Annual General Meeting 2017

Grubby in Grantham
February 1, 2018
What Tools Should I Carry?
February 12, 2018


  1. John Gardner says:

    Thanks for this Greg. I hope to get to the meeting. Where do I find the accounts? Ride Safe.

  2. AGM Proxy Voting Form now available for download

  3. I’ve a question about the new code of conduct, in particular the guidance about “don’t make a third rut”. Straight down the middle is often the easiest route on a deeply rutted lane; is this now frowned upon?

    • Hello Andrew,

      The proposed TRF Code of Conduct has guidance re third rut – note that this is not a requirement. The guidance is there to encourage riders to use existing tractor/4×4 ruts where it is safe, reasonably convenient and possible to do so.

      The aim In using the existing 4×4/tractor rut is to reduce impact.

      There is no expectation for riders to use the 4×4/tractor rut where this would not be reasonably covenient/safe/possible. For example, using the 4×4/tractor rut on an overgrown green road may result in the rider getting wacked by branches etc – that is not reasonably convenient or safe. Deep 4×4/tractor ruts may also not be safe/reasonably convenient/possible to ride.



      • Andy Tasker says:

        The third “RUT” is not made by bikes but usually the trailer hitch of authorised vehicles such as Land Rovers and tractors when their wheels sink into their deepening outer twin ruts and lower the chassis so the tail hitch mount, often much lower and sometimes their dolly wheel, digs into the middle of the lane. and also by horse use as they don’t like walking in a rut. It’s a misnomer that it is created by trail bikes. EVERY user group migrates to the middle ground to avoid mud and water in the two outer agricultural “cart wheel” ruts. I saw a graphic in one of the DEFRA studies into vehicle use on unsurfaced lanes in the lead up to the NERC. It suggested that agricultural use was the most vigorous in eroding ancient lanes as was the car derived cheap 4×4 with tail tow hitches as the outer wheel created deeper ruts that dropped the hitch to scrape out a middle line. Forestry vehicles came out worse as did the trend for “environmentally friendly” horse use to drag hand cut tree trunks with poorly trimmed branch stumps along the middle of the unsurfaced lanes as the horses didnt like walking in the outer ruts. All very interesting at the time when “we” were being blamed for everything by gleam. Apparently the cheaper half domestic 4×4 like Subarus and Range Rovers with dropped tow hitches and lower ground clearance were worst when they used lanes where the outer ruts have been deepened by tractors and the trendy older style narrow wheeled tractors. Also pointed out that the lack of a “lengthsman” to maintain the road and fill the ruts with stones from fields to maintain the lanes after the passage of narrow wheeled horse pulled carts was a considerable factor in the faster deterioration of the lanes despite wider pneumatic rubber tyres. Trail bikes were way down the list of any noted problems and legal use was of no real concern. Walkers caused far more issues of increased erosion everywhere.

  4. John, Thanks for the reply. I can see that it’s not a requirement but the guidance is confusing. If the aim is to avoid damaging the road surface the why not just leave it at that. IMHO lane surfaces and ruts are too variable to give any generalisation about riding in the rut or not. When it’s wet ruts are often full of water while the centre of the lane is dry. In that case you might make the rut deeper while riding on the dry centre would cause no damage. I think you’re also leaving open the ‘TRF told me to ride in the ruts and that caused me to fall off and get hurt’ door.

    BTW the postcode for the Hand Hotel is LL14 not LL15.


    • I’m with you Andrew, I have enough difficulty deciding for myself exactly which rut or part of the lane is best to ride.

      To try and legislate in advance where on the surface of a lane we ride and write it into the Code of Conduct is not practical or helpful.

      Colin B

  5. Also, that stuff about directors’ length of service; the divide by three and take away the number you first thought of wording doesn’t even make sense to me. There must be a clearer way of saying directors will stay in post until someone else wants to do it and gets more votes.

    • Hi.

      Directors length of service. The wording is based on previous statutory regulations for directors length of service. That wording was used in TRF’s old Articles and served TRF well. It is stuffy and complicated – that is the nature of boring legal documents. The primary job of the wording is to provide a robust prescription for Directors length of service, and this entails legalistic language.

      Third rut. I agree that tow hitches may be responsible in some cases for a third “rut”. It is also aparent that in other cases the third rut is a result of motorcycle use. Tow hitches do not wander around from one side of the 4×4 to the other – which they would need to do to produce the third ruts that meander between the 4×4/tractor ruts. The tow hitch argument may have some merit where the thrid rut remains equidistant between 4×4/tractor ruts, but is not robust where this is not the case.

      The third rut guidance is essentially a clarification of that which already exists in the present code as a requirement – “Keep to the Defined way across farmland wheels can damage crops and grass…”. If there is a 4×4/tractor rut which can accomodate the passage of your motorcycle, it’s good practice to use this when reasonably convenient, safe and possible to do so. That good practice reduces the impact of trailriding – which is the motivation for including this as guidance in the proposed CoC.

  6. I have a further difficulty regarding the proposed CoC.

    The requirement is to Ride Quietly and Unobtrusively. However, it then goes on to say: ‘Consider limiting groups sizes where exceptional circumstances would result in a large group being obtrusive or would otherwise hinder or impede other users’ passage on, or enjoyment of, the road’.

    What ‘exceptional circumstances’ are necessary before a large group becomes more obtrusive and more of an impediment to others’ passage or enjoyment than a small group would?

