Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Cannock Chase?
Cannock Chase is in the West Midlands and triangulated by Cannock, Stafford and Rugeley and is quite clearly seen on the following Google Map. It is easily accessible from Junctions 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the M6 and also sits right at the top of the M6 Toll. Rail travellers have the option of Rugeley Trent Valley, Rugeley Town, Cannock and Hednesford Stations. Local station pickup is available (subject to availability).
Cannock Chase is served by 4 local stations, Rugeley Trent Valley, Rugeley Town, Cannock and Hednesford. We can offer a free pickup from these stations (subject to availability). Feeling fit? Both Rugeley stations are only a short bike ride away from the Chase.
Why do you only allow a maximum of 6 riders per Skills Course?
We keep the group size to a maximum of 6 riders to keep the course "personal" and maintain the full focus of the participants. This ensures that each participant has ample time to complete each section of the course. Larger groups with extra instructors does not resolve this issue and decreases the available time to each participant. We like to keep everyone focused on the content and small groups ensure this. Our Jumps 'n' Drops sessions are more relaxed, therefore we can accommodate up to 8 riders.
I have booked a course, when will I get the details such as meeting place and time?
We send out the final instructions 5 days before the date of the course. This enables us to get a more accurate weather prediction. Should you have any questions about the course you have booked, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Can my course be cancelled due to bad weather or low bookings?
We try to run the courses in any weather, however, sometimes the courses can be cancelled due to severe weather. Due to safety reasons, we don't run any courses in the snow and ice. We constantly check the weather as far in advance as possible to ensure we give as much notice of cancellation as possible, however, sometimes a late call is required to cancel a course. If a course is cancelled due to bad weather, we will try and re-schedule your course for another day, you can also request a full refund.
If courses have bookings, even if it's only one person, then we usually do not cancel the course. However, if a course has no bookings with a one week remaining before the scheduled date, we often cancel these courses to make availability to private bookings.
Are there any age restrictions?
All of our courses are available for over 16s. We do allow children over 9 as long as they are accompanied by an adult (maximum 2 children per adult). We can allow younger children, but require a private booking (you only require 3 people) which can be the perfect family day out!
What if I need to cancel my course?
Please read our Terms and Conditions for details on our cancellation policy.
What am I expected to bring with me?
The following is a list of what you need to bring with you to the course;
Mountain Bike - in a fit for purpose condition
Helmet and gloves are required - Safety first.
Enough Drink for the entire course - A Camelbak (or similar) is highly recommended.
Spare Inner Tube and Pump - Make sure you have the right valve.
Appropriate Clothing for the weather - No Jeans allowed and remember, there may be times that the group is stood around.
Appropriate Footwear - Cycling shoes or Trainers.
Waterproof Jacket - Should rain be forecast, please check the weather.
Dinner Money - The Full Day courses stop at the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre Cafe, where the cake is legendary!
Optional: Packed Lunch - Feel free to bring a packed lunch instead!
Optional: Energy Food - You may want to bring your favourite quick fix.
Optional: Glasses - Not only protects your eyes, but it may even be sunny!
Optional: Body Armour/Protection - If it makes you more confident, then bring it!
I don't normally ride with glasses on, do I have to wear them?
No, however, we strongly recommend that you wear glasses during some of the course.
If my bike is deemed unsafe to start the course, will I get a refund?
If Chase Skills deem that your bike is not in a safe condition to participate, then you will not be offered a refund. However, you will be allowed to attend another session in the future at no extra cost.
Can I attend a course on my Single Speed Bike?
YES! However, please be aware that some of the content of the courses explains gear selection which will obviously not be applicable to Single Speed bikes.
What can I expect from the course/my day?
The courses are not designed to test physical fitness, however, new techniques and skills may involve upper-body movements that you may not be used to.
Some of the techniques might require you to ride outside your comfort zone and this is all part of learning. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you don't over exceed your limits.
