British Cycling Have Big Plans for Mountain Biking

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Following a six-week consultation in December 2019, British Cycling released their long-term plans for downhill and endurance. Their plans set out a series of goals and how they hope to achieve them.

Given Jack Reading’s perspective on the lack of support for downhill just last year, does this mean things are about to change for the better?

The Consultation

The consultation took place in December 2019. The process involved talking to coaches, riders, commissaries and a wider variety of people to get their views. British Cycling worked with Welsh and Scottish Cycling as well as councillors, collating responses from 17,000 people. Following this process, British Cycling released a long-term plan for 2021-26 but say many of the objectives will take more time to achieve.

Gravity MTB

British Cycling Gravity

The main goals British Cycling have in regards to gravity MTB are:

  1. More people cycling.
  2. More people competing.
  3. Develop a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
  4. Develop a world-class talent pipeline.
  5. Maximise elite success.
  6. Improve the number and variety of places to ride gravity disciplines.
  7. Work more closely with the MTB gravity community.
  8. Showcase our passion for MTB gravity.
British Cycling Gravity MTB
Gravity Plan

In 2019 British Cycling found that 90% of downhill riders were male with 10% female. According to the plans, a few of the goals, both in terms of the ambitions and how they hope to achieve them include:

  • Contribute to the national target of a 40% increase in the number of females competing in events and competitions.
  • Contribute to the national target of a 50% increase in the number of under-16s participating across all competitions.
  • Create a regional and national youth academy supporting MTB gravity riders.
  • Creating partnerships with all home country forestry agencies.
  • Investigating ways of securing future capital investment to enhance and improve MTB trails.

You can see the full gravity plan here.

We’re phenomenally proud of the success which British riders have achieved in gravity disciplines over recent years, helping us to establish ourselves as a world-leading nation and inspiring the next generation of Rachel Athertons and Reece Wilsons in the process.

If we want our riders to continue performing at the very highest level, we know that we must put the right foundations in place. I’m delighted to see how the plans for each of the disciplines have come together and want to extend my thanks to everybody who has contributed throughout the process. Like all of you, I look forward to watching the gravity discipline grow and flourish at all levels in the years to come.

Stephen Park OBE, Performance Director Great Britain Cycling Team

Endurance MTB

British Cycling Endurance MTB

Where endurance is concerned (enduro/XC) British Cycling’s goals are:

  1. More people cycling
  2. More people competing
  3. Develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce
  4. Develop a world-class talent pipeline
  5. Supporting the best British talent towards success on the world stage.
  6. Expand provision and signpost mountain bikers to accessible places to ride across the country.
  7. Build better relationships with the mountain bike community and our partners.
  8. Demonstrate a passion for every aspect of mountain biking.
British Cycling Endurance MTB
Endurance Plan

The plan for endurance disciplines follows a lot of the same goals as gravity, but a few of the key points they want to achieve and how are:

  • Identify baselines and set targets for the number of riders participating in MTB, including; age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and riders from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
  • Strengthening the pathway for disabled riders by understanding the barriers and developing actions to address them.
  • Developing a regional and national calendar offering a good variety of accessible MTB racing opportunities.
  • Recruit 8 female and 8 male MTB riders onto the Junior Academy programme.
  • Recruit 12 female and 12 male riders to the National Talent MTB programme.

See the full endurance plan here.

I’m really pleased to present our first long-term strategic plan for MTB endurance, which sets out the key challenges in front of us and our plans to address them. While the recovery from Covid-19 will be our immediate priority, I’m incredibly excited by what lies beyond that, as we seek to capitalise on the discipline’s popularity and ensure that we are doing all we can to make it an accessible and appealing option for new riders.

We are blessed with an incredibly passionate and knowledgeable group of volunteers, ambassadors and stakeholders in the MTB endurance community, and a key part of delivering this plan will be ensuring that we duly recognise, listen to and invest in these people. We’re determined to learn from and work with others to grow the sport, and I look forward to meeting many of you as we set off on the journey.

Dani Every, Cycling Delivery Director at British Cycling.

Gravity Development Centres

British Cycling have announced the creation of new gravity development centres to facilitate and foster young talent in mountain biking. With the hope to create seven centres in the next few months, the first is now open in Rushmere Country Park.

