As summer gets into its stride so do the bike shows. Celebrating all that is great about two wheels strapped to a combustion engine, they draw in the crowds from far and wide. What better place to introduce the TRF to new members.
Steve Ives (Herts TRF) is part of a team that recently signed up over 60 new members in one weekend. Here he shares a few tips and explains why he keeps coming back for more.
So Steve, you’re originally from New Zealand. I imagine riding out there is something else. How does it compare to your experiences in England?
In New Zealand I also belong to a club the ''South Waikato Motorcycle Club''. We rode every weekend in the winter, Saturdays were used to mark out the tracks in the forest, there were no real permanent tracks, we applied for a permit and then hacked a track through the bracken etc, up to 70km worth, Sundays were for riding other clubs routes similar to Enduroland type activities, but longer tracks. There was no actual ROW (Rights of Way) as such, and this is why I like riding in the UK, you can get out your maps, check the validity of the route and go out for a days ride, fantastic.
I understand that you have been a TRF Group chairman in the past. This must have helped when you decided to get involved in helping at some of the TRF events. Why do you think these are a good way of introducing people to the TRF?
When I came to the UK, I was not aware of the great feature that is ROW. I did a lot of riding around Derbyshire with friends that knew the routes, but I moved away from this area, to Wokingham area, Loddon vale.
I was struggling to get to know where to ride and what was legal and what was not. Then I came across the TRF, a great bunch of people, and they knew the legal routes, had the maps, which were shared. Soon I had a lot of routes, learnt them and ultimately became a run leader.
I moved again to the Hertfordshire area. It was simple this time, get hold of the local TRF group and go riding - another great group and very proactive and involved in the community, hence why I think if you want to get out and ride, with a great bunch of people then joining the TRF is a fantastic way to start and continue.
It's important to get involved in promoting the TRF, whether it is via an event or just out on the lanes. Either way you are able to explain what the TRF stands for and the benefits of being a member.
For me, events are the best. You get to talk to a lot of different people from all walks of life, you get to speak about the TRF and then see the enthusiastic response is a great feeling.
The last show I introduced a new couple that had just moved to the area and were keen to get out and ride, as well as an old guy who was just getting back into it and wanted someone to ride with. You also get to share in the atmosphere of the show and as you are working on the stand the TRF pay for your ticket, a bonus.
How does a typical event unfold? Do you get involved in the planning or are you just there to talk to people?
It normally starts with Mario asking for volunteers at the monthly meeting to support an event - hands go up and the planning starts, other methods are via the Facebook site.
I have not organised one from start to finish, as my job did not give me the time, so I just turn up, talk to the passers by and take it from there. I stay around to the end of the event and help tidy up the stand etc... it's always a great day out and very rewarding.
The Carole Nash event that you were part of signed up about 60 members over three days. That’s over £3k into the fighting fund in a very short amount of time. How did you do it? Why do you think it was such a successful weekend?
Yes a great event, and free entry to the show. We had a excellent stand set up by Mark for the 3 days, I arrived early Sunday to find it all set up, banners etc. I brought along a few videos on my Huddle and started them running to show some of the routes, I used this to engage people when they stopped to look.
The best thing I believe is keeping busy, enthusiastic, standing, smiling, catching someone's eye and making verbal contact.
Ask them what what might have caught their eye or what interested them in the stand... engage in causal conversation and take it from there. It is good also to believe in what you are saying as this will come across genuinely. Once engaged, I would normally start by asking what their ride is, where they ride, and then explain about the TRF and what the benefits are. Most people I speak to don't know what the TRF are, and I enjoy explaining it.
I find the most common questions are "I don't know where to ride", or "I would like someone to ride with", and that's where the TRF groups can help. And the best part is seeing someone new out on a ride or at the next meeting talking about the great time they had out on the lanes.
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom to any TRF members that might be thinking of getting involved in organising or taking part in an event this year?
Get there early, get involved, smile, be polite, be engaging and best of all enjoy the experience and make the most of the day.
The TRF firing on all cylinders at the Hertfordshire Country Show
Steve and the newest member of the TRF
Not your typical view of a trail rider, Mario shows off the latest marketing banners
High vis helpers
The TRF rely on volunteers to put on shows throughout the year. We have a full exhibition kit available that includes exhibition stands, banners and promotional materials.
If you would like to get involved and be part of hosting a show in your region get in touch with Mario.