Two wheels of freedom
By LCpl. Garrett White
| Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow | March 27, 2014
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. --
The Motorcycle Mentorship Program on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., is a Marine Corps mandated program to help new and experienced Marines learn and maintain safe riding fundamentals.
To ensure riders are maintaining safe riding habits and fundamentals, the Marine Corps requires Marines who want to ride a motorcycle attend two riding safety courses, said Sgt. Julio Tovar, vice president of the MMP here.
The Basic Riders Course, the level one training teaches new riders the basic fundamentals of riding and operating a bike, explained Tovar. The Advanced Riders Course, the level two training course, is designed to teach riders advanced cornering skills and bike maneuvers. The ARC must be taken within 120 days of completing the BRC, and must be re-taken every three years thereafter.
While level three training isn’t a requirement for each individual rider, the MMP is required to have at least three of its members be level three certified to act as mentors to less experienced riders, Tovar added. Six of the MMP’s riders recently completed ‘Total Control’ an advanced riding course approved by the Marine Corps that meet its level three training criteria.
This training course teaches riders more advanced cornering, breaking and maneuvering techniques and makes riders apply them in a controlled, but more realistic riding scenario, said Tovar. It also teaches riders how to set up their bike’s suspension to better suit their personal riding styles.
Along with ensuring formal training is completed, the MMP also provides a motorcycle club-like environment to allow experienced riders to mentor those who are not as experienced, said Sgt. William Koeppe, President of the MMP here. As a motorcycle club, the MMP holds meetings that allow its members to discuss anything motorcycle related. This can range from new forms of personal protective equipment available, to discussing riding styles and techniques.
Though formal training, and discussion always help, the only way to apply these skills is to actually hit the road, explained Koeppe. To ensure riders are maintaining proper riding fundamentals, quarterly group rides are organized by the MMP and are based around the skill level of the weakest rider.
These group rides allow new and experienced riders alike to apply any training or riding tips they have learned in a real world setting appropriate to their riding skill, said Koeppe. This also allows riders to observe each other’s riding habits, and allows them to help correct deficiencies in others, or adopt new techniques to their own riding styles.
When everything is brought together, the goal is to make sure Marines are riding safely both themselves, and other riders on the road, concluded Tovar.