some old ones – rediscovering my love of maps and navigating along the way.

Navigating the route on the mountain bike trail leader course.

Navigating the route on the mountain bike trail leader course.

I am now in the phase between training and assessment and am busy practising my bike handling skills and navigation. I have some groups to lead (accompanied by already qualified leaders to provide feedback) and I will be taking the assessment shortly.

Once qualified, we (myself and two other trail cycle leaders in Minehead Cycling Club) will be leading a programme of guided rides for new riders. We are all qualified British Cycling Coaches and the combination of cycle skills and trail leader skills will allow us to coach people to improve their cycling while they enjoy exploring Exmoor and discovering new places.

Will Wake checking his moutain bike leader kit on the training course.

Will Wake checking his moutain bike leader kit on the training course.

I love riding on Exmoor and gaining the Trail Cycle Leader certificate will allow me to share this with more people. Since the course, I have booked three sessions of coaching with Porlock school for November plus I  am leading a ride with West Somerset College, including Ugandan exchange students and leaders. To see more about the club and our events please click here

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