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  1. #1
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    Starting up a mountain biking centre

    Hi all,
    Being back in Holland for a while now, Iíve begun thinking of moving back to the UK again to start up something Iíve always wanted to do: a mountain biking centre doing guided tours, skills courses and the like. I thought the Nicolai forum might be a good place to ask, since I know most of you: is there someone else out there whoís ever thought of doing something similar?

    And to at least make this slightly relevant to this forum: Iíll soon have my repainted Helius back from Germany, on which I of course will do all the centre's activities .

    Cheers,
    Daan

  2. #2
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    Judging by the scarcity of properly run operations and my limited dealings with the Woodlands Trust I think you'd best prepare yourself for a fair bit of red tape!! Chris Ball runs skills courses on other peoples land so maybe you should ask him via the descent-world website.

  3. #3
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    Hi Boozzz,

    Interesting one... I have worked at plenty of activity centres in the past and worked as a guide. It is therefore something I have given lots of thought about but never really put anything into action.

    I know a few people who guide/coach/instruct and seem to make a living out of it so there is a market for it. I would look to progress along the OTC style route (as you might have already) to help with insurance issues and if you work at it you can always get work running courses for them.

    If you are looking to have an 'actual' base I suggest talking to the Forestry Commission (unless you have a big garden). They are easier to work with than many people would have you believe provided you work with them not against them and you spend time in the planning and development phases. I have always thought that a commercial bike park approach to it would be benificial - if people dont want instruction they can come and pay to ride anyway. There are several pay to ride places out there but I think mountain board centres are a good model - the ones I know manage to balance beginner groups under instruction alongside more advanced riders just there to ride. Redhill in Gloucestershire and Out to Grass near Malvern are worth a look.

    As far as red tape goes I think it is worth sticking it out. If you just want to guide on existing trails it really will not be too bad provided you have a qualification. Mountain board centres manage to get insurance for bikes so there are companies out there prepared to help.

    Would love to see it happen - keep us updated on your progress if you go through with it. Got lots of thoughts on it all and happy to share. If you were to have a base where would it be?

  4. #4
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    Reputation: lornibear's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting Boozzz, where are you thinking?

  5. #5
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    Thanks a lot for the responses! My initial thought was to do just tours/courses in the first year on public trails, without a visiting centre or area of my own (but with qualification of course). But with support from the Forestry Commision a bike park type of centre might be something viable as well. Good thinking! Will check out those mountain board centres as well, thanks Tim (I'll be in touch).

    For the location: I was thinking of either somewhere in the Peak District or perhaps Wales. The first has the advantage of no marked trails, meaning there's probably more to guide. On the other hand it's less known by mountainbikers (I'll be there to change that of course). Wales probably has the advantage of more mountainbikers being around, but maybe the disadvantage of being a more saturated market, and having less guiding opportunities because of the amount of trail centres and waymarked trails. So Derbyshire/Staffordshire is more likely.

  6. #6
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    Peak District in 'less known by mountain bikers' shock? It's one of the UK's major riding centres!
    Simon Still
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    www.nicolai-uk.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai-uk
    Peak District in 'less known by mountain bikers' shock?
    As far as waymarked trails are concerned, and certainly internationally, yes.
    Last edited by Boozzz; 10-28-2008 at 04:17 PM.

  8. #8
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    Sounds a good plan, hope it works out........ Be great to get paid to ride so to speak......
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  9. #9
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    Tim, did you get my PM?

  10. #10
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    Sounds excellent the more places to ride the better.

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