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Adapting Mountain Bike Leadership - Training to help more disabled riders experience the trails.

We are passionate about mountain biking and making mountain biking as accessible as we can for as many folk as possible. We would love for mountain biking and mountain bike leadership to be seen as much more accessible to folks who are physically disabled. Recently, in the stunning Cairngorms, with some truly amazing folk, we got one step closer.

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Whether our mountain bike leaders or aspiring mountain bike leaders are part of the LGBTQ community, are disabled, belong to minority groups, are older or young, married, single, male, female, or non-binary we want anyone, from all walks of life to be able to access mountain biking if they want to.

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We know that by empowering mountain bike leaders be more comfortable leading adapted rides this will help inspire them to create more opportunities to get more disabled riders to enjoy the thrill of mountain biking and all the benefits that brings to physical and mental health.

We are privileged to have the amazing support and mentorship of Craig Grimes, Director at Experience Community and Neil Russell Director at the Adaptive Riders Collective in this endeavour. Both are always on hand to advise, enthuse and offer words of wisdom from a place of lived experience.

Craig (who co-developed the FunMBL with us to ensure it is accessible), is a qualified FunMBL Leader and is on route to becoming a MTB Leadership Tutor, qualified to deliver MTB Leadership training. Neil, likewise is on the pathway to becoming a Tutor. It’s most definitely about relatable role models.

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Neil and Craig

Roll back a year and we were in the Cairngorms on a pilot workshop with Able2Adventure and Experience Community. There was one purpose to this; learning more about adaptive mountain biking; disability etiquette, matching adaptive bike to rider, trailside repairs and of course learning to ride a variety of adaptive bikes. We wanted to document the workshop and promote the opportunities and potential that workshops like these can have. SO we made this short film with Scotty Laughland to be able to share the pure joy and possibilities that are out there.

Fast forward, one year, we are back in the Cairngorms, this time with some of our Mountain Bike Leadership Tutors, alongside Craig and Rik, the fab folk from Experience Community and Neil Russell of the Adaptive Riders Collective.

This time it was about giving our MTB Leadership Tutors the confidence, based on real practical experience to train disabled riders to become mountain bike Leaders. No wee film this time but glorious sunshine, tonnes of enthusiasm and no midge!

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Aneela McKenna - Mòr Diversity

The bikes are RAD! I’d just love more disabled folk to know these bikes are out there. Think about how much fun we are having, I feel very privileged as an non disabled person. If we can get the message out there and get more disabled folk out on bikes, that should be our mission.

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We do know there is still a long way to go and we know there are some real chunky challenges ahead. We can't shy away from mentioning that some adaptive bikes can cost in excess of £10K, that in itself is a major impediment.

But with folks like Neil relentlessly pursuing funding through some epic sponsored rides with a view to having bikes for folks to come along and try in Stirlingshire and Experience Community, already guiding with their fleet of bikes (albeit down in Englandshire) but able to transport bikes across the UK as they did for us, there are opportunities out there.

Neil Russell - Adaptive Riders Collective

Its about going forwards with the knowledge and confidence to provide opportunities to those with disabilities to experience the benefits and freedom of nature through off-road adaptive cycling. This is ARC’s mission. To create an inclusive collective of adaptive & non-disabled riders where riders of all disciplines and abilities can come together to experience the benefits that cycling and being out in nature have to offer.
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At DMBinS we strongly believe in the power of leaders, both within their field, such as Craig, and in our communities, such as the thousands of mountain bike leaders across Scotland.

We know that by empowering them to understand and be more comfortable leading adapted rides will help inspire them to create more opportunities to get more disabled riders to enjoy the thrill of mountain biking and all the benefits that brings to physical and mental health.

If you can, please consider donating to the MTB Health Fund to help us deliver more of these courses, and other programmes such as Trail Therapy, across Scotland.

Donate and support the Scottish MTB Health Fund


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Donate and support the Scottish MTB Health Fund