Greetings to all the Moles from Devon Mole. I though that some of you might be interested in hearing about M.I.A.S. (Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme) that I attended over the weekend of 11–12 December 2010.
Since leaving Surrey and with various work commitments I have found it difficult to get mountain biking regularly, so after a conversation with Dave and Cathy I had the idea that if I gained a qualifaction and commited myself to guiding duties on Dartmoor this may give me more motivation.
Photo credit: Fully Sussed – Mountain Biking Academy
With the the quote “those who can do, those who can’t, teach”, rattling around my mind, and knowing that I will never be a race whippet, teaching – or leading to be more precise – seems like a good option.
After a little reaserch online I found a local couple, Jay and Maddie Horton, who between them run Fully Sussed Mountain Bike Academy. And booked a weekend course.
The first day was mainly classroom based, covering how the course would run along with the duties and responsibilities that leading a group would entail.
Next we were set a task of planning a route plan from an OS map, which sounds straightforward until you see that not only do you need to plan the route, but also you need to estimate the distance and time for each leg as well as elapsed time and exit points for emergencies.
Then after a quick lunch stop, we had to perform a basic mechanical practical test using only the tools that were in our own packs. Tube changes, chain repairs, disc brake centering, gear indexing etc. Of course you are expected not only to know about your own equipment, but everyone else’s as well!
There was still enough daylight left for a quick bike riding skills session. This involved all the riding skills that we all have. The use of brakes, gears, balance, bike control.
We obviously had to show that we could do all of the revelent skills , but also that we could demonstrate them, which I personally found interesting as we all do these things like moving your weight around the bike, but trying to demonstrate these movements meant achieving some very interesting positions!
Day Two is basically a ride out. Each of the 4 candidates were given a leg of the ride to lead. At the end of the first day we were given a start and finish point. As well as certain waypoints to pick up en-route, we were also asked for local point of interest or history to talk about on the ride.
This ride is basically what your assessed on so no pressure then! The whole ride was approximately 30km across Dartmoor, make that a wet, soggy, have-to-pedal-on-the-downhill Dartmoor, but it was a good laugh. With some good people and not too many wrong turns.
This is not the sort of course to do if you purely want to improve your skills, as there are many other courses for that. But if you want to get involved taking out novice/intermediate riders, or school kids on fun rides then I would recommend this course.
Be aware that to get insurance with someone like the C.T.C. you will also need a valid first aid certificate as well.
If you want any further information try the Mountain-Bike Instructors Award Scheme website.