It is your reposibility to assess whether you are confident in completing a section. We don't make any rider carry out any part of the course and we may advise if we feel something is above your level of ability. Please remember that this is a course to pick up new techniques and therefore we don't include the Black Graded sections of the Monkey Trail on the course. This is due to not being able to stop and coach on these sections and also feel that a fall on these sections could end up with you leaving with less confidence than you started with which is a waste of your money. The courses are designed for you to fine tune your techniques before trying them out on more demanding terrain in your own time.
Who is in a hurry? Every activity goes at the pace that it goes at, if that means faster people have to slow down, then that's the pace it will be.
Do Chase Skills carry out Risk Assessments?
YES! Every part of the route that is taken on any activity is thoroughly Risk Assessed. Full Risk Assessment documentation is available on request. All routes have emergency exits at various points. All the routes in the courses are carried out on Forest tracks and designated Mountain Bike Trails.
As with any sport, the risk of injury exists. We cannot guarantee that you won't fall. If, during any activity, we feel that something is too high a risk for you to complete, we will strongly discourage you from that particular part. However, you must take responsibility for your own actions and decide if something is too far outside your abililty.
Why do you ask for a deposit on your trips?
We ask for a deposit as early as possible ue to us sourcing the best accommodation we can and needing to book the property and guides early. This means we ask for a deposit as early as possible so you canbe guaranteed a spot on our trip. The deposits can be refunded if enough notice is given.
Snowdon-3 months full refun/2 months %refund/Less than 5 weeks no refund given.
Peaks-3 months full refun/2 months %refund/Less than 5 weeks no refund given.
Glentress-4 months full refun/3 months %refund/Less than 8 weeks no refund given.
Gravity Camp-4 months full refund/3 months %refund/Less than 8 weeks no refund given.
Alps trips-6 months notice full refund/5 months %50 refund/Less than 12 weeks no refund given.
However we understand that sometimes live can get in the way so we are willing to negotiate and offer any of our MTB session in way of compensation, please get in touch to discuss
I have been lucky enough to receive a Chase Skills Gift Voucher, how do I spend it?
Select the course of your choice and click the Redeem Voucher link to start the process. If your voucher is for a 'one to one' or 'one to two' we can only accept weekend bookings.
Is there accommodation nearby?
There are numerous Hotels, B&Bs, Self-Catering and Campsites available not too far away. Willow End B&B is located in a lovely location within Cannock Chase and is only short ride/drive/walk to the Birches Valley Visitor Centre, making it the perfect location for Mountain Bikers. More accomodation information can be found on the Visit Cannock Chase Website.
Does Chase Skills offer a Bike Hire service?
No, we cannot (at this time) offer hire bikes, however, Run and Ride located at our base do provide this service (complete with Helmet). You will need to book in advance! Please inform us if you are planning on bike hire as we will need to make sure that we get you back for the return time!
I've got a really old bike, is that ok?
Yes, providing it's a Mountain Bike in good condition with Off-Road tyres then that's fine. We do recommend that your bike is serviced before attending.
What happens if my bike breaks during an activity?
Most of the time breaks can be repaired during the activity, however, should a bike be irreparable, then depending on the activity we will put an action plan in place to recover you without too much interuption to the acvitity.
Who is liable following an accident?
ChaseSkills and its instructors, guides and coaches can accept no liability for injury and accidents when on course. We strive to ensure any trails tackled will be Dynamically Risk Assessesed on the day accordingly as well as being regulary risk assessed and logged according to weather, surface and rider condition. While we try to cover all aspects of a necessary skill to tackle a trail we cannot and will not accept any liabilty for a rider crashing. The sport of mountain biking is inherently dangerous and by attending a course you accept fully that your skill levels need addressing.
We cannot accept any liabilty for an incident or acccident occuring due to a poorly maintained bike. We expect riders to attend our sessions with a fully working and safe bike-this is part of our joining instruction.
We will always try to ride in a safe manner but sometimes accidents do happen and by riding your bike on one of our courses you fully accept that the risk of minor or serious injury is greatyly increased.
We will do all we can to prepare you for any obstacles or features by working on your techniques beforehand but we as instructors cannot point out every feature on a trail.
By completing a registration form and clicking that you agree to our terms and conditions you accept that you, your bike, your cycling safety equipment and your own ability to judge a trail, trail features and your skill level is in good order.