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Mountain Biking


(Published Mar 2016 replacing version Sept 2010)


This page looks to give the facts a person would need to know to run Mountain Biking for a group of young people, or to do it for themselves if they are a young person.

What is Mountain Biking?

Mountain Biking refers to cycling in off road terrain. It is often referred to as Off Road Cycling. The bikes normally differ from road bikes in a number of ways such as being heavier and more robust, having thicker grooved tyres, and sometimes also have suspension.

What is a Mountain Biking Permit?

The adventurous activity permit scheme is designed to ensure that only people with the relevant skills and experience lead adventurous activities for the young people. Therefore all activities classed as adventurous can only be lead by someone holding the appropriate permit. Additionally young people (under 18) can take part in adventurous activities for themselves with personal activity permits.

A Mountain Biking permit is required for all Mountain Biking activities that take place in Terrain 1 or Terrain 2. Definitions of these terrains can be found in POR. Mountain Biking activities in Terrain 0 don't require a Mountain Biking permit.

Levels of Permit

There are four levels of permit available for Mountain Biking. These are:

  • Terrain 1 Summer conditions
  • Terrain 1 Winter conditions
  • Terrain 2 Summer conditions
  • Terrain 2 Winter conditions

Definitions of Summer and Winter conditions can be found later on this page.

Additionally, each of these permits can be further restricted (such as through geographical locations etc) to end up with an individual permit to the level of the competence and requirements of any person.

Types of Permit

There are three types of permit available for Mountain Biking. These are:

Personal – Allows a young person (under 18) to take part in Mountain Biking with others with a personal Mountain Biking permit.

Leadership – Allows the permit holder to lead Mountain Biking for a single group.

Supervisory – Allows the permit holder to remotely supervise more than one Mountain Biking group.

Permit Limitations

Personal – If you hold a personal Mountain Biking permit you can go Mountain Biking with others who hold a personal Mountain Biking permit. It does not allow you to go Mountain Biking with anyone not holding a Mountain Biking permit.

Leadership – If you have a permit to lead Mountain Biking then you will need to be with your group at all times. Details of group sizes for Mountain Biking can be found in POR.

Supervisory – If you hold a permit to supervise Mountain Biking then you can supervise up to three groups remotely. This should be from no further away than 3km if on foot or a bike, or 10km if in a vehicle. You should also ensure that adequate systems have been set up to monitor and communicate with the group. You remain responsible for all the groups you are supervising, but can designate someone with the appropriate skills to be the leader of each group.


When remotely supervising groups the holder of a Mountain Biking supervisor permit needs to designate a leader for each group. This designation lasts only for the current activity while the permit holder is supervising.

People designated as group leaders should hold the skills and be responsible enough to lead a group safely in the terrain in which they are. There is no problem with making young people group leaders if they are up to the role, and it can be used as a useful development tool.

Further Definitions

Winter refers to when winter conditions, including snow and ice, prevail or are forecast. This cannot be defined by a portion of the year. Snow / ice cover is not the only defining feature. Severe cold, high winds and shortened daylight hours should also be considered.

Summer means any condition not covered under winter.

Travelling Time means the time it would take a person to walk by the quickest safe route; and for this purpose a person shall be deemed to walk at 5 kilometres per hour and to take, in addition, one minute for every 10 metres of increase in the height above sea level of any uphill section of that route.