We distinguish 3 levels:
- Beginner (level 1);
- Intermediate (level 2);
- Advanced (level 3).
The graduation mixes technical level and physical level, meaning that, the higher the technical level, the longer usually also the distances and the total amount of uphill climb.
A beginner, logically, started mountain biking recently, but at least six months ago. (S)he has had some first riding experience, is moderately sportive and typically rides once per week. (S)he may do other sports, but not necessarily, and has the will to learn and to progress. Normal distance per ride is 30-40 km, and around 500 m of climb (cumulated sum of uphill meters). (S)he knows what a "singletrail" is (i.e. small, narrow hiking path - see pictures below), is not afraid to ride on it but only if it is not in too steep terrain. NB: my beginner's tours may feature some singletrails, but without putting participants into danger. If in slightly steep terrain, then without additional risk (sharp bends, roots, rocks, deep falls, …). As a matter of fact, beginners shall expect mostly large forest roads. If singletrails are included, then they shall be of type S0 on the official singletrail skala.
Intermediate bikers have been practicing for some years, let's say three at least. Ideally, they have taken part in one of my "beginner's" tours (see above), if they feel uneasy about their true level. They ride at least two times per week during the gentle seasons, and can do this for at least 50 km and 1000 m uphill. Often, they practice other sports, typically endurance-like, as road cycling, running, cross-country skiing, or action-like (downhill ski, snowboarding, …). They are mayby not the most versatile, technically speaking, but they know perfectly when to step off the bike. They are able to approach an obstacle and stand 1-2 seconds on their bike to judge its degree of difficulty. They can also without any problem get off their bike to the rear (see picture). They must be able to master S1 trails from the singletrail skala, and even maybe some S2 trails. Again, the key is their ability to be under control of their bike in any situation and to avoid excessive risk taking.
Tours for intermediate bikers (minimum requirement): Border to Border, Singletrail Orgy, Rocking the Red Earth, Battle of the Bulge (level 2), Stausee Trail Camp, Müllerthal Trailcamp and On ancient ground.
Advanced bikers are biking for more than three years. Often they are judged by others, non-bikers, to be slightly crazy (!), with respect to their amount of biking/cycling. In many cases, they practice some road cycling in order to increase their fitness on the mountain bike. Hence, they are able to do tours of 4-6 hours, climbing 1500-2000 m during a day. Normally, they have done at least one "Transalp", most likely also with their luggage in the backpack, that means, without an assisting vehicle. Their technical level lies somewhere inbetween S1 and S2, some S2 parts might however be beyond their reach. As for the intermediate biker, they control their bike and their speed in any situation. Sharp bends (switchback bends - see picture) do generally not have any secret for them, except the most narrow ones.
Tours for advanced bikers (minimum requirement): Battle of the Bulge (level 3)
In any case, whatever respective levels are, there might be some interest to take part in professional training courses...
- very close to Luxembourg: trailtouren.de by Oliscout;
…or to watch online tutorials that are really well done: http://www.fahrtechnik.tv/videos/
Do not hesitate to contact me for further questions (why not join me for a ride): email@example.com.
If you have still doubts, I can help you evaluate your level if you answer the following questions:
- How long have you been mountainbiking?
- What is your weekly biking frequency?
- What is the range of distances you usually ride (i.e. 20-40 km)?
- What would be the average climb during a ride (i.e. 300-500 m uphill in total...)?
- Are you doing some road cycling on a regular basis? If yes, please indicate distance & climb?
- Are you doing other endurance-based sports on a regular basis, for ex. running, cross-country skiing, etc...
- Have you been biking several days in a row (e.g. during a biking holiday)?
- Have you been biking in a mountainous area (Alps, Black Forest, etc...)?
E-bikes are very welcome on my tours but only on the beginner's and intermediate levels.