Hi everyone. Where is the time going? Already we are into February and it only seems like yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas and the New Year.

TVAM is a great club, with lots of members covering a large geographical area, so one of the challenges is communication, and ensuring that everyone is aware of what’s going on and how to get involved. We have the website, forum and Yahoo groups, which really help, but sometimes finding out which teams are where and what other opportunities there are within TVAM is not as simple as it could be – until now! This weekend we are releasing the TVAM Passport.
The TVAM Passport lists details of all riding-related activities that are available for TVAM members. From initial Associate rides, through to taking the Advanced Test; social rides and the 7Ws; courses such as Look Lean Roll and BikeCraft; other training opportunities like the Enhanced Advanced, through to becoming an Observer. It’s all in there with space for you to keep your own personal record. Printed on high quality card and supplied with a neat plastic wallet, it’s designed to be easily stored in your tank bag so you can keep it with you. The TVAM Passport will be issued to all new TVAM members from this weekend, and is freely available to all existing members too – just see Steve or Alison on the Membership Desk.
TVAM’s Annual Ball, held on the 26th of January, was a great success, and raised around £1,000 in support of the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance. As I write this, we are still totting up the money but hope to have a total figure to announce at St Crispin’s.

We are planning for all Observers who are currently radio validated to be re-assessed under the new IAM guidelines. We have 60+ re-assessments to conduct, so this will not be an overnight task, but I would like to see significant progress on this before the end of year. In addition, we have a growing number of National Observers, so we will soon be in a position to start validating our own Observers under the new Local Observer framework. The Local Observer status and framework is still in pilot stage with the IAM, so we will see how it develops. Amanda Smith and Jon Taylor from the IAM attended an Observer evening in December to discuss the National and Local Observer programmes, and I will provide a summary of all the comments I received to the IAM shortly.

The IAM’s F1RST grade is gaining more recognition within TVAM, and we have a growing number of F1RST passes, which is fantastic news. In my last column I mentioned that I had emailed a list of all our members who had passed their test during the retrospective qualifying period to the IAM to see how many were eligible for F1RST membership. They confirmed one other, but sadly the IAM claim not to be able to find or read 25% (19 in total) of the test reports. I’ll be contacting those concerned to see if they have their own copy of their test report so we can check ourselves.

Thanks Amanda Coneley for all the time and effort she put into the Cross Check position over the previous year, and to Rick Watson for stepping forward and taking this on.

I have held the position of Chief Observer for 4 years now, and it continues to provide interesting, challenging and rewarding times. Subject to my re-election at the AGM in March, I look forward to continuing in this role and working with you all to ensure that TVAM continues to deliver the highest possible standards of coaching for our Associates.

Andy Wedge
Chief Observer