The Night Leader Award is aimed at qualified mountain bike leaders with substantial night riding experience looking to lead groups and individuals confidently and competently after sundown. Leaders retain their ability to lead in the same conditions as their primary mountain bike leadership award, extending their capacity to lead beyond the hours of daylight.
Qualified leaders with this award are already proficient Leaders with substantial experience of riding in dark conditions. The training and assessment courses build on the skills, knowledge and experience that previous qualifications and leading has provided.
The pathway through the Night Leader Award comprises pre-requisites including holding an existing mountain bike leadership qualification, and single day’s training and a single day’s assessment spilt by a consolidation period of building experience and putting key Night Leader tools into practice.
Pre-requisites for Training
To attend the training course you will need to:
- Hold an existing mountain bike leadership qualification approved by British Cycling, from:
- British Cycling Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award
- British Cycling Level 3 Mountain Bike Leadership Award
- MBLA Trail Cycle Leader
- MBLA Mountain Bike Leader
- Be registered on the British Cycling Mountain Bike Leadership Award Scheme. Holders of the Level 2 or 3 qualifications will already have completed this. Holders of TCL or MBL Awards will need to register, where they haven’t previously.
- Hold current British Cycling membership at Ride level or above, which includes Leader insurance
- Hold current 2 day outdoors first aid and safeguarding training. Copies of both certificates must be supplied to firstname.lastname@example.org with your membership number in order to be held on your record
- Have substantive mountain bike leading experience in daylight conditions
- Have substantive experience of riding in dark conditions, with a minimum of ten rides recorded in your logbook, each of not less than 2 hours
- Provide appropriate and suitable personal equipment for yourself to mountain bike in the dark, and for leading in daylight in the conditions of the day
The training course comprises one day’s duration, starting from lunchtime and running into the evening, although specific timings may vary according to the time of year. Expect at least 3 hours on the trail during darkness.
Utilising your existing mountain bike leadership experience and knowledge, this course focuses particularly on safe and effective leadership skills used during dark conditions including those of communication, motivation, organisation and decision making coupled with detailed route planning and navigation. It expands on the development and implementation of robust Emergency Action and Late Back Procedures.
The course also covers additional risk factors when leading in the dark and at night, environmental and social responsibilities, impacts on riders of being active at night, lighting with battery theory and additional equipment, reflective clothing and highway factors comprising legal lighting requirements and managing groups on the road in the dark.
Note that this course is not an introduction to night riding and expects an existing level of personal confidence and competence at riding at night.
Assessment and pre-requisites for assessment
The Night Leader assessment consists of a theory assessment completed in advance and a practical assessment.
The theory assessment comprises an open book home study task including short answer questions.
The practical assessment comprises tasks and applied leading of peers to evidence your competencies and experience. It is one day’s duration starting from early afternoon through to the evening and full darkness. Expect at least 3 hours on the trail in dark conditions. Precise course timings may vary according to the time of year. You will be expected to have pre-ridden the (provided) assessment route in advance of the practical assessment.
To attend the assessment you will:
- Fulfil all the pre-requisites for the Night Leader Award training
- Have successfully completed the Night Leader Award training or approved alternative*
- Have completed any advisory actions identified at your training
- Have further substantive experience of riding in dark conditions, with a minimum of ten rides additional recorded in your logbook, each of not less than 2 hours (minimum 20 rides total since prior to training)
- Provide appropriate and suitable personal and leading equipment to lead a group on a mountain bike ride in the dark, in the conditions of the day
*Direct entry to the assessment may be permitted where the Leader can evidence extensive and substantial prior experience of leading and of leading in the dark and prior training such as MBLA Night Leading Module. Final approval is made through a discussion with the assessor prior to application.
Remit of the Night Leader Award
Full details of the application of the Night Leader Award are available within the Leadership Guidelines. In summary, with this award, Level 2, Level 3, Trail Cycle Leaders and Mountain Bike Leaders can operate in environments and circumstances that:
- Match their current MTB Leadership Award from those identified above
- Occur outside of the hours of daylight*
- Use trails that are clearly defined and can be followed with the use of a low powered light in an emergency
- The route (including likely contingencies) are known to the leader and have been pre-ridden for the purposes of safety and suitability evaluation around a night ride
- Ensure all participants carry a method of communication with the rest of the group
- Ensure all participants carry mountain bike appropriate lighting on both handlebars and helmet mount in order to see and be seen
- Include additional safeguarding implications being specifically evaluated and addressed
*Dark conditions are considered to be those that are not daylight, ie twilight and hours of darkness