Ensuring you are on a Ride that's right for you, and ensuring you are ready for the physical and technical demands of a Ride, is of utmost importance to us. It helps ensure that you will be riding with people of similar skill level and won't be holding up the group or be held up by others - and can ride at the pace you want to ride at.
This is a challenge for the whole mountain bike adventure industry, but here's how we're addressing this issue:
We've developed a 9-point skill and fitness rating system, with the help of one of our senior coaches and guides (see below)
When booking, we ask each Rider to tell us about their mountain biking experience, and to let us know if they've ever traveled with their mountain bike. The answers are reviewed by our staff and provide valuable insight as to whether or not the desired Ride is a good fit for them.
We follow up with a phone call if we think a Rider might not be quite up to the challenge (or might be 'over qualified') for certain Rides and discuss their skill level and fitness in detail to discover whether they are indeed a good fit, or if another Ride might be more suitable
And finally, if people do slip through and end up on a Ride that is too challenging for them, we'll add a 3rd guide to the trip (if available, and they usually are) so that the main group can ride at their preferred pace (with 2 guides) while the 3rd guide rides with the slower group - everyone's happy!
Please read the following guidelines carefully, and pick the levels that best describe your skill and fitness. If you are unsure if a trip is right for you, please contact us. If you are interested in taking part in one of our Singletrack or Bring-Your-Partner adventures but aren't quite ready yet, consider signing up for one of our Explorer Rides.
· You've never ridden a mountain bike before.
· You have limited experience with off-road trail riding
· You may have done some road riding
· You are reasonably fit and adventurous.
Level 3/Strong Beginner
· You're hooked but still lack the skills to tackle terrain beyond beginner level
· You know how to use your gears and brakes properly but when the terrain gets technical, you have to get off your bike and walk
· You can handle singletrack as long as it is smooth and with few rocks or roots.
· You have good general trail riding skills
· You're capable of controlling bike speed and direction on moderate singletrack
· You ride at least 2-3 times/month during riding season.
Level 5/Strong Intermediate
· You feel confident on intermediate-level trails
· You can handle undulating terrain, have good control of your brakes and know how to shift gears appropriately so that you don't get off your bike too often
· You can handle terrain that is slightly technical, with smaller rocks and roots and can climb on singletrack as long as it is not technical.
Level 6/Intermediate Advanced
· You are confident in your climbing and descending skills
· You can handle moderately technical terrain and obstacles such as small logs (up to 6" high) and rocks.
· You have very good control of your bike on intermediate and slightly more advanced terrain, and are comfortable climbing non-technical singletrack.
· You are very confident in all aspects of mountain biking
· You can handle most technical terrain, include rocky and root trails, along with features such as switchbacks, medium logs (6-8" high), and low-level obstacles such as bridges
· You're comfortable with most advanced level trails (although you may walk a few sections).
· You are fully confident riding all types of terrain and distances.
· You ride as often as possible and can handle technical terrain and medium-level stunts, such as large log rollovers (over 1 ft high) and small bridges.
· You can descend steeps and climb technical singletrack with little to no problem
· You rarely - if ever - get off your bike to walk sections except on extremely technical terrain.
· You are a mountain bike god/goddess. You can handle the most technical terrain imaginable, eat up steeps for breakfast and can ride stunts up to 8 feet high.
· You are somewhat of a couch potato.
· You cannot ride for more than an hour on flat terrain at a time, and the thought of climbing on a bike is daunting
· You exercise less than 1 hour per week.
· You live a fairly sedentary life with little physical activity other than walking.
· You can handle a 1-hour bike ride on flat terrain at a relaxed pace. Small, short hills are challenging to climb, but manageable.
· You exercise on average at least 1 hour per week (including riding/being active).
· You are capable of riding 1-2 hours a day at a relaxed pace with several breaks.
· You can handle one or two easy climbs of up to 150 vertical metres (330 ft.) total.
· You exercise on average 1-2 hours per week (including riding/being active).
· You can ride 2-3 hours at a moderate pace with several short breaks, over a few days.
· You are capable of climbing up to 200 vertical metres (650 ft.) in a day.
· You exercise on average 2-3 hours per week (including riding/being active).
· You are capable of riding 4 hours a day at a moderate pace with some short breaks, over a few days.
· You are confident climbing up to a total of 300 vertical metres (1,000 ft.) in a day.
· You exercise on average 4-5 hours per week (including riding/being active).
· You can ride 5 hours a day at a moderate pace with some short breaks, over a few days.
· You can handle moderately steep climbs of up to a total of 500 vertical metres (1,650 ft.) in a day.
· You exercise on average 5-6 hours per week (including riding/being active).
· You can ride 5-6 hours a day at a moderately fast pace with a few breaks, over many days.
· You can handle moderately steep climbs up to 750 vertical metres (2,450 ft) in a day.
· You exercise on average 7-8 hours per week (including riding/being active).
· You can ride up to 7 hours a day at a fast and steady pace over several days.
· You have little trouble climbing 1,000 vertical metres (3,280 ft.) in a day on steep terrain.
· You exercise on average 8-10 hours per week (including riding/being active).
· You can ride up to 8 hours a day over several days, and tackle almost any climb the mountain throws your way.
· You can handle steep, sustained climbs of up to 1,500m (4,920 ft) in a day.
· You exercise over 10 hours per week (including riding/being active).