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 won't 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 tour industry, but here's how we're addressing this issue:
- We've developed a 9-point skills rating system and 5-point fitness system, with the help of one of our senior coaches and guides (see below)
- Once booked on a Ride, you'll receive a Rider history survey that will further help us assess your suitability for your chosen Ride
- We follow up with a phone call if we think you might not be quite up to the challenge (or might be 'over qualified')
- 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 ability guidelines carefully, and if you are unsure if a trip is right for you, please contact us. If you are interested in taking part in our adventures but aren't quite ready yet, consider signing up for one of our mountain bike skills camps.
You've never ridden a mountain bike before.
- You have limited experience with off-road mountain biking (less than 1 year)
- You may have done some road riding
- You are reasonably fit and adventurous.
Level 3/Strong Beginner
- You've been mountain biking for 1 year or so
- 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've been mountain biking for at least 1 year or have decent general riding skills and good fitness
- You're capable of controlling bike speed and direction on moderate single-track
- You ride at least 2-3 times/month during riding season.
Level 5/Strong Intermediate
- You've been mountain biking for about 2 years, and have solid intermediate skills
- 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 single-track as long as it is not technical.
Level 6/Intermediate Advanced
- You've been riding for at least 2 years and 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've been mountain biking for at least 3-4 years and 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 have been mountain biking for over 5 years and are 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, climb technical singletrack
- 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. Even small climbs are challenging and you cannot ride for more than an hour on flat terrain at a time.
- You have average fitness and are capable of riding 2-3 hours a day at a relaxed pace
- You can handle one or two easy climbs of up to 200 vertical metres (650 ft).
- You exercise once a week for minimum 45 minutes.
- You are capable of riding 4-5 hours a day at a moderate pace (and with breaks)
- You can handle one or two climbs a day up to a total of 400 vertical metres (1,300 ft).
- You exercise regularly throughout the year, at least twice a week for an hour.
- You can ride 5-6 hours a day at a moderate pace (and with breaks)
- You can handle two or three climbs of up to a total of 600 vertical metres (2,000 ft) in a day.
- You exercise at least 3 times a week for at least an hour.
- You can ride up to 8 hours a day, and tackle almost any climb the mountain throws at you.
- You can handle sustained climbs of up to 1,500m (5,000) ft. and up to 3 hours (with breaks).
- You train regularly for endurance events.