Men’s Junior Downhill World Championship. GBCT Daniel Slack and James Elliott Silver and Bronze. Photo: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

The creation of the centres is all part of their wider plans for the gravity disciplines. Each hub will have coaching sessions for young riders aged 12-16, and the most talented will be invited to attend regional and national development sessions.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for Firecrest MTB’s Young Rider Development Programme (known as DeVo) to be the first Talent Development Centre for gravity. The DeVo programme has always been a passion of mine and to be able to line it up with British Cycling’s programmes has been a long term goal.

The programme has already seen a number of riders go on to do big things with Phil Atwill being one of the programme’s most successful alumni and this is a fantastic opportunity for more to do the same. The focus of DeVo has always been on working with riders of all ages and abilities to get the most from mountain biking and I look forward to developing the next generation of riders and working closely with British Cycling going forward.

Ian Warby, Firecrest Mountain Biking.

The next session is coming up on 3 July. You can find further details here.

#EveryoneWins

All of this plays into the #EveryoneWins campaign, British Cycling’s latest campaign to encourage more people to take part in events, as well as celebrate grassroots racing in all disciplines.


British Cycling – Not Stepping Up For Downhill

Updated UK MTB Racing Calendar: Changes for 2021

British Cycling: Will new structures benefit MTB riders?

British Cycling Reveals New Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group


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Comments (10)

    Interesting. Are you going to ask them what budget they’ve defined for this Singletrack? And how that breaks down on gravity vs endurance?

    The medal count looks even, except the XC goes back to 2016, and the Gravity to 2018……….

    I’ve been involved in some of the drafting of these plans as I’m on one of BC’s commissions (gravity), BC get a lot of bad press in the mtb world (some justified but a lot not) and the stuff above is part of a plan to try and do more for mtb and change the perception. No one is saying it’ll be perfect but it’s a lot more than has happened before and will be a step forward.

    What a load of utter shite. Read the title and was thinking ” at last, they’re going to put money and time into MTB access, righting the woeful situation across England and Wales and get more people riding. Perhaps even do some education of the masses to make cycling safer and better”

    But no they’re going to chase some gongs. FFS

    ‘ the first is now open in Rushmere Country Park.’
    Is this the same Rushmere Country Park where you need to buy s permit to ride the XC & DH trails?

    Hardly inclusive, is it?

    1st thing they need to do is put some proper pressure on the Government to change right of way and the negative views on mountain bikers. Actually start publicly embarrassing the Gov both nationally and locally about the shiiite access at a grass roots level. Because that’s the base of the pyramid from which talent at the elite end come from.
    People like Peaty riding as a kid in woods around Sheffield the Peaks. Same with the Athertons but in their own locale.

    Take a look at the article 2 days ago of the local council considering the bmx riders as a scurge and danger and erecting metal barriers to limit their activities rather than engaging with them, and telling the 3 local whingers that (a) they’re better riding in the dirt and using 50 yards of footpath than in the town centre sniffing glue and (b) these could be future Olympians.

    Totally the wrong priorities again. Which is why I’m still not a BC member.

    When all is said and done, British Cycling are the national governing body for cycle sport. And “cycle sport” is the important bit here. Without racing, they have no real reason to exist. It is my belief that for all their (occasional) drives for recreational cycling, utility cycling, commuter cycling, unless it neatly aligns with one of the competitive disciplines they look after, it’s a bit of a sideshow. Anyone looking for an organisation to campaign meaningfully or vociferously for greater access to the countryside needs to look elsewhere. And I say that as someone who attended one of the consultation workshops in 2019.

    Apparently there will be a BC development centre at Cannock too.
    I get the impression that this is one of the reasons that FE Cannock are being awkward about granting permission for non-BC qualified coaches to operate on their land.

    Are they doing anything about trying to get a XC World Cup round? I think we badly need one, especially with a few top tier British riders to cheer along.

    From the Endurance discipline plan:

    “But what about those who might
    be looking to ride MTB for the first
    time? Firstly we need to improve the
    accessibility and awareness of places
    where people can go to ride, which
    includes investment in facilities such
    as trail centres and work to influence
    wider trail development plans and
    countryside access.”

    And from the objectives:

    “Build better relationships with
    the mountain bike community
    and our partners.
    We will achieve this by…

    • Exploring the opportunity of delivering a
    MTB Endurance World Cup event”

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