UK MTB trails use colour codes to tell you what to expect. The colours are based on those used for cross-country skiing routes. The table below shows you what the colours mean for UK mountain-bikers.
|SUITABLE FOR||Novice cyclists and families.
Children 4+yrs riding solo.Bikes with childseats or trailers.
Bikes for those with disabilities.
|Occasional cyclists with some experience of road use or easy trails.
Reasonably fit families.
Children 10+ yrs riding solo.Suitable for mountain bikes, hybrids or robust touring bikes.
|Regular cyclists with experience of moderate trails.Suitable for offroad quality mountain bikes.||Expert mountain bikers who will expect and relish technical challenges.Suitable for offroad quality mountain bikes.|
|TRAIL TYPES||Railtrails, towpaths, reservoir trails, estate or forestry tracks.
Traffic quietened roads, and those regulated by bylaws or other restrictions.
|As “Green” plus bridleways, byways and unsurfaced unclassified roads.
Lightly trafficked lanes.
|Any usable trail with pushing or portage unlikely to exceed 2% of total distance.||Any, but with the expectation of technical riding which could include unforgiving terrain, severe climbs and descents, or considerable distances. Unlikely to be appropriate on PRoW.|
|GRADIENT||Shallow climbs and descents capable of being ridden by children and less active adults.||Shallow / moderate climbs +/- short sections of steeper climbs which may have to be walked.||A wide range of climbs and descents of a challenging nature.||Any ridable or usable gradient. May include “drop offs”.|
|SURFACE / WIDTH||Blacktop or compacted limestone or gravel. Essentially smooth with a minimum content of loose surfaces. Normal width 2 to 3m.||Mostly stoned surfaces.
< 10% earth based single track of width <2m.
|Widths from 1m, and any usable surface. Likely to include singletrack and other technical sections.||Mostly offroad. Expected to include a significant proportion of singletrack, with challenging surfaces.|
|ACCEPTABLE HAZARDS||These trails should carry a very low risk…
Any unavoidable hazards should be identified in promotional literature and through notices at trail headand site of hazard.
|Some loose surfaces, ruts, potholes and / or tree roots may be expected.||The route should be judged on the basis that a reasonably experienced rider riding within his/her level of skill and prevailing ground conditions, would not be expected to fall.||Hazards are expected, as assessed and agreed by an expert user.
Falling off will be expected!
|TARGET LENGTH||5 – 20 km||10 – 20km||10 – 50km||<1 to 100km including “skills” courses|
|These standards are not intended to be prescriptive, but should be use to provide broad guidance.|
|Full risk assessments should be made on all trails, following CTC guidelines.|
|All trails should, where possible, have shortcut options,and these, plus the main trail should be comprehensively and clearly waymarked.|
|Back up literature should clearly indicate the route, grade, distance, climb, and likely riding time, and this information should be reinforced by trailhead notices.|
|Where designated routes embrace a combination of grades, these should be expressed as percentages, e.g. 10% Green, 60% Blue, 30% Red.|
|Information should be provided to give the combination of trail grades likely to be encountered on permanent Trailquest courses.|