Flight Lieutenants James Roberts and Jack Stepanian from South and East Midlands Wing have recently become the first members of the Wing to complete their Trail Cycle Leader Award.
The TCL Award allows Flt Lt Roberts and Flt Lt Stepanian to take groups mountain biking and gives them all the skills they need to train people new to mountain biking as well as those with some previous experience. The award is the culmination of over a year’s work consisting of over 20 logged mountain bike rides, a 2 day training course in Snowdonia , a further 10 rides to consolidate the training, and finally a 1 day assessment held on Exmoor.
The TCL syllabus covers subjects such as bike maintenance and checks, leadership, risk management, group management, bike skills, teaching skills, bike navigation and emergency training. Flt Lt Roberts of 378 (Mannock) Squadron commented “I really learned a lot on the course and took my own skills up to the next level, I would definitely recommend TCL to anyone wanting to do the same!”. The course itself was run by the Army Cadet Force Cadet Centre for Adventurous Training at Capel Curig Camp, Snowdonia, but a number of other companies offer the course around the UK.
For the assessment Flt Lt Roberts and Stepanian travelled down to Exmoor for the whole day assessment. The assessment involved firstly having their bikes “broken” by the assessor before having to fix them and then take turns to lead a group a 30 km bike ride across Exmoor, navigating and training the group at the same time.
Both Flt Lts got the chance to put their new qualification to the test only 2 days after passing the award when they took the 20 cadets attending South and East Midlands Wing’s Adventure Training Camp mountain biking at Coed-y-Brenin in Snowdonia. Throughout the day 4 groups of cadets and staff were trained in mountain bike skills and then put them into practice on the Cyflym Coch and MinorTaur trails. When asked about how these first sessions were Flt Lt Stepanian of 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron stated that “the training and assessment had prepared me well and we both felt confident and in control throughout the day”.
Flt Lt Stepanian and Roberts will now spend time training their squadrons and assisting on Wing Adventure Training Camps before considering taking their qualification to the next level.
For more information on mountain biking training visit www.britishcycling.org.uk
Flt Lt Jack Stepanian
OC 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron