Tag Archives: Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Association (PMBI)

Mountain biking instructor certifications: IMBA ICP Level 2 vs PMBI Level 1

This spring I’ve gotten certified as both an IMBA ICP Level 2 and PMBI Level 1 mountain bike instructor (blog posts with photos here and here).  The competing certifications are similar in that they’re designed to equip one with the ability to instruct beginner and intermediate-level riders in basic skills. (IMBA’s ICP Level 1 is a Ride Guide course; PMBI’s Ride Guide course doesn’t use a Level number.)

PMBI Level 1 IMBA ICP Level 2

I wasn’t planning to take either one this spring as IMBA wasn’t offering a Level 2 course locally and PMBI’s Level 1 course at Spirit Mountain in Duluth sold out quickly.   But I got lucky.

Jeff Milbauer, owner of nearby Valley Bike & Ski,  had contracted privately with IMBA to offer the course to some of his staff/instructors. When one had to drop out, he contacted me and I took the spot.  And then PMBI added a second course/instructor to their Spirit Mountain Level 1 weekend and I snapped up one of those openings.

My rationale for taking PMBI Level 1 having just completed IMBA ICP Level 2 two weeks prior?

  • Proximity: Duluth is only 3 hours away and I wasn’t confident that PMBI would offer the course nearby again anytime soon
  • Terrain: the IMBA Level 2 course was held at nearby Buck Hill in Burnsville, MN and neither its new mountain biking runs nor its new skills park was open yet. Spirit Mountain is a mountain bike mecca with lift access
  • Weather: it poured nearly the entire weekend for the IMBA course. I was hoping I’d get lucky for the PMBI course in Duluth
  • Collegiality: I wanted to be able to team up with fellow instructors. With everyone passing, there were 8 IMBA Level 2 instructors in the state of Minnesota.  The two courses at Spirit Mountain would mean there could be up to 14 additional PMBI instructors in the region
  • Curiosity: I’m a blogger and I was naturally curious to know first-hand what the differences were between the two competing certifications
  • Future professional development: I figured that having a foundation with both certifications would give me better options for pursuing their more advanced certification levels
  • Marketing advantage: I’d likely be the only mtb instructor in the Upper Midwest region with both certifications.

Continue reading Mountain biking instructor certifications: IMBA ICP Level 2 vs PMBI Level 1

Adding some instruction to a weekly youth group mtb ride

I’m co-leading CROCT’s Monday night youth group ride again this summer.  And now that I’ve got my MTB instructor certifications (IMBA ICP Level 2 and PMBI Level 1), I’m planning to add a little group instruction each week at the start of the ride.

At our first session, we did a quick braking assessment and I was surprised to see how much trouble the kids (approximate ages 6-13) had trying to come to a stop between a set of cones on a gentle slope.

For an assessment of their ability to select a gear for climbing, we had them pick their own ‘Goldilocks’ route up a grassy slope — not too easy, not too hard.  Unsurprisingly, many of the kids were clueless about how to shift to an easier gear to get up the slope.

So in the coming weeks, we’ll add some instruction, drills and games that incorporate braking and gear choice.  Some photos from week 1:

I’m now a PMBI Level 1 MTB instructor

I took another MTB instructor certification course over the weekend, the Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Association (PMBI) Level 1 course. It was held at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, MN.

PMBI

Photos of our two groups (10 women, 4 men – we all passed) and the excellent instructors, Luc and Ross: