From Sydney to Wiltshire TRF on an Australian ‘postie bike’March 30, 2015
Popping the trail riding cherryApril 13, 2015
Who runs the TRF? It's members of course. The TRF is led by a small team of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time and efforts as Directors of the company. A challenging task that covers everything from legal, financial, marketing and membership through to technical and governance issues. John Vannuffel is our current Technical Director. Here he explains why he volunteered, the rewards he gets from leading the club and what his vision is for the year ahead.
(Pictures courtesy Jon Bentman)
What does a TRF director do?
"I look after the technical side of the TRF, all the legal matters as well as administration of claims of Rights Of Way and looking after any members that might be prosecuted."
"We have a very good legal team that we work with but we are looking to recruit more"
"It's about 20 hours a week. There's a lot of organising of structures and making sure that TRF money is used efficiently. Financially for the directors role I am not paid, but when you see something that you have put in a lot of time for achieved and actually get out on the ground and ride a lane that you've played a significant part in saving… that's reward enough, it's fantastic."
What does 'conservation' mean in the context of Green Lanes?
"Conservation is not new, it's what the TRF has always done. Conservation means the proper use of nature. We need to make sure that Green Roads are used properly as opposed to being abused or worse still, not used at all because they become lost. "
"Why are we starting to use the term 'Green Roads'? Technically, a 'lane' is a minor road that connects two major roads. When we look at our network we discover that some of the routes that we use are in fact major roads. We use the term Green Roads in preference to lanes so that it encompasses all the routes that we enjoy. Road is also associated with something that was engineered to accommodate vehicular traffic. "
'Fighting for our green lanes' is quite a rallying call. From your point of view, what does it mean?
"I think that if we get to the point of fighting in courts then we haven't done things the best way possible. It's not always avoidable and we remain prepared to do it, but it's equally important to get to the point where we don't have to fight in the first place. The way we can avoid the fight is to use our wealth of experience and knowledge to find ways to work with authorities to make sure lanes can be available to and enjoyed by all users."
"It's not just a financial issue. It's a moral issue. All parties should be seeking to protect the public interest. And the public interest doesn't lie in having battle in courts, especially when there is a better outcome to be had by other means. A typical case costs, 15 to 20 thousand pounds, the higher up the courts we go the figure escalates."
What's your vision? What are you looking to achieve in your role as a director?
"In the short term, I want to improve the way we approach our claims to outstanding Byways. I want to improve the way our resources are being focussed."
"In the long term, I want to ensure that the TRF constitution is improved, a project that is currently underway. The holy grail is to get the Green Road network crystallised and protected, and have people and authorities in particular actually wanting green roads used by trail bikes."
Would you like to be a TRF director? We are currently looking for skilled and energetic members to take up posts across the organisation.
Get in touch with John for more information and be part of the TRF's future.