Soldiers with the 1916th Support Battalion got an opportunity to hone their motorcycle riding skills while bonding with fellow Soldiers earlier this month.
The battalion hosted a motorcycle mentorship ride from Fort Irwin to Kernville, Calif., June 8.Â The purpose of the ride was to promote motorcycle safety and esprit de corps, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Dustin, the 1916thâ€™s safety officer.
â€œThe basic idea is to point out to people to keep safety in mind,â€ he said.Â â€œSometimes riders will get overconfident and forget to pay attention.Â Riding is fun, but you can still really hurt yourself.â€
The mentorship ride, which was the battalionâ€™s first in 2012, Dustin said, began at 7:30 a.m. at the Fort Irwin Commissary with an overview of basic safety checks.Â At 8 a.m., the 15 participating Soldiers rode out of the post, arriving at Cycle Smiths bike shop at about noon for a briefing from staff about common maintenance and riding mistakes.Â The Soldiers arrived back at Fort Irwin at about 6 p.m.Â In all, the route covered more than 320 miles over mountains, drops, and straight-aways.
The routeâ€™s varied terrain and changes in elevation were one reason organizers chose it, said Warrant Officer 1 Benjamin Ridenhour, who helped organize the ride.
â€œThis particular one, right before Opportunity Leave, was meant to get people back into riding longer distances than just a few miles around post,â€ Ridenhour said.
While Army policy states that all Soldiers who ride motorcycles must participate in the mentorship program, not all do.Â There have been 33 motorcycle-related fatalities in the Army so far in fiscal year 2012, compared with 25 this time last fiscal year.
Ridenhour encouraged Soldiers to participate, saying that the program can make a difference in safety.
â€œItâ€™s not there to regulate everyone or to call anyone out,â€ he said.Â â€œItâ€™s there to make sure everyone is riding safely.â€