I’m writing this at the end of February, when the formal restrictions around Covid-19 have just been relaxed. Of course, we’ve been able to carry out observed rides and social rides for some time, and we are hopeful that the reduced restrictions will continue to make organising social events easier and less stressful. We’ll keep you posted as to any changes that may be required, and we would encourage anyone that wants to continue with personal measures to keep themselves safe to do so.

I was very pleased to see a return of the 3Rs weekends, particularly given its focus as a training weekend. What is very welcome is the focus of the weekend on Full Member training. Emulating the very popular 7Ws weekend, which is aimed at providing a weekend’s training for Associates, the 3Rs will be providing informal observed rides for Full Members across a weekend – on this occasion based in Llandrindod Wells. Although this first weekend is fully booked, we are hopeful that we will be able to arrange further weekends to provide more opportunities for Full Member training.

One of the reasons the 7Ws and 3Rs weekend book up so quickly is the popularity of our electronic communications platform, Groups.io. We wanted to remind everyone that Groups.io offers the following advantages over other unofficial ones:

  • Groups.io has only TVAM members, so you can be sure that when you’re using Groups.io everyone in the group is a TVAM member. We automatically add people when they join TVAM, and we remove them when they leave.
  • There are no adverts or tracking cookies.
  • You can choose to have messages delivered by email, with different delivery options, so you don’t have to log into the website (although it’s even better if you do).
  • All communication on Groups.io is private to the group. The settings we use mean that other search engines can’t see the content, so it’s only available to members.

If you’re stuck how to use Groups.io, check out the Wiki at https://tvam.groups.io/g/ allmembers/wiki or, if you’re really stuck, drop the admin a note at groups.io@tvam.org

As the weather starts to improve, more members are looking to organise overseas trips, which is great. We’d like to remind everyone that if you’re organising a trip that might involve a ‘package,’ such as an hotel and sea crossing, the club has guidelines in place to prevent the organiser or the club being liable under the Package Travel Directive, which is a European-wide directive designed to protect those taking package holidays and ensure repatriation is covered if required. If you’re planning an overseas trip then you need to inform the committee about your trip and explain how you’re avoiding the terms of the Package Travel Directive, or involve a travel agent. The club has an appointed travel agent for this very purpose – https://tvam.notjusttravel.com

We can’t just “club together and run our own overseas trips” any more if we’re to ensure that the organisers and club do not become liable under the Package Travel Directive, so do let the committee know about any overseas trips in good time.

I’m looking forward to taking advantage of more relaxed Covid-19 guidelines both in the UK and Europe this year, so hope to see you on a trip or a run.

Best wishes

Chris Brownlee
Chief Observer