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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 109 > MAKING THE GRADE LEARNING TO LEAD

MAKING THE GRADE LEARNING TO LEAD

CHIPPS GOES BACK TO SCHOOL TO LEARN WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A MOUNTAIN BIKE GUIDE IN THE TOUGHEST OF ENVIRONMENTS.

We’re all experienced mountain bikers, aren’t we? So do we really need mountain bike guides? We can all follow a map or a GPS trail, surely? There seems to be a reasonable reluctance in the UK to hire a guide, whereas in the US and Europe, there are hundreds – maybe thousands-of qualified guides making a living from riding their bikes.

In the UK, guiding qualifications seem to be sought after by outdoor instructor types and those who have ambitions of spending itinerant years guiding clients in the Alps, or the mountains of Greece. However, this has been changing over recent years – especially after British Cycling’s adoption and envelopment of Scottish Cycling’s MBLA programme. Now there are guides aiming to get their ‘ticket’ for the purposes of showing small groups of riders the best of British riding, with riders lining up to be shown around. And others, like myself, who want to get the experience, with the qualification coming as a bonus.

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure: Jacob’s Cracker – The nicest man in mountain biking, Nick Craig, gets some Glaswegian encouragement from Sanny as they see who can clear Jacob’s Ladder without stopping. International Adventure: Iceland – Bikepacking in Iceland. Best bring your thermals. International Adventure: The Scottish Connection – Three Scottish friends meet up for an epic road trip round New Zealand before they all go their separate ways. Interview: David Turner – Chipps talks to the reluctant icon behind this cult brand. Classic Ride: Sutton Bank – This steep Yorkshire road climb is known for being too horribly busy (unless it’s been blocked by a misguided lorry) to ride. But how are the trails away from the fumes of brakes and clutches? Bike Test: Sub £1000 hardtails – We check out three hardtails under the magic figure of a grand. There’s no carbon and no full suspension at this price point, but is there fun? You bet there is! Grouptest: Dropper Seatposts – We check out the highs and lows of the current dropper post market. Grinder: The team bring you goods ridden through the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And possibly a touch of mud. Feature: Trail Leader 3: You literally put your life in the hands of a mountain bike guide. What goes into that experience? Silver Shredders: Mountain bike life doesn’t stop when work does. We look at a bunch of riders making full use of their newfound spare time.
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