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Derbyshire Scout Bike Team

Skills coaching or guided rides, the Scout Bike Team can help your Troop, Unit or Network and can also support both local and large camps.

Organised as a Scout Active Support Unit, the team is made up of Leaders, Network members and Explorers. Our skills coaching and ride leadership experience has been gained through small and large camps and leading groups of Scouts, Guides and Explorers in different terrain, having been trained by Cycleactive, one of the UK's leading mountain biking training providers.

The Team started straight after the successful completion of Peak 2010 in Derbyshire, where we are based. If you would like to join us for a ride, or would like to discuss how we can help with running biking at an international camp, or anything in between, please get in touch.

Skills arena


Riding a bike safely requires a set of skills that can't be taken for granted. We have found that helping young people with these skills makes them safer, gives them confidence and inspires a desire to ride bigger and more challenging routes. We can help your Troop, Unit or Network by running a skills session for you. We can bring bikes and all the extra bikes needed to do this safely and effectively. It takes about an hour, we can accommodate up to 12 riders at once and if your HQ has some grounds, we can usually do what we need in the space available.

For camps, we have additional kit that means we can build a track, for young people to put their newly honed skills to practice on. Have a look at the photos - we can run this for your camp!

Drum Hill

For 2012 we have designed and built a track within the woods at Drum Hill Campsite.

After a skills session you can put what you have learned into practice on our track which includes drop offs and bermed corners, as well as roots and cobbles to negotiate.

Guided rides

Often we find that young people just like to jump on their bikes and ride - this is great, and we can help you by guiding rides in many locations across Derbyshire in all sorts of terrain, teaching some important core skills along the way.

The Derbyshire Scout Bike Team have been trained to deliver coaching and are led by a SMBLA Trail Cycle Leader qualified Leader. We can supply bikes and safety equipment and take your unit, troop or network on short or long rides. We will supply risk assessments and have experience in managing groups on roads too, always making group safety the top priority (shortly followed by maximum fun!).

Please get in touch if we can help - we love to ride and are keen to share our passion for biking with lots of other Scouts!

Joining us


The Derbyshire Scout Bike Team is open to any keen biker (road or mountain) - we currently have around 25 members, from 15 to 65 in age, with a range of skills and experience. As an adult, to be a member you have to join the Scout Active Support Unit - this doesn't mean you have to wear a uniform or make the Scout Promise (but you can) and if you already hold a role in Scouting, you can join us as an additional role. There will be a form to fill in, and if you are new to Scouting, we will undertake a CRB check and you will be interviewed by a selection panel - Scouting takes Child Protection very seriously and as part of Derbyshire Scouts we rigorously follow the rules. If this is your only Scouting role, you will need to pay annual membership to The Scout Association, currently around £25.

Explorer Scouts are also most welcome to join - you are our future! There are no formalities for under 18s, but we do ask that you advise your Explorer Scout Leader, so they know what you are up to (and can award you the Mountain Bike badge!).

We will train you in skills and leadership techniques so you can play a full part in our team, plus you will have the opportunity to undertake formal, externally recognised qualifications (like SMBLA TCL). Importantly though, you can come and ride with us - we have a number of rides planned, for all abilities over the coming months, in locations close to home and further afield.

If you would like to join us, please get in touch and one of us will get back to you very soon.


Social Rides

Coed Llandegla - 5th & 6th March

Gradback bike rideIt was an early start on Saturday 5th March for 6 members of the bike team as we headed over to Coed Llandegla in North Wales for a day of biking and information gathering.

The bike centre has routes for everyone, from green through to black and caters for all riders. We all rode the red route, with most of the team taking in the additional black routes.

It was a gradual climb up in the mist and drizzle, but we were rewarded with swooping singletrack, and flowing ascents that provided a roller coaster of a ride on the way down. The jumps and table tops on the black route saw everyone getting "air", and although the tracks were muddy in places, this did not detract from the ride and left us wanting more.

The centre also has a pump track and a free ride area, to practice stunts, and a skills area where we got lots of ideas in order to create something similar at Drum Hill.

We have lots of photos and video footage, so if you are interested in helping pull this together then please get in touch.

The day finished with a hearty meal at the café, a quick bike wash and change, then heading home tired, but having had a great day of riding and some fantastic ideas for the future.
See you on the next ride.

Gradbach - 19th & 20th March 2011

Over the weekend of 19th-20th March the Derbyshire Scout Bike Team ran their first mountain biking event at Gradbach Scout Camp. It was so successful, we expect the event to become annual!

10am on Saturday saw the arrival of 20 intrepid Explorers and older Scouts. After signing in and a drink they were divided into two groups and set straight to work.

Gradback bike rideGradback bike rideOne group stayed by the farmhouse to hone their bike maintenance skills. Led by ace bike mechanics Rob, James and Mike the bikes were checked to make sure they were (off)-roadworthy and then each youngster worked on his own bike learning how to safety check and perform some basic adjustments. The session was rounded off with the tyre changing challenge - an important skill because if you get a puncture when it is cold and wet the longer it takes you to change your tyre the colder you will get. Jack was the clear winner with a record time of under 4 minutes and his prize was a multi-tool and an invitation to join the Bike Team. So the standard has been set for next year! Those who were the wrong side of 20 minutes need to practise!

