Level: 2



12-15 miles

Ride Type



1,500 ft

An introduction to mountain biking near Arundel

From £48.00 inc. VAT

(3 customer reviews)

Our guided ride for novice off-road cyclists is coming to the West Sussex area in 2023. Join us for an informative, fun and sociable group ride that starts and finishes from Amberley on the South Downs.

Whether as a custom private experience or as part of a Marmalade open group ride, this introduction to mountain biking combines the best of West Sussex’s countryside with expert support and assistance from an experienced local guide.

If you need to hire a bike, check availability first using the Bike Hire selector below.

Choose between:

Brand new for 2023, we’re bringing our popular introduction to off-road cycling to the Arun valley, Chichester and Worthing areas in the central part of the South Downs National Park. This is perfect for the casual cyclist or budding mountain biker who is looking to start their mountain biking journey on the South Downs. During the 12 mile ride we will share our expertise and knowledge. This will include stops in suitable places to share tips and advice on core bike handling techniques.

Our professional mountain bike leaders will provide a super relaxed and sociable day that will start riverside near the medieval castle towns of Amberley and Arundel. After the relaxed briefing, we will head off and explore the off-road trails of the local country estates, vineyards and ancient woodland. There will be breathtaking panoramic views across the Sussex weald and the English channel.

What to expect

You will need to have a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy this day out. So although this is an intro to mountain biking, it is suited for active people who are looking to try off-road cycling under the expert leadership of a professional guide. The riding is mainly on cross-country double track and open downland. The terrain is not overly technical. but it provides an exciting mixture to inject plenty of fun and a sense of challenge for all levels, especially novice mountain bikers.

If you are still not sure whether this ride is for you, then please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.

The area and the trails

Our ride location and route is set within the ancient downland either side of the beautiful Arun valley in the very heart of the South Downs National Park. The terrain is mainly rolling chalk and flint double-track with climbs and descents to challenge and reward your effort in equal measure.

How to get here

By train – The nearest station is Amberley which provides easy connections from London and across the south east. Our meet location is literally across the road from the station.

By road – The B2139 that links the town of Storrington to the main A29 runs right past Riverside South Downs and the east-to-west A27 trunk-road connecting Chichester, Littlehampton, Worthing and Arundel, provides further easy links to this rural setting.

Riding with Marmalade

We pride ourselves on creating the perfect vibe that makes everyone feel comfortable and confident to maximise your enjoyment during your ride with us. Combine this super fun and relaxed atmosphere with our expert knowledge and professionalism we will guarantee you the best day out on your bike to discover the trails of the South Downs National Park.

  • Duration: We have all day, if we need it, but we expect to take around 3 to 4 hours.
  • Distance: 12-15 miles (19-24km) (approx.)
  • Elevation gain: 1,000-1,200 ft  (300-600m) (approx.)
  • Technical Grade: Novice
    (any questions, please contact us)
  • Meet time: 9.00 am | 9.30 am on bikes
  • Meet point: Riverside South Downs, Amberley, West Sussex
  • Group size: 8 (max)

What’s included

  • Fully guided by a qualified and local MTB leader
  • This ride is aimed at the novice off-road cyclist and the regular beginner mountain biker looking for a sociable and informative guided ride.
  • You are an active person who has the personal fitness to ride for at least 2-3 hours at a social and comfortable pace.
  • You will be confident in basic bike handling skills and proficient with operating your bicycle in the correct manner.
  • The trails will include features such as roots and loose rocks, along with small rollable drop-offs – all of which are rollable or can be ridden around.
  • You will need a suitable mountain bike, whether your own or hired –  conventionally powered or an e-bike (Hybrid and budget bicycles are not suitable for this ride).
    • See the ‘Bike Hire‘ section if you need a suitable bike
  • The ride does contain a limited number of undulating and in places challenging climbs
  • You are aged 18 and over unless accompanied by an adult also participating on this ride
  • If this sounds a little beyond your current skill and fitness level, please contact us for other options.

Equipment, kit and clothing

  • Suitable mountain bike in good working order*
  • Helmet*
  • Gloves and glasses**
  • Backpack**
  • Spare inner tube**
  • Puncture repair kit and bicycle pump**
  • Clothing & shoes appropriate for cycling and weather conditions on the day*
  • Padded cycling shorts for comfort**
  • Personal choice of drink and ride snacks*

* without these you will not be able to take part in the guided ride Our guides carry an extensive kit to assist with trail-side repairs

** these items are recommended, however are not essential. If you have any doubt please do contact us

What’s not included

  • Bike hire – this can be booked via the ‘Bike Hire‘ section
  • Personal clothing & equipment
  • Overnight accommodation
  • Pre, during or post activity refreshments
  • Transfers to & from location
  • Personal Travel and Accident Insurance

Booking this ride as a custom experience

Base price of £180 is for one to four people. Add more riders for a group of five to eight using the ‘Extras’ drop down menu.
If you want a completely bespoke guided ride, then choose the ‘Custom Half or Full Day’ option from the ‘Experiences’ drop down menu.
Still not sure what experience is for you or have a question? Then please send Sean an email here.

Need to hire a bike? Then after you have booked your guided ride, scroll down or click here to reserve your bike with our friends at Riverside South Downs.

(All prices include VAT)

Bike hire selection

  1. From the system below choose the date to match our open group or your custom ride (e.g. 23 April 2023)
  2. We recommend the 4 hour duration as a minimum
  3. Select normal mountain bike or electric mountain bike
  4. Choose the size of bike, based on your height
  5. Go to checkout and complete the bike hire reservation
  6. Book your place on the open group ride from the ‘Group ride dates‘ drop down menu above

Please Note:
The bike hire system below can sometimes have a delay before it has fully loaded. If it fails to show, then visit Riverside South Downs direct to reserve your bike. Then return to this page to confirm your place on our guided ride.

(** Marmalade MTB is not responsible for the provision of these bikes. By using the system below you are booking direct with Riverside South Downs)


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3 reviews for An introduction to mountain biking near Arundel

  1. Maria

    We had an absolute blast with Marmalade! Visiting from the United States, our mountain biking session was the perfect way to explore some of the South Downs with a knowledgeable and fun guide. Sean was an excellent instructor and able to tailor the ride to our skill levels. We walked away with more confidence in our riding and wish we could ride with Marmalade every day! Absolutely 100% a must-do experience if you are in the area and, if you are not in the area, well worth travelling for! Thank you so much for an unforgettable adventure!

  2. Gareth Sumner

    Had a brilliant ride on the intro to mountain biking. Sean was really helpful at helping me to select the best ride and has since been really helpful with advice on bikes. A great day out with any of the pretense you can sometimes get with other types of cycling or sports.

  3. Richard Lloyd

    Despite drizzle and wet conditions Sean and Mark made this ride fun, informative and leaving me keen to explore MTBing some more. I am already planning my second ride with Marmalade, as it seems they have inclusiveness and fun in their DNA and a real commitment to showing everyone, from total begginers, roadies looking for something different, and MTB ers looking for a community, that off-road adventures really are for everyone. Loved it and can’t wait to get onto another ride with these guys.

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