Happy New Year everyone

As I sit here writing this just before Christmas it’s tempting to look forward to the New Year and riding season with some excitement. The short, grey, wet days will be banished along with the Winter gloves and thermals. Already I’m hearing of trips being planned for the summer, some to favourite haunts on the continent, usually involving mountain passes, others to those wonderful roads in countries within the UK (which still includes Scotland!). Some brave souls are even considering much more adventurous journeys to Asia riding hired Royal Enfields. Sounds more like Top Gear or The Grand Tour than TVAM but I look forward to seeing all the photos.

For many though the challenge of passing the Advanced Test will be focusing the mind for 2020. Getting those Observed rides in with good marks on the run report form. The Cross Check then the Test itself. On the way the popular Look, Lean and Roll and Advanced Bike Control courses will build skills and confidence, as will an occasional Track Skills Day. As always our Observers are here to help, as will many other members willing to share their expertise. The Club remains a centre of excellence in the training we offer and it’s the many volunteers who make all this possible.

Whatever your personal riding goals are for the coming year I hope you’re successful in achieving them and most importantly have loads of fun in getting there. Along the way you’re sure to meet new people and make lots of new friends.

New Year is also a time to reflect on the past year. The Club’s annual report is now available from the groups.io/allmembers files. There are many highlights covered in the various reports and I would encourage you to take a dip into the file to read about what’s going on in your Local Team and the Club in general. I can’t encourage you enough to get involved with your Local Team to get the most out of your membership.

2019 was the seventh successive year of membership growth with 1,063 members registered at the year-end and we also recorded the Club’s 2,600th Test pass in October. We remain by far the largest IAM RoadSmart Group which enables us to run courses and events other Groups are unable to resource. We also ran the RideUP Scheme for young riders where we sponsor possibly the most vulnerable group of riders through to their Test and on to a Track Skills Day. We’ve now had 31 Associates on the scheme meaning that as a road safety charity TVAM is demonstrating we are delivering on our aims, and hopefully making it fun at the same time.

Finally, it’s unusual for the Chairman not to attend an AGM but unfortunately the NHS has decided that it wants to perform open heart surgery on me three days before our meeting this month. I know it’s a poor excuse, but assuming it’s not cancelled in the meantime, I’ve offered my apologies for not attending to the Secretary and he and Chris will I’m sure run the meeting perfectly. I hope to be back at St Crispin’s in February, though probably not on the bike!

See you in 2020

Andy Slater