Ride levels

We class our rides into four categories which are roughly related to the British Cycling classification. Our events can be divided into two types: Gravel Cycling & Mountain Biking (of which there are three categories).

Beginner/intermediate – Green/blue trails. A mixture of climbs and descents with moderate gradients, technical features like tree roots and rock steps; jumps and berms. Rollable features at controlled speed. Variable surfaces.

Off-Road (trail) biking is best considered a beginner MTB event with blue trails in mind. There can be very easy events using only blue trails. Or, there can be an intermediate event which would use blue trails and maybe some easier red trails, so the members get a taste for a slightly more intermediate level.

Intermediate/advanced – Red and black trails. A mixture of steep climbs, descents and / or avoidable features. Larger jumps, berms and rollable features at controlled speed. Technical features such as tree roots, drop-offs and large rocks. Very variable surfaces.

Technical mountain biking would only be on red trails, and not black. They will often start on an easier red, before moving onto more challenging red trails. There may be some more beginner-friendly events where we start on the blue and move onto the red trails if everyone is fine to do so.

Expert – Very challenging off-piste trails, cross country trails or Downhill/Gravity parks. Long and steep climbs, descents, and large jumps. Numerous hazards including large drop-offs and severe features. Rapid rate of surface change. Commitment required.

These events are only visible to members that have been invited to the special Spond sub-group. Speak to a Ride Captain to gain access. In a nutshell, you either need to be a regular rider with us, or somehow demonstrate your proficiency in mountain biking, for example by sharing your Strava with the group.

Rider safety

Keeping riders safe is the first priority of Ride Captains. Despite being volunteers, they have completed a diligent sign-off process that shows their proficiency in route planning, dealing with incidents and group coordination.

As part of our insurance coverage, all Ride Captains have familiarised themselves with our risk assessment, which gets periodically reviewed by our Steering Committee.

Ride Captains for Level 2 and Level 3 rides will always hold a valid qualification in Outdoor First Aid, but we aim to offer this also on Level 0 and Level 1 rides.

Safety is everybody’s business, therefore we require certain equipment to be carried by all riders. The Group will carry out pre-ride checks of your bike and kit. Although extremely rare, if your safety could be at risk, a Ride Captain may postpone your participation until the next ride.