I always find the start of the year strange, in that it seems to take us forever to get through January and then February goes by in a blur. Maybe, because of the colder, damper conditions we’re just not out on our bikes as much enjoying ourselves. It’s hard to believe that we’re now well into March and springtime is beckoning us to uncover the bikes that we carefully put away for the winter (those that didn’t ride throughout), give them a dust off, a really good clean and check them over before firing them back into life.

For those people that did mothball their bikes over the winter months, it’s worth taking a look at an article that Pat Coneley wrote in Slipstream back in April ’13 (page 21). You can find past copies of Slipstream on groups.io under ‘files’ in the ‘all members’ section.

It’s important to check our bikes regularly, particularly after lengthy spells of not riding. The Advanced Rider Course (ARC) talks about pre-ride checks and Roadcraft specifically uses the acronym POWDDERSS to work around your machine. Most of us like to add another S (self) to the end, ensuring that we’re also ready to ride the bike. We carry out these checks to assist in preventing incidents happening. That said, when incidents do happen it’s important that we reflect on what happened, why it happened and see if there is anything that we could have done differently to change the course of events. It’s then really good practice to let the Club know about the incident.

Nick Edgley has written a piece for this month’s Slipstream that looks at an incident and the importance of reporting it. I would urge you all to read this and please do let the Club know about any incidents that you may be involved in. We only use the data to enable us to build courses to learn from each other.

Looking ahead to getting out and riding, the calendar does seem to be filling up nicely with many social rides. It seems that with many of the social teams offering regular social rides, pretty much every weekend in the calendar has a ride, or a choice of rides, that you can take part in. We also have our training and social riding weekends starting.

The fantastic 7Ws takes place on the 21st – 23rd April in Llandrindod Wells in Wales and is followed two weeks later, on the 5th – 7th May, with the 3Rs weekend at the same venue. These are weekends with an emphasis on training, however they have social riding elements built into them. 7Ws is geared at Associates and 3Rs is geared at Full Members. The feedback that we received from participants on these weekends in 2022 was overwhelmingly positive in relation to the organisation, location, venue and structure of the events. We carefully review all feedback and make changes as necessary.

For members that wish to have a social weekend in Wales, Welsh Wanders is also taking place in Llandrindod Wells on the 21st-23rd April. So, what better way to kick-start the 2023 riding season than riding arguably the best roads in the UK and socialising with large groups of friends in these three weekend trips.

A couple of items for Observers to note. Adrian, our Chief Observer, has published the list for Aardvarks on groups.io, so please try to find your riding buddy and get these booked as soon as possible. The earlier you book, the better the chance of getting the best dates to suit you both. The Observer Weekend is also running again in Llandrindod Wells from the 30th June – 2nd July and booking for this is now available on the TVAM Webshop. An early bird discount is available.

Spring is looking like being really busy for TVAM members so have fun and stay safe everyone.

Barrie Smith
TVAM Chair