This will be my last “From the Saddle” article for Slipstream, as I’ll be standing down as Chief Observer at the TVAM AGM in January. TVAM rules mean that the key committee positions can be held for a maximum of five years, and the St. Crispin’s meeting, and AGM, on 15th January will mark the end of my fifth year in this role. That maximum tenure of five years means that people can’t stay in key committee roles for too long and ensures the ongoing input of new people, fresh ideas and renewed impetus. There are too many IAM RoadSmart groups where such time limits are not in place – and it often shows in the lack of dynamism, excitement, and growth in such groups. We do have a candidate for the role of Chief Observer and if you’re interested in standing for this, or any other role on the committee, then do have a word with our Chair, Barrie Smith, who will explain what’s involved and how to submit a nomination.

We completed another of the flagship 7Ws training weekends to Llandrindod Wells in October and despite a doubtful weather forecast most riders got away with no significant rain over the weekend. We have evolved 7Ws to offer the best training and riding experience for Associates and Full Members and we will continue to monitor and evaluate the feedback we receive for the ongoing development of the weekend. 7Ws will continue its focus of being a training weekend with priority for Associates and we also have, of course, the 3Rs training weekend with priority for Full Members. These weekends offer fantastic opportunities for observed rides on some of the best roads available; the development of riding skills is clear to see on the weekends, as well as being great fun. We are very grateful to the organisers, and particularly the participating Observers, for making these weekends possible.

TVAM continues to develop its relationship with Rapid Training. As well as carrying out the TVAM ‘Aardvark’ training for Observers, with a ride out for each Observer every two years, Rapid Training can also offer TVAM members bespoke training, their flagship Bikemaster and Roadmaster courses as well as their various accompanied tours. Rapid Training offers substantial discounts on their courses to TVAM members, for which we’re very grateful. If you’d like to take advantage of these discounts then make sure you use the appropriate link, which you can find on the TVAM wiki page;

Autumn riding offers a different experience. Roads are often quieter, the scenery can be spectacular and learning about your riding in more challenging conditions can reap big rewards in terms of skill development. Don’t let your skills fade over the autumn; enjoy the riding and keep up the practice to stay
sharp and build confidence.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to act as the Chief Observer for the largest and greatest IAM RoadSmart group, and the best bike club, over the past five years. I’ll still be around, of course, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with you all – out on the bike.

Chris Brownlee
Chief Observer