Mountain Bike Orienteering

Mountain bike orienteering is an endurance sport attracting both orienteering and mountain bike enthusiasts. The most important orienteering skills needed are route choice and map memory. Extremely good bike handling and ability to cope with steep slopes both up and down is an absolute must for a top level athlete. As an environmental safeguard, competitors may not normally leave paths and tracks though it can exceptionally be permitted in some countries.

There are two codes of Mountain Bike Orienteering, known as MBO Score and MTBO. Both can provide a great deal of excitement and bike riding enjoyment.

Mountain Bike Orienteering Score (MBO Score) is where an Ordnance Survey Map, usually 1:50,000 but sometimes larger scale is used. A number of controls with various point values are distributed across the map area & competitors aim to visit as many as possible within the allocated time. Each rider accumulates a total score dependant on how many and which particular controls are visited. There is no set order for visiting the controls & riders have to decide the most efficient way in which to use their time and energy. The rider with the highest points total after any time penalty deductions is the winner.

MBO Score enables solo riders and pairs of any age and sex to compete. There is also a Generation category in which the younger (12+) members of the family can be introduced to the sport whilst riding with an adult.

The Score events cater well for anyone who enjoys riding a bike, has basic map reading skills and wants to improve their fitness in a social environment. As route choice, level of difficulty and duration of riding are all decisions for the rider, these events really can give anyone a buzz, whatever their ability level. The top riders usually have good map reading skills at speed, good strategic planning skills for overall route choice and high fitness levels.

MTBO  (Multi-Terrain Bike Orienteering) events use orienteering maps that have been specially modified to show rideability, and are usually held within forests containing a good network of tracks and paths, providing a variety of route choices. The aim of these events is to ride between the controls in a particular sequence within the shortest amount of time.

The skill set is similar to that required for MBO score events. The top riders tend to have extremely fast map reading and map memory abilities to enable them to ride and plan ahead quickly. Navigating between control points means matching map to ground features at high speed and correctly interpreting the maze of paths and tracks. The MTBO events tend to be much shorter in duration compared to MBO Score events.Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO) uses traditional orienteering maps and are usually held within forests containing a good network of tracks and paths, providing a variety of route choices. The sport is enjoyed by enthusiasts from both an orienteering and cycling background. The most important orienteering skills needed are route choice and map memory. Extremely good bike handling and the ability to cope with steep slopes and hills is an absolute must for a top level athlete.

Please contact the Chair of British Mountain Bike Orienteering if you have any questions about the sport or events and can’t find the answer on the BMBO website.

For further information visit the British Mountain Bike Orienteering website