I’m writing this just as we take the first step on the government ‘route map’ out of lockdown.

Step 1, which was on 29th March, means that we can now meet up outdoors in groups of up to 6 for exercise and recreation.

Step 2, which won’t be before 12th April, and will hopefully have passed by the time you’re reading this, will mean the opening of non-essential retail, and

Step 3, which won’t be before 17th May, will mean that we can meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 and indoors in groups of 6. Step 3 also means that the ‘minimise travel’ guidance is lifted.

IAM RoadSmart has issued guidance to say that observed rides can start again at Step 2 (not before 12th April), bearing in mind that we are still advised to minimise journeys, and that official group rides can begin again at Step 3 (not before 17th May). We will, of course, still need to take appropriate social distancing measures for the time being and to plan stops, and take snacks, as the larger groups won’t be allowed to congregate indoors until Step 4. We are hopeful that the government will be able to adhere to its timescales and that we achieve Step 4 by 21st June, which should mean, hopefully, a return to normal activities.

We had a lively discussion on the Observer forum last month when IAM RoadSmart asked us to re-state the behaviour and values it expects from Observers. These are completely in line with the behaviour and values that TVAM expects from all its members, and which are clearly stated in the group handbook. Given the discussion we had on the Observer Group I thought it worth restating here that the Club aims to create a harmonious and positive environment in which all individuals:

  • are treated fairly, with dignity and respect at all stages of involvement.
  • are able to make best use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment.
  • do not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
  • have an equal chance to contribute and achieve their potential, irrespective of the above.

I know that this may seem like stating the obvious, but we do live in a world where we need to remind everyone of the values that are important to us, to welcome those in minority groups, and that to ensure that there are appropriate rules to protect those in minority groups.

By the time you get to read this IAM RoadSmart should have released the latest version of its Manual of Guidance for Group Rides. This was a much-needed update, and the new guidance is much clearer. Group rides encompass everything from a bunch of mates going out together through to formal training runs. The new manual explains the differences and makes it clearer as to what the requirements and appropriate guidance are for each type of group ride. Worth a read, before we resume group rides at Step 3 of the government roadmap.

I know we’re all starting to get out on our bikes, and I’d encourage you to re-read Barrie’s article in last month’s Slipstream before heading out. Remember that we are acting as ambassadors for TVAM, for IAM RoadSmart and for motorcycling in general. People are often jealous of the freedom that we, as motorcyclists exhibit and we don’t want people to form a negative opinion of what we do.

I hope that you have a safe and progressive return to biking.

Chris Brownlee
Chief Observer