School MTB Club ideas

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  • School MTB Club ideas
  • cbr9
    Member

    Hi folks,

    Wondering if anyone had some ideas to help me out. Got the second week of a new school mtb club tomorrow and the leader can’t make it – so can’t go on the trails (I have my Level 2 assessment next week). For the first week we covered attack position, basic braking, road safety, M-check, trackstands and a few games.

    So tomorrow we will have the small ‘pumptrack’ at the school as well as cones etc etc. Does anyone have any games/practices that I can use to let the kids have fun and maybe develop some technique before getting out on the tracks?

    I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve, just curious for any ideas I haven’t seen yet. Cheers!

    joshvegas
    Member

    Move around in a parking space is fun… Travk stand little hops etc.

    And not helful short notice but polo is amazing for bike control

    Premier Icon alexpalacefan
    Subscriber

    Make sure you’re insured.

    APF

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Bike Maintenance!

    Hi CBR9,

    Good luck for the assessment next week.  Hope it goes well.

    Sounds like you are already on the right track.  Only thing that I would add is e-mail your Head Teacher AND Outdoor Learning Coordinator in the morning.  Be really up front and explain that you are not qualified but are competent enough to lead a session.  It’s a bugger but they might well ask you to cancel the session.

    Worst case scenario is that a kid doesn’t listen to instructions and does something bloody dangerous/stupid and gets hurt.

    Where would you stand if this happened?  Would you have the backing of the school?

    I’m sure you have covered all the bases like checking bikes are ride-worthy and that you have the correct ratio of staff to students etc but does your risk assessment allow the session to continue without a qualified member of staff?

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Subscriber

    Lev2 assessment? Is this mtb leader or BC lev 2 coach? If leader coach I’m surprised you don’t have the gears booklets you should be using. If leader then you can’t “lead”the session afaik (lev1 coach, mtb leader, Bikeability and Sustrans leader)

    As above you need risk assessments, lessons plans etc as you probably know if you are doing your assessment soon.

    At my kids club I do the leading along with others who also have dual qualification but the ration for coaches vs leaders is different (roughly 8 for mtb & 15-20 in a “safe”environment for coaches… need to double check figures)

    Having worked as a volunteer both as a swimming teacher and a Bikeability tutor and on school boards, schools do like to know what’s happening and don’t like surprises.

    Any incidents need reporting and depending on the severity they should be reported to BC….

    Having access to a pump track means you are sorted, kids will spend all day on that. We are in the process of getting one planned, Land is available to us.

    Good luck with your assessment and club, it’s great fun

    cbr9
    Member

    Thanks all for the info. Got some things think about then and check with the school as I am actually a student P.E teacher. My test is for mtb level 2 leader, not the coaching.

    The plan of me taking the session was considered okay as I’m not ‘leading’ as such, but more facilitating some cycling games for the kids that could benefit on the trails (and there are other staff members present). I’ll double check beforehand though to avoid any confusion, may just be best to wait until I have done and hopefully passed the assessment

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t use a different view of phrase to avoid your responsibility. If local authority / employer says you need L2, you need L2. If not you’re outside risk assessment, and totally carrying the can for anything that happens.

    I’m not sure you want to risk a future career on one session a week early.

    Also ongoing, check the difference between leader and coach. BC seem really keen on keeping them separate.

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Subscriber

    You still require a BC coach I would say, but then schools tend to have their own rules. Here in Scotland we have active schools who provide activities, afaik they have all had some BikeBility training to be able to deliver playground skills sessions.(done that, leading to badge level but not for a few yrs) We also have outdoor ed people who do all the other outdoor pursuits ie biking, sailing, kayaking etc They all need proper qualifications, updated regularly.

    Its always been a bit of a “grey”area where riders having done a leader course think they are coaches which is part of the course to a degree but depends on your BC/SC area development coach as to how that is applied. There are loads of groups winging it including lack of knowledge on child protection regs!!!!!!

    As a student looking for future employment I wouldn’t upset anyone by chancing anything as exciting as it is, kids may be disappointed but you need to protect your future options.

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Subscriber

    ah, matt beat me to it and is more of an “expert”than me

    cbr9
    Member

    Yeah that is all fair enough, will definitely take that on board and sort it out tomorrow. I wasn’t trying to avoid my responsibility, by the way, just going on what the school had said.

    Thanks for the help though, appreciated.

    crosshair
    Member

    No wonder the poor little mites are drowning in their own blubber with all this ’Norms the namery’ going on.

    If they’re supervised by folk that supervise any other after school activity I can’t see the issue.

    ‘You broke your arm at MTB Club!! Don’t tell me those wreckless teachers let you ride bikes!! Once your swiping finger is operational again it’s back to cycling apps on the iPad only for you my boy!’

