SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. -- More than 150 military motorcyclists participated in the 1st Marine Logistics Group quarterly motorcycle mentorship ride here, May 6.
The Marines began at Camp Pendleton and rode 56.1 miles around San Diego County. The purpose of the ride was to promote camaraderie amongst the service members and educate them on basic motorcycle maintenance, physical effects of motorcycle riding, and to reinforce safe riding techniques.
The event began with a motorcycle ride registration and brief, which included topics such as trip risk assessment, motorcycle safety, driver awareness, surroundings and hazards, responsible riding techniques, passenger safety, proper use of personal protective equipment, group ride techniques and proper motorcycle maintenance inspections.
Following the brief, service members were given the opportunity to participate in the mentorship ride, which consisted of groups of six or fewer riding together on a pre-planned route that provided an opportunity for experienced riders to mentor and share riding techniques with less-experienced riders.
“Today is the largest club ride that I have participated in,” said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Schiermeier, safety and environmental officer for 1st MLG. “We had 156 riders today, and 310 participated in the briefs this morning.”
These quarterly rides provide an opportunity for Marines to enhance their riding skills by pairing up with those who have been riding for a longer period of time and have more experience, added Schiermeier, 38, from Saint Louis, Miss., who has been riding for three years.
“I thought it was an outstanding experience for individuals,” said Sgt. Frank Fransen, disbursing clerk, Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st MLG. “The Marine Corps has taken such an active role in motorcycle riders. They have made countless opportunities for the Marines to go out and do training. Not only do they provide [the] basic riders course, which teaches Marines who have never touched a motorcycle before how to ride a motorcycle, but also advanced training geared for sport-bike riders and cruiser riders.”
The service members enjoyed the opportunity to practice their riding skills, said Fransen, 25, from Chicago.
“Ninety percent of the Marines that ride motorcycles do it because they enjoy riding. They enjoy going out on the road and having that time to themselves to decompress, and this was just another opportunity for them to do that,” said Fransen, who has been riding for more than three years. “It’s what we want to do. Riders want to ride.”
There was a lot of good fellowship amongst the riders, from all ranks, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Timothy A. Gerdes, intelligence chief, 1st MLG, who has been riding for four years.
“I thought it was really good,” said Gerdes, 39, from Princeton, Ill. “[I] thought we had a great turnout; it was great to see all of the Marines [that] were able to come out and get some experience riding together in a group.”