What is Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO)?

MTBO (mountain bike orienteering) is a form of mountain bike competition where twenty or so checkpoints, known as “Controls” are placed alongside bridleways, forestry trails and purpose made mountain bike trails, each with an associated score.

Participants are provided with an A4 sized, laminated Ordnance Survey map, which is either pre-marked with the Controls, or a blank map onto which they copy the points before the start.

Various categories of event are available:

  • 3 Hour ride time for solo male or female riders and teams of 2-5 male, female or mixed riders
  • 2 Hour ride time for any solo or team of riders including families
  • A Junior trail is also available, suitable for ages 5-9, as a simple introduction to the sport.

The aim of the competition is to visit as many Controls as possible in order to accumulate as many points as possible (different scores are associated with each Control), in the allotted time.

An orienteering scorecard is provided on which to mark evidence of your visit with a unique punch attached to each Control.

Lateness of return incurs a 10-point penalty for every minute overdue. Route planning, navigational skills and an element of tactics become as important, if not more important than speed and fitness.

Controls are placed at a variety of positions, which may include popular vantage points, our aim being to introduce you to and encourage your use of the some of the less well known or not so well marked paths. Or, of course you might just like to use the event to explore the area and enjoy the scenery.

If you would like to find out more there is even a national governing body - The British Mountain Bike Organisation.

On the day, remember to bring the following:

  • bike (!)
  • helmet (compulsory)
  • mobile phone (1 per team for emergency contact)
  • permanent marker pen to mark check points onto map
  • map holder (or string to tie map around neck)
  • compass (optional)