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SAM Weekly Newsletter – 8th March 2024

Editorial

It has been quite a week for SAM (Sheffield Advanced Motorcyclists). Many members are still, putting it politely, very upset at the developments from IAM RoadSmart. For those who don’t know, there was the sudden announcement of membership and advanced rider course price increases. This came after the charity announced, at the AGM in October 2024, an annual loss, for the year 2022-2023, of £1.7 million. There was an increase in total salaries of £350,000, for employees earning from £60,000 to £180,000. Employment costs would be an added burden for the charity. The differential price increases,  car drivers 12.5% and motorcyclists 18.6%, penalised motorcyclists. Many members are questioning whether IAM RoadSmart really represents and values its motorcycling members. Also, whether the social values of IAM RoadSmart align with those of SAM members and our local community. Some members have already stopped their IAM membership renewal and informed the charity of the reasons for the decision.

In more enlightening news this week, sometimes bikers are their own worst enemy. Kevin Williams was on a couple of biker forums last week helping forum users solve their biking problems. One forum visitor complained that the bike didn’t perform properly when cornering. Another forum member complained that the bike had started to be difficult to push in and out of the garage. Other forum members tried to be helpful. Were the brakes binding? Did the tyres need changing? Was the chain adjusted properly? Has the rider adjusted the suspension? Was the rider braking too late into a corner? It was none of these problems. The tyres were under-inflated. It’s always best to start with routine maintenance problems and work backwards to those that are more complicated. Just a thought.

I enjoy nothing more, other than writing this editorial, than reading and watching adventure bikers on their travels. In this week’s newsletter Itchy Boots hides from a heavy thunderstorm in an Angolan forest. Spencer Conway (no relation) forgets to buy food and water, crashes several times, breaking several ribs, gets caught in a storm and suffers hypothermia. Worse, he gets shot at by Kenyan bandits where the bullets miss him and smash the rear wheel and shred the tyre. He set out to experience the culture of the country! Sam Manicom interviews a couple of biking adventurers who are ‘thinking outside the box’. Taking a 30-year-old Moto Guzzi ($2,000), loading it up with a wood-burning stove, cooking pot with stirrer (fitted to the exhaust), a washing machine and outriggers. They are going to travel the world on this 460kg monster. We’ll watch their progress with a lot of interest. 

With a heavy heart, I’ve decided to step down from the SAM Committee. The recent changes at IAM, particularly the sharp price increases (double or triple inflation) alongside staff salary increases (double inflation), don’t align with my values of volunteering and responsible spending.

The massive increase in advanced rider course costs disproportionately affect those who need it most. Motorcycles are used because they are affordable personal transport.The current IAM policy feels deeply unfair. The CEO’s justifications come across as corporate jargon, further deepening my belief that the IAM leadership is out of touch with the concerns of its members, or the struggles of local people in our community.

I will continue supporting the SAM Committee until a replacement is found, but I urge IAM to re-evaluate its recent decisions and ensure they reflect the spirit of volunteerism and inclusivity that has always been at its core.

At least your newsletter has a lot of great reading and even something to smile about and I don’t think I’ll risk bullets in the bike. Pillion and I will still be having a lot of fun exploring some great places to visit.


Ways to stay in touch with your Club!

It’s really easy to stay in touch with your Club! We provide emails, a website and use social media accounts for you to contact us. All of which is free of any cost to the Club. If you are not getting the Club information circulated, or simply want to tell us something, just let us know at sam-editor@iam-sheffield.bike. We’ll be happy to ensure that we stay in touch with you. You can also now sign up for Club emails on the SAM website.


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