    Large groups of ANY type of user are more obtrusive than small groups. A person walking a dog causes little interest. A person walking 15 dogs…..?

    I appreciate that the attitude to the question of group sizes may have changed in certain quarters, but to suggest that it is only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ that large groups cause offence or inconvenience is simply not credible.

    • Re Groups Sizes. This has featured in previous attempts to change the CoC in 2009 and 2014. Those attempts were not supported by the membership. The present circumstances is one where the membership do not support a CoC that references groups sizes. The proposed CoC seeks to introduce this for the first time ever. This is an entirely new area of provision for the TRF CoC – a CoC that affects trailriding in England and Wales where a one size fits all approach is not appropriate. Directors have listened to the debate and there is a constant in that what is right for some trailriders in some parts of the country is not appropriate to others elsewhere in the country.
      TRF has agreed a Strategy: Core Principles which include a principle not to condemn mainstream trailrdiing practices. It’s apparent that larger groups sizes are commonplace in the majority of areas in England and Wales and that the majority of areas are not experiencing significant problems with trailriding – quite the opposite.
      On the basis of that evidence, it is challenging to justify the wholesale condemnation of large groups sizes.
      There is also evidence – both practical and anecdotal, that large groups sizes are not good practice in some exceptional circumstances. On that basis the proposed CoC is seeking to introduce some guidance with a view to that guidance being acceptable to the majority of trailriders and 75%+ of TRF members voting at the AGM.
      More restrictive guidance, that does not reflect the position that groups sizes are not contentious in the majority of areas, is unlikley to win 75% plus support.
      The groups size guidance is being put forward in response to the minority of areas that wish promote the use of relatively small groups sizes. The proposed CoC gives that minority some guidance – without causing collateral damage to the majority of areas which have no contentions with groups sizes.
      Re: “obtrusive”, depends who you ask?! For example, PDNPA consider that one solitary trailrider on an electric moped that is indistinguishable from an electric bicycle is too obtrusive – which is why they TRO them. Other Authorities do not consider groups sizes to be an issue and have declined to include provision in their Codes of Conduct, depsite their areas covering National Parks in the most densley populated and traffic heavy area of Europe – much more so than the Peak District or West Country.
      The main evidence that groups sizes is an issue in a minority of areas comes from TRF members, as opposed to other users/organisations.
      The proposed CoC is aimed at delivering some useful provision for those exceptional circumstances, affecting a minority of areas.

  7. I understand what you are saying John and I know a lot of discussion has been had on this topic in the past. I just find it difficult to accept the view that large groups do not draw more attention and antagonise the general public, who may not actually be against trail riding per se.

    The fact that an authority does not legislate against large groups is, quite honestly, irrelevant; it is the goodwill of the public that is eroded when we are too ‘visible’.

    As a very simplistic example: if all of the attendees at our AGM pass a couple of caravans on the way to the meeting, there is unlikely to be any comment. If a single attendee passes or meets a convoy of 20 caravans, everyone at the meeting will have heard about it by the end of the weekend.

    I don’t understand how we try to persuade ourselves that we are somehow different?

    • There is more than one element at play. There is the group itself and then the presence, if any, of others sharing the road with the group.
      In the majority of areas, on the majority of trailrides, the feedback is that it is very rare to encounter other users.
      To “antagonise” other users, the other users have to be present as a starter.
      Any group size will be noticeable and attract attention (not necessarily negative attention). Those other users who aren’t accepting of the publics’ equal entitlement to use green roads with motorcycles (or another mode of transport) are going to be antagonised regardless of group size. Reducing group size is not going to resolve their attitude problem.
      I agree that it is not in TRF’s interests to be too “visible” – to the extent that this would erode the established and growing public good will to trailriding. That is why the proposed CoC seeks to provide guidance with a view to fostering that goodwill.
      That the goodwill has been established in circumstances where large groups are commonplace in the majority of areas, suggests that they are only an issue in exceptional circumstances.

  8. Chris Hall says:

    The third rut – I’ve noted on occasion that the third rut doesn’t run equidistant between the two wheel ruts. I mentioned this in passing to a 4×4 owner, who explained that the third rut is often caused by the diff case as these are offset to one side.

    • @Chris Hall,

      Offset differentials may cause impact as you describe. That impact is consistent with a differential that is in a fixed position in relation to the wheels of the 4×4 – it doesn’t meander about and have a profile of similar dimensions to a 140/80 18 motorcycle tyre.

  9. Dave Carling says:

    Postponement of the TRF 2017 AGM due to be held on Sunday 4th March 2018 at the Hand Hotel, Chirk.

    With freezing temperatures and Met Office travel warnings set to continue across this weekend, there is a real risk to the safety of members travelling to the TRF AGM. In addition there is potential disruption to the business of the meeting, due to key attendees not being able to travel.

    As a result, the TRF Directors with regret have made the decision, this evening Wednesday 28th February, to postpone the 2017 TRF AGM.

    In addition, the provider of the riding facilities at the TRF Off Road Fun Day at the Wern Ddu quarry, have confirmed that in their opinion due to the weather the venue is currently not suitable for this event to take place. It is understood an event has already being cancelled this week on the grounds of safety.

    As a result, the TRF fun day event scheduled for Saturday 3rd March will also be postponed.

    A new date will be announced for the reconvened meeting once arrangements have been confirmed.

    Thank you for your understanding.

    The TRF Board of Directors

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