Chairmans Blog

Chairman’s Blog – December 2018.

As we are now approaching the festive period, it is a time to reflect on…

What we have achieved as a group.

So, DSAR (yes I know we have a new name but it is toooo long!) continues to grow and we have had an outstanding year with new joiners becoming associates, associates passing the Advanced Motorcycle Test and becoming new members, and members passing their 3-yearly retest to continue their membership, often with improved passes! Well done to all.

We have also had a great turnout at the Saturday Surgeries and End-of-Month Rides, including on many occasions proving wet weather does not stop us – “If it isn’t raining, it isn’t training!” The turnout would have been higher still for the November Ride (titled “Environmental Hazards”) if I hadn’t fallen off during the ride recce having failed miserably to notice the sloppy mud down the centre of the minor road and sticking (definitely the wrong word) the front wheel onto the gloop with not entirely unexpected results. Lesson Learned – Sloppy mud has no grip!

We have also had a pass-holders weekend away in North Wales where the scenery would have been fantastic if we could have seen it but due to storm Callum it turned out a real test of waterproof clothing and stability in gusty conditions. Notwithstanding the challenging weather, it was a superb ride out. I can highly recommend it for those wishing to do the same again in 2019.

So what’s new for 2019?

A reinvigorated drive to get more new joiners continues – I hope everyone takes an active role here please as this is the cornerstone of our existence!

Support for Somerset Road Safety at Fleet Air Arm Museum and another chance to practice slow riding.

Saturday Surgeries and End-of-Month rides start early in the New Year, the first are definitely weather dependant as even I don’t take ride out in the snow (let’s not mention taking David Pengelly down the Toboggan Run!) so volunteers are required to lead and sweep.

Ride leader and Sweeper Training and Tutor Continuation Training will start early in the season, so keep your eyes peeled on the website for details.

Finally, I would like to thank all members and associates of the group for your continued support, and also to thank long suffering partners who “allow” us to escape from household chores so we can train (don’t let them know how much fun we are having!) and improve our riding skills. Have a safe festive break and looking forward to seeing you all sometime in the New Year.

Cheers

Stan

Chairman’s Blog – November 2018

I have great pleasure in writing my opening letter as the newly appointed Chairman of DSAR, and a heartfelt thank you to all at the AGM who approved my appointment.  

Following on from the extraordinary work Dan Mawer has done over the previous years as Club Chairman will not be an easy task, but with support and guidance from you all I am sure we will again make great strides to improving our club, the way we train and support others through theirs and how we project ourselves to the wider riding community.

Strengths

As you know, I’m a great believer in Continuous Improvement and Assessment and that fits in easily with our 3 yearly Advanced Riding Test with RoSPA. We already have a well proven track record when it comes to the number of test candidates who pass at Gold or Silver standard due to 2 significant features:

  1. The very high standard of our Tutors
  2. The open system of Training Assessment – using our Senior Tutors to conduct Pre-Test Check Rides which ensures our Associates and tri-annual test candidates are well prepared for the Advanced Motorcycle Test.

As a Diploma holder, I am also re-tested on my Tutoring skills at the same time as my Advanced Test.  I have heard from many of you your desire to include more refresher training for Tutors and other training outside the remit of the Advanced Test – music to my ears!  In the coming months I will open discussion how we develop this and utilise the skills of our local and former police riders whom between them hold positions of RoSPA Examiner, Head of Road Safety at Somerset Road Safety Partnership and DSAR Training Advisor and more locally; utilising Dan’s extensive repertoire and my experience to demonstrate “what good looks like from the examiners’ view.  

At the AGM, Dan mentioned his feeling that we were considered the best motorcycle training organisation in the South West and possibly the UK!  This is definitely something we should be proud of and aspire to prove correct.

Weaknesses

  1. Previously our greatest weakness was communication – We have made great strides in improving the effectiveness of the website and continue to do so.  I would encourage everyone to use the website as the primary means of communication, please do consider the content – if something irritates you then talk to the individual concerned or pass it to the committee, or if need be direct to me. 
  2. Inactivity – Tutors not having Associates; this has been exacerbated due to previously having high numbers of Associates without Tutors, then going through a training programme for new Tutors followed by website problems preventing new joiners from… joining!  In 2018 we were able to conduct a dozen Initial Check Rides and get new joiners signed up.  We are nearly there where all Tutors have someone to train.  

Opportunities

In order for the group to maximise on any potential to gain new joiners could I ask you all play an active role in recruitment? Any opportunity to talk to other bikers should be seen as a potential new joiner.  So invite other club members or biking buddies or even those who don’t have a bike (could they ride pillion if they have the correct kit?) to our Saturday Surgeries and End-of-Month Rides.  As a group we are covered under RoSPA Insurance for non-members provided they have signed the pre-ride disclaimer.

Threats 

  1. Our main competition – IAM Roadsmart, turn up at events en-masse and dominate the visual space.  We need to fully support any event where we could potentially gain some new recruits so I would strongly encourage everyone – Tutors / Pass holders / Associates to promulgate any event they know to the Events Co-ordinator.  We are going to spend some of our funds replacing the gazebo and advertising boards to help in this programme.
  2. Complacency – Allowing us to think “What are you doing for me?”  When we attend we all benefit from the Saturday Surgeries and End-of-Month Rides etc.  I hope that more group members offer to take the lead in hosting / leading / sweeping and the phrase I hope everyone will use is “What can I do for you?” 

Summary

I am humbled by the support members give to the Club and I am honoured you have the confidence in me to be your Chairman.  Let us all move the Club forward in our aspiration to “Be the Best!”  Safe riding for 2019

Kind regards

Stan Hathaway

Chairman 

RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders

Devon and Somerset Riders (aka DSAR)