01690 720214

Mountain Bike Improver

Course Overview

Want to get more out of your mountain biking? Let us improve your riding skills and build your confidence. Find out all about the attack position, better braking, slick gear changing, cornering, weight shift for up hills and down hills, line choice and front and rear wheel lifts. This fun weekend will take you along a mixture of the natural and man made tracks that surround Plas y Brenin, giving you a varied experience that will help you to develop all round skills.
An ideal choice for anyone who is reasonably fit but lacks confidence riding on rocky, steep or unpredictable ground.

Experience Required

You should have your own bike (or hire) and kit. You will be competent on blue runs with experienced of red and be capable of riding for 4-5 hours on rugged terrain. (See Trail Grade guide in course details for descriptions of blue/red runs)

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

If you've been riding for a while now and love it  but find that you need to walk sections and struggle on the single track and would like to ride faster and in more style this is for you.

Course Content

We will start the course looking at how you currently ride, our coaches will help you to understand good fundamental technique. We will cover a range of skills that you need to improve your riding such as,

  • Attack position

  • Efficient and controlled braking

  • Drop off's

  • Wheel lifts

  • Bunny hops

  • Technical climbing

  • Technical descending

We'll also spend some time looking at the most common areas of maintenance including,

  • Setting up gears

  • Problems with steering

Trail Grades Guide

Green (Easy)

Trail & surface types: Relatively flat and wide. The trail surface may be loose, uneven or muddy at times. May include short flowing singletrack style sections.
Gradient & technical trail features (TTF's): Climbs and descents are mostly shallow. No challenging features.

Blue (Moderate)

Trail & surface types: As 'Green' plus specially constructed single track. Trail surface may include small obstacles of roots and rocks.
Gradient & technical trail features (TTF's): Most gradients are moderate but may include short steep sections. Includes small TTF's.

Red (Difficult)

Trail & surface type: Steeper and tougher, mostly singletrack with technical sections. Expect very variable surface types.
Gradient & technical trail features (TTF's): A wide range of climbs and descents of a challenging nature will be present. Expect boardwalks, berms, large rocks, medium steps, drop-offs, cambers, water crossings.

Black (Severe)

Trail & surface type: As 'Red' but with an expectation of greater challenge and continuous difficulty. Can include any useable trail and may include exposed open hill sections.
Gradient & technical trail features (TTF's): Expect large, committing and unavoidable TTF's. Sections will be challenging and variable. May also have 'downhill' style sections.

Useful Books

  • Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack
  • Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance - Lennard Zinn
  • Fundamentals - The Mountain Bike Technique Video - DVD by Dirt magazine

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Secure bike storage
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Bike (in good working order)

  • Helmet

  • Gloves

  • Protective glasses

  • Suitable clothing for a days ride (trousers/shorts, thermal/base layers, fleece, windproof top)

  • Footwear for biking (trainers or biking shoes)

  • Small backpack with spare clothes

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Basic tool kit including spare inner tube, pump

  • Personal first aid kit

  • Water bottle/hydration system

  • Lunch box/bag

  • Warm hat, neck gaiter/buff

These items are recommended for our advanced courses

  • Elbow and knee pads (we have a selection you can try)

  • Body armour

We recommend that you bring your own mountain bike (in good condition and full working order), if you don't have a bike you can arrange bike hire from one of the local bike shops, during the course we will make time to give advice to anyone looking to buy a bike and equipment.

If you hire a bike locally please let us know and arrange for the hire shop to drop off the bike either the evening before or by 9am on the first day of your course.

We would recommend Beics Betws - 01690 710766 if you need to hire a bike.

If renting a bike click here for a rough sizing guide

Customer Reviews For This Course

Very good course

Andy Stapleton

Course was very good. Instructors were very good, knowledgeable, very capable riders and good at getting the key points across and giving individual feedback and tuition where needed. The course facilities were very good. The track was very good for practice and confidence building. The ability to be taken by van to various routes was also very good. I liked the flexibility in what was taught according to the groups need. I would rather have done more riding on the trails. We did seem to be taking it a bit easy at times. But others in the group were quite happy with the pace. So I accept there was a bit of a compromise. The centre accommodation was generally good. Bar was very good. Bedroom was ok, mattress was a bit worn and lumpy although I did sleep ok. Tired from the cycling probably...

Great Course

Dan Monument

A great course for people of all abilities. Course is well organised, with a good ratio of pupils to instructors. Peters instruction is second to none, with a relax no pressure atmosphere that subconsciously encourages and makes you want to push your skills. This is my third time back, the downhill course will be next.

Great weekends ride

Neil Oakley

With a varying ability group the Instructor made the 2 days worth while. I have definitely came away from the course wanting to return back to the mountains and terrain of Wales and with the skills and confidence to challengs my self.

Didn't live up to expectations

Andrew Garside

Unfortunately this didn't live up to expectations at all for a number of reasons.
First I have to say the instructors and other staff were very friendly.
There was also just over an hours useful instruction on a pump track on Saturday Morning.
The first issue with the course was it was far too mixed - ranging from a person who had never ridden a mountain bike before to very experienced technical riders. There was no pre-course questionnaire to assess skills levels.

Saturday afternoon to be honest consisted of a lot of waiting and only 6 miles riding in the whole afternoon. Not a lot of instruction or feedback. Nothing very challenging either.

To try and sort this out they added a third instructor on Sunday. Unfortunately the Sunday ride was a massive letdown.

