TRF:Hi Steve. You’ve been a key member in the recent push to get the TRF Northern Group up and running again. Could you give us a little background?
Steve:As part of the initial TRF setup, there were regional groups all over the UK, over time they have slowly disappeared but the northern one has remained. The first I knew about it was a conversation with Steve Pighills, who asked me to help set up the next meeting around Hawes.
TRF:It’s interesting that there is a need for a regional collective. What’s the purpose of the group?
Steve:In simple terms, it’s about pooling and sharing collective experience, knowledge and processes with the aim to improve the overall situation of all the groups involved. Teamwork I would say is the key word.
TRF:I guess a key aspect of the group is sharing info and knowledge. It’s easy to just focus on what goes on in your own TRF local club, but most people end up riding across county borders on a day out.
Steve:Each area has its own unique situations and interactions, by sharing these we can start to see the patterns and the develop strategies that benefit the whole of the TRF.
TRF:In the past it would have been important for people from the Northern Group to meet in person. Are you using new tech this time round to connect people?
Steve:Face to face meetings achieve an awful lot is a short space of time, so they are important. But with today’s modern communications they don’t have to be the only way to communicate. We’ve looked at Skype, Facebook and WhatsApp communications so we can all chat as we need. Everyone leads such busy lives these days making the most of technology is a no brainer really. When you create a private group, all the participants can see the group, they can be invited to be part of it and it’s then up to them to either accept or delete the invite. Once you’re in the group, they can be seen on FB with the banner picture and the description and that’s it. What goes on inside the group is private. The only ground rules are the ones the group agree and other members
TRF:Thanks Steve and good luck with the Northern Group.
TRF:Hi Doug. Congratulations on being voted in as our latest TRF Director! I think you are our most northern representative for a while.
Doug:Thanks Greg I volunteered because I am first and foremost a trail rider. Living up here in North Yorkshire we have some of the greatest roads in the country. The TRF has had some excellent success particularly in the last few years and we can now build on that to further secure our network up here. I look forward to helping with that.
TRF:It makes sense that you would Chair the Northern Group, seeing as you can take issues back to the TRF Board as and when they arise. What do you think the benefit of having a Northern Group is?
Doug:Working together and sharing knowledge is key. The Northern group will focus more on the Technical or Rights of Road stuff in support of the regional groups. Having a common or unified approach makes us more effective and quicker at dealing with Rights of Road issues. Recently we have had some great successes by leveraging the knowledge of the collective brains of the TRF and local members and we need to make sure this approach & knowledge is fully utilised on our northern road network too. By virtue of this countries geography and demographics the centre of activity is south of us so we need to bridge that gap.
TRF:Are there any key issues going on at the moment in the north?
Doug:Yes and the really good news recently has been the success we had in overturning the TRO on Seggimire. We have also great relationships with Highway Authorities and National Parks and these have been put to use on the Coach Road and the well published events on Deadman’s Hill. Our events up here are all fully subscribed, which shows the healthy state of trail riding and the interest in things “oop North”. The big challenges we have at the moment are still the “anti movements” and the unsocial and illegal use of public and private land. We are working right now with a local landowner who wants out help in curtailing what he describes as “ferule motocrossers”. He does however have utmost respect for the TRF, its members and its excellent webpage!
TRF:Not all the northern TRF groups are represented yet are they? Is there a message that you would like to give to any others that may not know what the group is about?
Doug:Yes I will reach out to all groups shortly and they are very welcome to join us or get in touch. We meet quarterly and monthly via conference calls. If you are struggling to get traction on an issue or want to understand TRF strategy on it just give me or Steve a call. Doug.firstname.lastname@example.org Finally we have had great success up in the North just this year and want to build on that to secure other roads. What we need are more members to help out. Anything from simply taking an interest in a particular road, volunteering to fill in some potholes to organising events.