From the Chair (Slipstream October 2014)


Hi everyone,

So we’ve had fabulous weather for biking. Now what are you going to do? Are you going to ride less because it’s wetter, colder and darker?

  • Read your Roadcraft, or better still get someone else to provide salient points – if this sounds like a good idea go on a BikeCraft course.
  • Go on our new course that shows you how to use TYRE to plan a route, then step up and volunteer to lead a ride in 2015.
  • Apply for a new job? The IAM is recruiting for a new Chief Executive to replace Simon Best, who has just left this position.
  • Go to the Motorcycle Live. 22nd-30th November at the NEC Birmingham.
  • Carry on riding?

Do what you can to enjoy your time on the bike, and but please keep on applying all your skills to aid smooth riding, and apply good planning to avoid accidents. Why would I ask this of you? Well, of course it will reduce heartache, pain etc. plus it will help statistics. The knock on impact of this is it reduces reasons for groups like those communities in Wales, governments, DFT bodies such as Vulnerable Road Users and councils to consider reducing limits and reducing the places where national limits are currently applied. If you don’t need four wheels for work, then stay on two – reduce congestion and use fewer parking spaces. Apparently the Federation of European Motorcyclists Association says it is saves you money!

Charon Willis


7Ws #30 Spring 2015 – Watch this space!

Yes, the next 7Ws, in Spring 2015, will be the 30th time that this fantastic event has run. Even more opportunity to build your TVAM network and improve your riding standard. Watch out for some special celebratory touches… Bookings aren’t open yet – but watch this space for updates and bookings!

Posted in 7Ws

Richard Tickner Charity Skydive – thanks to all my sponsors.

Many, many thanks to all those of you who made a donation to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance fund and I sincerely hope that you never need to cash it in. The sponsorship came to £550. Well worth the jump. If you are looking for a different speed thrill then skydiving will do it for you – 150mph straight downwards. Wow!

The only downside is that my recollection of the event is that the free-fall lasted a few seconds when it was nearer 60 and the whole thing seemed less than a minute but was over five.

The skydive team said that if you do it often enough, the time and recall match better. Hmm, I will take their word for that. Although, the thrill of free-fall is very tempting…………


“Never Too Good” Episode 1: Back to School

The video  is part one of the Department for Transport’s latest “Think!” campaign. World Superbike Rider, Chaz Davies, joined comedian Alan Davies and eight regular riders to undertake further training to improve their riding skills on the road and prove you’re never too good to learn something new. More details available from

From the Pillion (Slipstream September 2014)

Hi everyone,Pat_Coneley_graphic

Having agreed to write something as Deputy Chief Observer, the first challenge was the title. Charon does “From the Chair”, Andy does “From the Saddle”, so this is going to be “From the Pillion”. A few months ago I accepted the role of Deputy Chief Observer, and will shadow Andy until the AGM next year. I will then stand for election and, if elected, will become the next Chief Observer. Under the club rules Andy has to step down after five years and he deserves a break!

I have attended several TVAM Committee meetings, and am starting to get a feel for what is involved in running this great club of ours. When I joined TVAM back in 1998 as an Associate, I never imagined that I would still be involved today, and am both honoured and awed at the prospect of becoming Chief Observer.

Over that sixteen year period there have been four CO’s, all different and each a hard act to follow. I have been reflecting on TVAM’s success and how we might build on that for the future. If you asked our 900 plus members to define what we are, I suspect you would get at least 900 different answers, and they would all be correct, and would include:

  • A Bike Club
  • A Road Safety Charity
  • A Training Organisation affiliated to the IAM
  • A Limited Company

The aims of all of these are broadly in line, although there are many differing opinions about how those aims are best achieved, as demonstrated by our current debate over our relationship with the IAM. The questions raised by Andy Slater at the AGM, and debated at the Observer Weekend, have now been distributed to the Team Leaders, who will hopefully give some focus on this. If you have not had a chance to voice your opinion, please try to attend your local team meeting.

Road Safety is becoming the subject of increasing government and media attention, and we motorcyclists are often portrayed negatively. In a time of improving road safety statistics, motorcycle fatalities remain stubbornly high, and TVAM has an opportunity to contribute in changing this, but we will achieve little in isolation.

The IAM in turn are subject to changes introduced by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), which is the body the IAM have chosen to help maintain and improve their own standards. The introduction of the National and Local Observer qualification is as a result of this. There will be changes and challenges for us all over the coming year, but is that a bad thing?

Finally, I have been asked about how I see the role of Chief Observer, and what it means to me. I have a simple answer – it’s about the Riding Standard. I believe that TVAM’s success has encouraged us to become a little complacent. We are good, but are we as good as we could be?

Safe Riding


Pat Coneley

Deputy Chief Observer


New THINK! campaign – Never too good (Trailer)

The video  is the trailer for the Department for Transport’s new “Think!” campaign. World Superbike Rider, Chaz Davies, joined comedian Alan Davies and eight regular riders to undertake further training to improve their riding skills on the road and prove you’re never too good to learn something new. More details available from