This will be my last column for 2015 and where has the year gone? You may have noticed that the clocks have changed, suddenly it is winter with dark evenings and wet roads covered in leaf litter, as was the case when I conducted a Local Observer Assessment (LOA) for Heather Smith recently. I am delighted to report that Heather not only passed as competent, she produced such a spirited demo ride in awful conditions that on one particular set of bends I was having so much fun I forgot I was doing an Assessment. I am sure there is an IAM ruling about that somewhere…

I am pleased too to report that Jim Bates also successfully completed his LOA with Richard Tickner recently so that will be two new Gold Badges for the Training Team to present soon. I would also like to give a mention to the two Green Team Support riders involved, they were Tony Paz and Andrew Wightman. Having a “real” Associate on an assessment ride is such an asset in that it means the Observer being assessed has some consistent and genuine riding behaviour to observe as opposed to inconsistent, artificial riding as was the case when we used to “stooge” the Associate role.

If you are a Green Team member and looking to do something a bit different or even considering becoming an Observer, this is a great way of keeping your riding  up to standard and even having some  fun!

As a counter to all this excitement Mimi and I recently attended the IAM Conference at Aston University. This is held every October over a weekend, with the car groups on Saturday and bikes on Sunday. The IAM do seem to be raising their game with the appointment of Sarah Sillars as CEO and Ken Kier as Chairman and a much higher media profile.

Sarah who has a long history in the automotive and bike industry speaks with refreshing honesty about the challenges facing the IAM.

She also gave a talk recently at Wey Valley IAM which was very well received so perhaps we should consider this for next year.

Once the presentation slides from the conference are released I will post them on the TVAM website where they can be downloaded. A couple of notable statistics from the conference were that the ratio of IAM bike membership is 20% compared with 80% car and that IAM total membership is increasing and is currently at 92,500 members. TVAM are about 1% of the IAM and the largest group. Another statistic which will come as no surprise is that the average age of membership is 56.

On a very different topic, have you ever wondered what happens to the yellow copy of a TVAM Run Report Form? Probably not but they are all keyed into the TVAM database and the person who enters every single one is Greg Ward’s Mum. If you don’t know Greg, he looks after our Lotus Notes database and the server that it is held on and I recently discovered that his Mum, Vickie, is TVAM’s data entry person. Vickie must have keyed thousands of these over the years so I think a big thank you is in order. I did ask Greg if she would come to St. Crispin’s but Greg feels that it is not her cup of tea so I’ll be visiting her with a bunch of flowers sometime soon. There is a message here to all Observers and Trainee Observers. When you are filling in RRF please give a thought to Greg’s Mum who will eventually have to read it.

Before I sign off for the year I would like a add a heartfelt, personal thanks to all the Observers, Training Team, Committee, Green Team and all who give so freely of their time, tyres and fuel to make this such a great bike club.

Safe Riding

Pat Coneley

Chief Observer