    Hopefully we can rename it Brexit Cycling soon and make Cycle Jousting compulsory in all primary schools, progressing to Bike-mounted paint balling in high school.

    (As soon as my son is old enough to withstand the hits, we are DEFINITELY getting paintball guns mounted on the handlebars and playing Top Gun on our bikes. In fact, that’s 98-99% of the reason I agreed to have a child in the first place 🤷🏻‍♂️)

    *save the blah blah child protection blah blah I used to be an FE Lecturer teaching kids how to shoot shotguns and drive dangerous machinery so I know why it’s important to cover your ass and was joking a little bit

    jekkyl
    Member

    Cover Trail etiquette?

    Or history of MTB standards.. that’s at least 4 hrs right there.

    I used to do a bike maintenance club bought a basic tool  kit local shops donated loads of old parts. We used to take my bike apart a lot too. Only failed to get home once!!

    daern
    Member

    Also ongoing, check the difference between leader and coach. BC seem really keen on keeping them separate.

    Absolutely. As an L2 MTB coach you get insurance cover providing you stay within the terms of the coaching regulations (20 riders for core skills, 8-16 for MTB-specific skills depending on location) as well as some really good practical documentation.

    L2 leadership doesn’t (as far as I know) provide such insurance for a coaching session (on the basis that as a leader you’re not a qualified coach) and this is why many schools and clubs (including our own) insist on at least Level 1 (and ideally Level 2) coaches for all sessions, not just L2 leaders. It’s a bit confusing because of the naming system, but it does make some sense when you think about it.

    On the plus side, once you’ve done the L2 coaching qualification(s), you are covered for wherever you choose to coach (subject to the rules around suitable locations) – I’ve led sessions for Scouts as well as for my club and I would be covered for schools too, except that I would rather pull my fingernails out than attempt to coach a bunch of kids who don’t want to be there! Personally, I wouldn’t undertake a session myself without this back up – parents can be a right bunch of twunts and if little johnny with a broken arm has a lawyer for a mum, you’re going to have a really bad time…

    On a more constructive note, balance exercises are great – a Shrinking Island game is always fun. If the kids are up to it, get some front and rear wheel lifts going – use rocks or bricks and see if they can lift their front wheel onto them and then hop off again. Rear wheel too if they are good at it. It’s amazing how many younger riders are rubbish at the basics of pedaling and braking, so don’t be afraid to go right back to the start if needed – a good building needs good foundations, etc. etc.

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Subscriber

    Crosshair….. this is the incident that prompted schools across the country to reassess outdoor education and school clubs where “interested” parties were allowed to do as they wished unhindered, things have moved on a lot since then:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyme_Bay_canoeing_tragedy

    A friend of mine was instrumental in devising and implementing the original SMBLA qualification as a consequence of a review and follow up to said event. Myself and Rik participated in the first run of that course.

    More recently:

    MTB Instructor Sued For £4m

    So assuming you can’t lead tomorrow. Then some recap of m check etc. Get them to swap bikes look for the fault. Tyre change race. They need to deflate, take tube out, step through it put it back in and reinflate. Gives you the chance to show them how to take a tyre off without levers etc. Also qr Vs bolt through.

    Any chance of a trail centre day? Get them to plan where and when who they’ll need to contact and a way to raise some funds for transport etc.

    crosshair
    Member

    I personally think that’s different league to what’s being suggested here though.

    I just find it ridiculous that someone keen on getting a few kids on bikes, in the very controlled scenario the OP suggested, has to be subject to such a draconian set of onerous qualifications and red tape.

    I feel genuinely sorry for the kids and the restricted opportunities such oppressive environments promote.

    Premier Icon GavinB
    Subscriber

    @crosshair – the OP isn’t qualified to carry out a bike check until they’ve passed their assessment, so even though they may be working in a ‘controlled scenario’, they would still be taking risks.  They are not qualified to do Bikeability Level 1, let alone do anything MTB-specific.

    To provide some equivalence/comparison – say the OP is a competent climber, and their school has an indoor climbing wall.  Would you be happy that they run a session on that wall without any qualification?

    crosshair
    Member

    It’s a bike 😳 Presumably their own and possibly one they’ve ridden to school on!

    I think a bouldering wall would be a better analogy and in that case yes I would rather that they did something active than sat around. Plenty of dark winter nights to come yet for maintenance etc

    crosshair
    Member

    the OP isn’t qualified to carry out a bike check until they’ve passed their assessment, so even though they may be working in a ‘controlled scenario’, they would still be taking risks.  They are not qualified to do Bikeability Level 1, let alone do anything MTB-specific.

    The more times I read stuff that the more I despair. Seriously. My wife and I both think it’s totally sick!!

    The world is totally doolally 🤯

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    lots of good advice, some less so.  OP has asked a good question and seems responsible.  OP how did it go ?

