CTC Trainer Mentor: Dan Cook

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Dan ragging round a corner on the Isle of Arran
Dan Cook manages the CTC Training Department with a particular emphasis on off-road and mountain bike courses. With a wealth of experience across a wide range of working environments, Dan helps set the tone and ethos for the trainers and makes terrible tea.

Key attributes

  • Manages the Training Department, focussing on mountain biking;
  • Has an overwhelming desire to see everyone given opportunities to ride, and to love their experiences of the outdoors;
  • Combines his extensive background in outdoor education, engineering and product/process design to produce courses and learning environments that push boundaries to improve learning.

Working experiences

Dan has worked in outdoor centres across Cumbria and Yorkshire, and even as a white water raft guide in Austria, developing his core interest in outdoor education, engaging groups and setting up learning environments that do most of the hard work for trainees.

A diversion into food production engineering and process design for a few years meant that Dan could concentrate on his personal desires (see below), whilst gaining invaluable insights into the interaction between people and their environment, which he uses regularly today to develop and refine courses.

At the time of the Adventure Activities Licensing Act, (1995-6), Dan was part of a working party reviewing current practice in mountain bike leadership. This work resulted in the development of the qualifications delivered at the time by OTC Training which have now morphed into the CTC portfolio.  Dan's involvement in delivering and overseeing cycling qualifications has continued unabated since then.

Personal experiences

One of the lucky people to ride one of the first five Cannondales into the UK, Dan was fortunate enough to be part of the Yorkshire Schools Exploring Societies expedition to the Himalayas in 1987.  Yes, this photo (left) is at 5000m altitude, and yes, those colours were the height of '80's fashion.

Dan has raced bikes to the very highest level, competing in the first mountain bike world championships at Durago, Colorado in 1989 and El Ciocco, Italy in 1990, as well as several European Championships.

After a few years riding for fun at locations around the world, he has now settled down, though still reached the dizzy heights of 4th in the National Championships (2012) and 2nd in the national rankings (cyclo cross and mountain biking)

What drives his personal desire for riding is encountering great environments with good friends, no matter whether on foot, bike or snowboard.

The net result

Even though most of his role involves co-ordinating others who get the best bit of the job (i.e. training you), Dan still loves his work, knowing that what he does positively influences over 1 million rides a year


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