An introduction to mountain biking – West Sussex

From £48.00 inc. VAT

(4 customer reviews)

Ride info

Location: South Downs
Duration: 3-4 hours
Style: Cross-country (XC)
Level: 2

MTB ride rating bar 2

Bike type

Mountain bike
Electric mountain bike


10-12 mi | 16-20 km


1,600 ft | 500 m

An introduction to mountain biking – West Sussex

From £48.00 inc. VAT

(4 customer reviews)

Our guided ride for novice off-road cyclists is coming to the West Sussex area again this spring. 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.


This spring 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.

The Surrey Hills experience would not be complete without a mid-ride stop at the awesome Peaslake Village Stores for a famous cheese straw or slice of cake and the option of a post-ride drink or lunch at the Hurtwood Inn.

If you are still not sure whether this ride is for you, then please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

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.

Riding with Marmalade

We pride ourselves on creating the perfect vibe that makes everyone feel comfortable and confident. Combine a super fun and relaxed atmosphere with Marmalade’s expert knowledge and professionalism we will guarantee you the best day out discovering the trails of the Surrey Hills.

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.

Bike choice

E-bikes or manual mountain bikes are all welcome, whether you bring your own or hire from our friends at Riverside South Downs.

This route is a traditional mountain bike ride. There will be fun bumpy descents, rooty forest trails and wide-open double tracks. So a hardtail or short travel full suspension mountain bike would be perfect. Big travel bikes are welcome – just be prepared for some extra effort.

This ride can be enjoyed on a conventional or electric mountain bike. If this ride is right for your level of experience and fitness, then bring your choice of machine. Marmalade rides have a friendly welcoming atmosphere, and e-bike riders who find themselves first up the hill are always patient and understanding of those relying on human-power alone.

Ensure your bike of choice is maintained and ready to ride, and please pack a spare mech hanger with your usual trail pack spares.

Ride details
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 10-12 mi | 16-20 km
  • Ascent: 1,600 ft | 500 m
  • Level: Beginner
    (If you have any questions about your level, just contact us)
  • Meet time: 9.00am │ 9.30 am on bikes
  • Meet point: Riverside South Downs, nearly Amberley, West Sussex
What do I need?

Equipment, kit and clothing


  • Suitable mountain bike in good working order (bikes can be hired in advance)
  • Helmet (in good condition, with no damage)
  • Clothing and shoes appropriate for cycling and weather conditions on the day
  • Personal choice of drink and ride snacks


  • Gloves
  • Glasses, sunglasses or eyeshields
  • Backpack
  • Spare inner tube
  • Puncture repair kit and bicycle pump
  • Padded cycling shorts for comfort

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
  • Personal travel or accident Insurance
Is this for me?
  • This ride is aimed at the novice off-road cyclist and the regular beginner mountain biker looking for a sociable and informative group ride. As part of the day we will share with you the basics and fundamentals of mountain biking
  • To take part, you’ll need to be an active person who has the personal fitness to ride for at least 2 hours at a social and comfortable pace
  • You should be confident riding a bike on roads or smooth terrain, able to operate it safely, before joining us to look at off-road skills
    • For more basic instruction on learning to ride, try a Bikeability course
  • The trails may include features such as roots and loose rocks, along with small rollable steps – all of which can be easily ridden or avoided
  • This ride may contain undulating trails – and in places, climbs that may be challenging
  • This ride requires a suitable mountain bike (Hybrid and budget bicycles are not suitable)
    • See the ‘Bike Hire‘ section below if you need to hire a bike
  • Riders should be aged 18 and over
  • If this ride sounds a little beyond your current skill and fitness level, please contact us and we’ll help you look at other options
  1. Jon

    Brilliant day in the South Downs around Amberley and Arundel. Stunning weather and excellent guiding by Sean. Looking forward to riding again! Thank you so much!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Private experience (extra information)

Booking the Introduction to Mountain Biking as a private ride

Base price of £240 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 or call on +44(0)7840724611.

Need to hire a bike? Then after you have booked your private ride, scroll down or click here to reserve your bike(s).

Meet point: Once you have booked, we can decide on the best location to start your ride. This will depend on where your accommodation is and whether or not you require bike hire. If required we can bring the bikes to you.
If you want to discuss this before you book then please send Sean an email or call on +44(0)7840724611.

(All prices include VAT)

Bike hire (extra information)

How to book your bike:

  1. From the system below select the dates to match the ride you have booked with us
  2. Select the full day option
  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 for each rider

These fantastic bikes, and this booking system, are provided by our friends at Riverside South Downs. If you have any questions or problems around booking your bike, just contact the Riverside team and they’ll help.    

Searching Availability…

Choose your option


Choose your option

    Your Basket
    Your basket is emptyReturn to Shop