The Family-Friendly Best Practice Model

About Our Family-Friendly Model

Soggy chips, cold coffee and overflowing loos are probably not your idea of a great day out and they’re certainly not our idea of fun either.

That’s why the SMBC is dedicated to raising the standard of mountain biking events and facilities in Scotland. We believe that visitors to our events and facilities should be treated to good quality food and drink, and plenty of properly working toilets.

The SMBC goes the extra mile, well several extra miles actually, to ensure that everything we do really is family-friendly. When it comes to providing a great day out for all the family, we’re raising the bar and aiming high. That’s why we have produced a Members’ Code of Practice to clearly state the high standards we expect to achieve at all of our events and facilities.

SMBC Family-Friendly Code of Practice

You are encouraged to subscribe to the Visit Scotland ‘Cyclists Welcome’ scheme. Additional family-friendly facilities have:

ESSENTIAL
• Jargon free communication
• Safe, wide parking within close proximity to accommodation
• Clean, large toilet/changing facilities
• Safe storage of bikes and belongings, bike rack, washing area and drying room
• Access to a range of kid’s bikes for all ages and sizes
• Appropriately graded runs
• Friendly staff to encourage learning and progression
• Short-time (from ½ hour) incremental rentals

OPTIONAL
• Things to do and find out on your journey
• Food and drink provided at events should be of a high standard, and be healthy and wholesome
• Peripheral activities provided for families (e.g. craft tent/nature walks/face-painting)
• Access to purchase of accessories and spares
• Trail and/or track in view of any café and seating area
• Well signed trail (kid friendly height) and trail maps
• Interpretation boards to enhance the trail experience (e.g. nature and landscape features)
• Instruction programmes available and aimed at kids
• Short routes with numerous stop-off points

ESSENTIAL
• Has family mountain bike guiding and coaching at the core of their business activity
• Holds full, correct and up-to-date qualification tickets, first aid and insurance
• Abides by national governing body (NGB) rules and guidelines relating to ratios and route choices
• Good relationship with other members, guides and coaches, and willing to work together or exchange business where possible
• Willing to offer discounted prices and special rates to SMBC members
ESSENTIAL
• Child/family friendly activities e.g. junior races/balance bike races should be part of all SMBC affiliated events
• Full risk assessment for each event
• Adequate insurance cover
• Adequate marshal and first aid provision
• Public address system
• Programme schedule visible and well communicated
• Provision of undercover seating area/marquee with tables and chairs for spectators wherever possible
• Adequate provision of working toilets (including baby/toddler provision) with plenty of toilet paper/paper towels. All toilets provided must be inspected and cleaned regularly
• Great food (with healthy kid’s options) by local provider serving great coffee
• Peripheral activities provided for families where possible (e.g. craft tent/nature walks/face-painting)
• Adequate parking
OPTIONAL
• Timing equipment
• Published timings and results displayed at the event
• Master of ceremonies (MC)
• Spectator provision e.g. transportation, viewpoints etc
• Goodie bags/prizes
• Demo bikes/hire, Airbag
• Skills loop/track
• Coaching
• Video/photos of event
• Race themes e.g. fancy dress
• Social media pre and post event
• Branded merchandising

Case Study

Case Study – Progression Bikes

“If you have young kids, we’ll help . If you have a mixed age range, we can cater for that. Granny wants to come too? No problem. Pouring with rain or only got an hour? Step right this way”

Progression Bikes knew how tricky it was arranging activities for the whole family. After discussing the problems and benefits with families directly, a whole new page online was set up to answer the common questions and help families organise their own cycling experience. The details of these are outlined below…

“Whats new?”

A great new range of balance bikes to hire. Perfect for those aged 20 months – 3 years.
Short hire times, from just 30 minutes.
Tag alongs and trailers available, for young kids or just those extra jackets and sandwiches!
“So what happens on the day?”