    Leading a ride with a Level 2 Mountain Bike Leader award lets you take up to 8 riders on a ride in appropriate terrain – no non roll-able drops, all within 30 min walk of a ambulance friendly surface (not a forest road) etc, in reasonable weather.  You can lead but you cannot coach.  BC Level 2 coaching qualification lets you take a group of 3-20 riders on non technical off road terrain, so a park, playing fields type stuff, or forest roads,  but not on singletrack or technical terrain.  If children, you need line of sight of whole group at all times. BC level 2 Mountain Bike coaching qualification lets you take group of 8 max on technical trails, as techy as you see appropriate for them.

    A lot of people get mixed up on what covers what. Also, if it’s kids, then PVG (in Scotland) or Disclosure, specific to the club and activity, plus a current SPC (Safeguarding and Protecting Children) level 1 and or Educare Child protection qualification is required.

    daern
    Member
    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    The more times I read stuff that the more I despair. Seriously. My wife and I both think it’s totally sick!!

    Crosshair, I think you need things in balance some more.

    To an extent I agree with you. Cycling is a socially, morally and legally acceptable risk. It is a simple sport that the benefits of participation way outweigh the risks.

    I, like you, have a career dealing with risk and challenge in outdoor sports. I’ve led outdoor centres, including one under investigation by HSE and courts for a fatality. I hold multiple high level outdoor qualifications and IOSH Managing Safely. I now teach risk management, including being keynote speaker and consultant on these things to Academies and Nursery chains. I’ll stop Willy waving now.

    There are other routes to prove competence – prior learning and experience is a perfectly acceptable substitute to a qualification. A certificate means you passed a standard on one day. Nothing more.

    But, from what the OP posted – he’s inexperienced, hasn’t run sessions before and is only just nearing completion of training. This means he has no evidence of the skills, judgements and industry norms.

    We have a generation growing up who lack many ‘common sense’ skills when it comes to risk management. HSE even recognise this for our future workforce. What if the OP and his group are some of these?

    It’s unlikely, but with a lack of skills or judgement he *may* decide to run a MTB jump session, or maybe just has poor control of the group. Maybe.

    If, if, this led to an incidental and injured child, not all parents or employers would be as relaxed as you are.

    At the end of the day, his employer and therefore the children and parents, have some basic standards they expect to be met. No it’s. No buts.

    With all that in mind, the only sensible thing with a stranger on the internet is to caution and suggest he think carefully and meet his employers expectations.

    Premier Icon GavinB
    Subscriber

    That’s a good point point Matt, about qualifications not necessarily being a substitute for experience, and vice versa.

    I worked as a full-time Bikeability instructor for a while around Manchester, which made the following, perfectly reasonable comment, make me smile:

    Presumably their own and possibly one they’ve ridden to school on!

    I think at least once a month I’d find a bike where the forks had been put on back to front.  At least daily I’d have bikes with no bar end plugs and/or completely inoperable brakes for example.   All of these bikes had been ridden to school that day.

    Yep it’s the world we live in. I’ve been hill walking all my life did summer ml training and have taken DofE gold and silver and bronze expeds for the past 12 years. But my employer has, under advice, decided that without a ticket I’m only capable of taking groups on bronze. I’ll have to do a lowland leader for silver and an ml for gold.

    I’m swithering as to whether I’ll be doing expeds next season.

    TL:DR you need a bit of paper to be viewed as competent.

    daern
    Member

    I think at least once a month I’d find a bike where the forks had been put on back to front.  At least daily I’d have bikes with no bar end plugs and/or completely inoperable brakes for example.   All of these bikes had been ridden to school that day.

    …and it’s a good example of where a bit of formal education is a good thing. I read a thread on Facebook recently with people advocating removing bar end plugs because “they don’t do anything and just add weight”. Without a bit of understanding as to what they do (or more specifically, what they prevent) it would be an easy thing to overlook when checking bikes prior to a coaching session. For our sessions, we have a bag of bar plugs that we’ll fit if needed, but if we can’t for any reason then we won’t let that bike be part of the session.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    For our sessions, we have a bag of bar plugs that we’ll fit if needed, but if we can’t for any reason then we won’t let that bike be part of the session

    <span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>Good approach, we do same at our coaching sessions.  It is also a must under BC Coaching rules too, for jolly good reasons !</span>

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    TL:DR you need a bit of paper to be viewed as competent

    I can quote AALS and MTA/BMC/MS that prior experience and demonstration of competence is ok – an employer and individual needs to be able to do this. ONE way is a certificate.

    Frustratingly this is not done in practice enough.

    For example – I had Aussie apply with all sorts of Kiwi and Aussie outdoor tickets. I paid our technical adviser a day of assessment, did some myself and signed her off as competent. First AALS inspection they also took a look at her – and congratulated her on a great session…

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