1) 1 mile/ 15 minutes climbing on a tarmac road
2) Just 7 miles off road - with quite a few stops over 2 hours.
3) 10 miles of flat tarmac back on the Sustrans route from Conwy to Dwygyfylchi - taking about 2 hours with stops

To spend over half the time on Tarmac on a mountain bike improver course is very poor. I think I would describe most people who attended in my group (mid of the three) as both frustrated and bored.
To give people an idea of my skill level I've been back mountain biking for about 3 years - and am reasonably comfy on blue and red runs.
I specifically made the 9 hour drive to get experience in more mountainous areas.

Another great course, what next?

John Spooner

The real value of this course has been proved on returning to my usual track at Cannock. The trail took less time, was more relaxing and generally easier. I was carrying more speed through corners and feeling much more confident in all areas. I could equate taking this course to switching from hardtail to full suspension although much cheaper. I still have a lot to work on both in terms of fitness and technique but now understand far more and know where I can improve.
The course was well run, Pete was enthusiastic despite the quiet students. He took time at the start to understand the level of the students and what we wanted to achieve. Amazingly despite forecast rain he managed to get us inside during the only shower of the weekend.
In our case there were only three students on the course and we focussed on skills for both days. This was a relief for me because I would have struggled on a long trail. Pete found us three different sites with various obstacles to provide us a range of techniques and even ran a quick gym session to show us how to improve when not on the bike.
At the end of two days I was tired, aching and had a very full brain. Ricky Gervais and Big Serge have helped me to remember some of the techniques and I now need to practise as much as possible.
Thanks to Pete and also to the staff who made the residential course so pleasant. Good meals, packed lunches and drying rooms are all much appreciated.

Good course Good people Good accomodation


I've wanted to do a skills imporver course for years, having raced over smooth courses for several seasons. Snowdonia was the obvious choice for location with a variety of terrain to ride on.
Booking in was great, I didn't arriive until 11pm. The room was very nice (no tv) and the whole centre is well equipped. Morning one is a bit like being on the set of Fame but for outdoor types. Everyone from all courses meet up for an introduction and then get taken off by their respective course leaders.
Day one of skills was based on site on PYB's own pump track. The track was ideal for the training and even had some nasty drops on it that in hindsight could have been exploited more on the course. You are asked what areas you would like to focus upon and that's what you do. A lot was learnt on day one and I felt more confident at fast cornering on loose ground and keping good speed on woops.
Day two put the skills into practice out on a day ride being dropped off by mini bus. Weather was light constant rain but made no difference to the ride, which was over water filled landrover tracks, single track road and very rocky decents. There were some steep climbs too so glad I didn't take my single speed.
Overall I came away feeling more confident in taking on most MTB race circuits around the country. The only area I felt could have been covered more was putting into practice drop offs, this was covered on day one and we did practice on smaller trail drop offs, however repeated practice on 2' plus drops would have been confidence boosting. This can ofcourse be done at home with the skills learnt.


Sian Davies

I'd advise anyone who wants to improve their mountain biking skills or just spend a few days playing around in beautiful Snowdonia to attend this course.

There were only four participants so plenty of individual care and opportunity to ask questions. John, the instructor, really knew his stuff and looked after us all really well over the two days.

The improvised bike repair kit session was especially interesting and helpful.

Keep these course going PYB - they're brilliant.


Classic trails, great guides

Paul Chrisp

The classic guided trails is a great course for people who, like me, have been mountain biking and can get round easy/intermediate level trails but who want to improve riding techniques and skills. It helps if you're used to being in the saddle for several hours and you need to be fit enough for big days.
A great combination of introduction to man made and natural trails, with top tips along the way. Recommended.

Classic Trails with Pete and Glen

Michael Cassidy

If I was ever going to be in for a shock, it was going to be at the PYB classic trails weekend recently...

Never in my widest thoughts would I have imagined myself climbing on a mountain bike, turning a corner onto a narrow track, pedaling as hard as I could downwards towards boulders, rocks , dirty wet puddles, drops, bumps and come out the otherside unscathed...

I work in a highly stressful sales role and when friends booked me on this course with them I had no idea of what to expect. I had doubts of my interest in this type of activity and if I would participate in the end.

Having completed the weekend with no major incidents I can safely say that I now have a new found respect for the world of mountaining biking, the thrils & spills; the pure adrenalin rush of racing down a mountain with a confident level of skills taught by world class instructors and arriving sweaty and baked but in 1 piece at the end.

To put it simply, for the money paid, accomodation, all food, instruction, this is the best value, challenging yet rewarding weekend I have been on in a very, very long time. It also deletes the stress of the week in one single trail run. All of the above includes beautiful scenery too. Enjoy your ride! Cheers to Pete and Glen for getting the group up to speed on skills within 2 hours and for guiding us on both days :) See you same time next year!

Best Regards,
Michael, Ed, Clo, Myles, Simon, Paul -

PS: Were you tired after Pete???

Great Weekend

Ed O` Flaherty

Have done quite a bit of road biking and skiing but no proper mountain biking before. The other sports helped alot as you need to be ok with steep descents and fit enough to get up there!

Had a great group of people and brilliant and helpful instructors. The routes were really interesting and varied and we got to see alot of the area from the bike.

Enjoyed the steep single trails the most. It`s amazing what these bikes can go down. Alot of the areas you wouldn`t even walk down...
Would definitely recomment being fit to get the most out of it. There are no ski lifts!!!

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

Got A Date Available - Need An Adventure To Match?

Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

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