If you are hiring a bike from us we will provide you with:

A bike (crucial
A helmet (recommended)
A pair of gloves
A rucksack
A map with a choice of rides, route descriptions and extra information
Some spares, and if you want, the knowledge on how to fix a puncture!
We have an easy to fill in form so we know where your going and how to get in contact with you.
You leave some ID as a deposit which gets stored safely and returned to you when you get back.
We have toilets, drinking water and refreshments for that pre/post ride comfort break.
You have a fantastic cycling experience and come back again and again!
“My kids really want to ride and I just want a coffee!”

We are based in a fantastic location in Dunkeld, situated right next to a park and the riverside path. This traffic free venue has benches nearby, a play park and a lovely view of the river. We recommend getting some sandwiches from the Atholl, the Scottish Deli or some fish and chips from Dunkeld Fish Bar and sitting by the river whilst the kids play, explore or ride, all within eyesight and earshot! Hire some bikes for an hour and let them burn off some energy, or join them on a ride along the river.

If your kids are still learning to ride a bike, or would like some extra help, we can provide some tuition in a safe environment, allowing you to go for a shop, visit the cathedral or just have a quiet coffee round the corner.

However if you are happy with them heading off by themselves, there are a few great rides that are traffic free, and well signposted, both from our shop, and from various car parks around Dunkeld. We can provide the relevant maps and emergency phone numbers so you don’t have to worry. On summer days we run drop offs at various points so mums and dads can relax in a beer garden whilst the kids cycle back down to Dunkeld, full of tales and experiences, grinning from ear to ear. If you prefer the peace and tranquillity, we can drop them off further away!

“We all want to ride, but some of us want to learn too!”

We can provide a guide to accompany you on your ride, show you all the best bits of riding, sights and scenery. This takes the pressure off any navigating, and we are there in case you get a puncture or mechanical issue.

If you want to develop your skills we have coaches for all abilities and levels. A coached ride is a great way to see the countryside but to tackle elements that you may normally ride round or push over. By stopping and practising on these sections, you develop your riding skill and confidence. It is also suitable for the whole family with a variety of  ‘line choices’ on many of the routes. So if granny wants to stick to the main path, we can lead or direct the boys over the rooty sections, providing tips or coaching advice as we go. This can also be run as a half day or full day trip, ideal if you are up for the weekend, the week or are organising a birthday party or other activity.

“Is it all hills and adrenaline thrills?”

Far from it. Our most popular route is along by the river. It is flat and the path is wide, perfect for trailers and buggies. There are plenty of things to look at from the fishermen at Dunkeld House to some very old, very tall spruce trees and sequoias. Distance wise you can turn back at any point but the route runs for just over a mile along the river, so about two and a half miles there and back. There are plenty of benches, alcoves and even some beaches to rest at along the way.

We have longer routes of course and all the details can be found on our trails and routes page or by clickinghere. There is great signage on all the waymarked routes and if your up for the challenge we can give you some more remote rides to try too.

“We had a great time, what else can we do?”

Try loading the car up with the bikes and heading to some other excellent facilities in the area such as Comrie Croft and Mains Farm. Or borrow an Ordinance Survey Map and find your own fun!

There are plenty of other things to do in Dunkeld for the family. Try Going Potty down in the sqaure, for pottery painting and arts and crafts. If you have older kids there are lots of activities at Dunkeld Park including archery and quad biking. Or if you didn’t get there on the bikes, try The Hermitage, a stunning waterfall heritage site just down the road.

If you need a refuel there are several great pubs or eateries which are all family and dog friendly. Try the Atholl Arms, the Royal or the Taybank for pub/bar/restaurnt food or the Dunkeld Fish Bar for some excellent fish and chips and other culinary delights. Child portions are available at all the above, and they are more than happy to cater for any special requirements from gluten free batter at Dunkeld Fish Bar to high chairs and hot chocolate that is not too hot, not too cold, at the Atholl Arms.