Meanwhile Chris and Debbie led the other group for the skills session. The session started with "silly bike riding" which teaches you how to move around on your bike; then downhill braking and the "attack" position, very important for riding downhill; onto the drop-off practice area where the riders are encouraged to ride down ever steepening drops. Next it was weaving in and out of cones; downhill cornering and uphill pedalling techniques; and finally wheelies, manuals and track stands. All these skills were put to the test in the slow bike race - no putting your feet down or going backwards - and the last one over the line is the winner. The session ended with a circuit starting by the river then climbing up through the woods to further test all their newly acquired techniques.

The groups swapped their activities after lunch, and before dinner put their new skills into practice on an evening ride to the top of the nearest hill, visiting Ludd's Cave en route. Then in the evening Rob gave a talk on what to carry in your rucksack on a ride and demonstrated how to use CO2 gas pumps to inflate a tyre. James ran a biking quiz and then there were biking DVDs until bedtime.

Gradback bike rideAfter a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning it was time for the big ride. Then, the scouts and explorers were free to choose whether to participate in one of two rides, one more challenging than the other. With groups of equal size, the two parties set out on their respective routes. Both were able to experience authentic mountain biking, with the terrain often technically and physically demanding, but always fun to ride. The young people were required to implement all of the skills learnt the previous day, with further coaching being provided as the ride progressed.

Arriving back at Gradbach mid-afternoon, the riders washed their bikes, and were then presented with the mountain bike badge, the criteria for which they had met over the course of the two days.

The bike team are going to make this an annual event so if you fancy a weekend of exciting biking adventure look out for the dates for 2012 on this website.

If your Scout Group would like to book the team contact TBA.
We can do anything from coming to your HQ for the evening to running a weekend event.

September Social Rides

Night riding!

On 2 evenings in late summer / early autumn, several of the Bike Team put their lights on for 2 fantastic evening rides, in great conditions. The first of these was at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire and although we managed to get just over half way round before the light faded, we did the best bits of The Monkey Trail with artifical illumination! Although we all tumbled at least once, all riders completed the trail with big grins and dusty legs (it really was that dry!).

A couple of weeks later and closer to our normal territory, 4 of us once again lit up the trails, this time in rural South Derbyshire, close to Foremark reservoir, Ticknall. This great route was also very dry and fast and we whipped round in good time.

If anyone fancies a go at night riding, we have 2 excellent lights for loan and you can request one by contacting Rob. More night riding dates to come!

Yorkshire Dales team weekend

Yorkshire Dales team weekend, October 2011

The final weekend of October saw 9 members of the Bike Team travel to Swaledale in North Yorkshire for a great social riding weekend. We stayed at the fabulous Dales Mountain Bike Centre in Fremington, near Reeth, which is set up as bunkhouse accommodation, with on site bike shop, bike wash, secure storage and (best of all) a café with 24 hour cake access - yes, really!

The rides were big and bold, with some heavy climbing on roads and tracks, exposed moorland doubletrack and then long descents. For the end of October, we can't complain too much about the weather (it rained for part of one of 3 rides). We only had one fall off, which was pretty spectacular although the rider was OK, and 2 punctures were the extent of "mechanical" issues.

We ate at some great cafes and a good pub in Reeth, topping up the calories we burnt on the climbs. Although a bit of a trek from the usual Derbyshire trails we ride, once in a while, a trip like this is great fun and we plan to repeat next year, in either the Yorkshire Moors or Lake District. Keep your eyes on the ride calendar in early 2012 for details.

Join us for one of our social rides by contacting TBA.

Sample Actvity Sessions

Gradbach - 29th January 2011

Gradback bike rideOn a frosty but sunny day at the end of January the team were at Gradbach Scout Camp. They were checking out the routes for a mountain biking weekend for Explorers in March. The routes are varied with a technical uphill section through the woods, road sections up and downhill and technically challenging downhill single track.

One of the camping areas will be used for a skills arena where the Explorers can gain confidence and learn the skills to help them cycle safely on and off road. There is a covered area for the Explorers to learn bike maintenance too.

If your Scout group would like to come on a biking weekend at Gradbach, or anywhere else, get in touch.

Mountain Bike skills, Belper District camp September 2011

Mountain Bike skills, Belper District camp September 2011

Sunday 18th September, on the last day of Belper's District camp, saw 3 of the Bike Team coaching several dozen Explorers, Scouts (and a couple of big cubs!) in the core biking skills.

Operating on the training field at Drum Hill, we coached the young people in safe braking, slow speed control, weight shift, wheelies and drop offs - the basic, core skills required for a safe mountain bike ride.

We are available for other District camps, as well as Group and Troop or Unit camps. We can offer these sessions at Drum Hill, or can travel to other locations closer to you.

Cub Bike Badge

Do you Cubs want to do their Cyclist badge?

On a pleasant afternoon in mid September, the Derbyshire Scout Bike Team ran an afternoon for a Heanor based Cub Pack at Shipley Park, to help the Cubs achieve their Cyclist badge.

We covered some basic on the bike handling skills, simple repairs and maintenance and spent a bit of time looking at hi-viz bike clothing, lights and locks, all of which are essential components of the badge.

We then went for a short ride around the park, which although slow and noisy, the Cubs really enjoyed.

If anyone would like to run the Cyclist badge for their pack, please get in touch.

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