I’m writing this piece at a really busy time for the Club, with the riding season really getting off to a fantastic start and so much going on for all members.
I’m just back from France where I have spent 4 days, with 3 friends (TVAM members), visiting 3 of my great, great Uncle’s graves. They all served in the Allied Forces in WW1 and unfortunately never came home. Whilst the weather wasn’t always in our favour, it was certainly a great long weekend riding around the French countryside, on some great roads, that clearly looks significantly different than it would have 125 years ago.

If you have never ridden abroad, then a trip across to northern France is a great way to get some experience. Do look at the specific road traffic laws though, as priority on junctions is not as clear cut as it is in the UK. In fairness, the locals appear to understand that us Brits are unlikely to get it right all the time and are relatively tolerant of our errors!

Whilst I was away in France, both 7Ws and Welsh Wanders took over Llandrindod Wells in mid Wales. Apologies that the Club didn’t manage to coordinate better on the timings for these two trips, as we know that many people like to attend both weekends where possible. We promise to do a better job of getting the dates sorted so there is less likelihood of a clash in future (WW September – 7Ws October ’23).

7Ws appears to have been another successful training weekend, with 17 Associates, 12 Observers, 5 Trainee Observers and 8 Full Members having a great time.

Welsh Wanders saw 31 Club members away for a weekend of social riding on the fantastic Welsh roads.

Thank you to the organisers of both of these Club events that are put on for the benefit of the membership and new dates for both weekends are already announced in the late summer, early autumn.

And the fun didn’t stop there. The last weekend in April saw both a Core Skills Day and BikeCraft both hosted in the Sixth Form Block at St Crispin’s.

The Core Skills Day saw 8 new Trainee Observers working with 8 Full Observers and the Training Team to develop their communication and observing skills. This is a day of workshops and breakout sessions where the Trainee Observers learn ways to meet new Associates and take them through an observed riding session. It’s just one of the many disciplines that our Trainee Observers have to complete in order to become an Observer with TVAM/IAM RoadSmart.

I was lucky enough to sit in on the BikeCraft day that was being hosted by our excellent BikeCraft team. Di Woodcock, Richard Barker, Paul Naish and Steve Mason took 11 members through the fundamentals of riding, working in harmony with your machine and making progress, all in a classroom environment with some great images, videos and practical advice. Thank you all for a really informative day. I cannot recommend this course highly enough for Associates working towards their test and Full Members wishing to refresh their own knowledge.

We have lots coming up in the next month between the May and June Club Meetings. There are no less than 12 social rides on various dates; Castle Combe Skills Day on 23rd May; the RAMs T-Run on 28th May; Look Lean Roll on 11th June; Run Leader & Back Marker course on 17th June and of course St Crispin’s on the 18th June. All are published in the Slipstream and Groups.io calendars and regular reminders come out weekly on Group.io to jog your memory. Why not join another local team for a social ride or try something new to keep up your skills? If any Observers are available to support the T-Runs throughout the riding season, I’m sure that you’ll be welcomed with open arms by the various local teams. The more we can work together, the better for all our members.

I’m just off now to pack for 3Rs, the Full Member Training Weekend in Llandrindod Wells that takes 20 Full Members and 10 Observers to Wales for a balanced
weekend of social and observed rides, with plenty of tall tales and banter in the bar afterwards. Hopefully you’ll be able to read about it in next month’s Slipstream.

Whatever you’re planning on doing this month, have fun and ride safe everyone.

Barrie Smith
TVAM Chair