JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Fifteen motorcycles simultaneously roared to life June 4 in the Headquarters Command Battalion parking lot on the Fort Myer portion of the base as the battalion held its first motorcycle safety ride of 2014.

"We had a great turnout today, a lot bigger than I expected," said Staff Sgt. Pablo Robledo, ride organizer.

Participants began the day with a safety brief before mounting up for the ride, which took them down the George Washington Parkway to Mount Vernon, Route 1 and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle.

"All the experienced riders can share their experience with the novice riders, this way we can promote safety, the proper wear of gear and following all the rules of the road," said Robledo.

Master Sgt. James Meyers of the JBM-HH retention office recently made the switch from riding a sports bike for about 12 years to a cruiser. He saw the ride as a way to gain experience on his new bike.

"A sports bike is more laid back than a cruiser; with a sports bike you can take deeper turns," he said.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Archer, who is attached to Fort Belvoir's 212th Military Police Detachment, has been riding for about eight years.

"For me, it's a chance to hone those safety skills that sometimes you let go," he said. "And it's a chance to network with other riders in the area and get other Soldiers who are just learning to ride involved in the program as well."

Headquarters Command Battalion Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Mark Biehl and Command Sgt. Maj. Alex Pratt looked on as the group headed out.

"It's vitally important," said Biehl of the ride. "It's all about getting experienced riders to share techniques, going on a ride and making it safe. Even the most experienced riders can learn from other riders."

Lt. Ron Foster, chief of the traffic investigation section of the Directorate of Emergency Services, said the joint base's motorcycle policy, which applies to Fort Myer, Henderson Hall and Fort McNair, can be found online at www.jbmhh.army.mil.

To register motorcycles, service members are required to successfully complete a Department of Defense motorcycle safety foundation course, which is taught at nearby Fort Belvoir. More information on the classes can be found at www.belvoir.army.mil/safety/mc.asp.

Civilians only need to have the motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license.

Sgt. Terrell Tardy of Fort Belvoir's Military Police Detachment has only been riding his motorcycle for about two months.

"There are a lot of safety measures that come with riding a bike," he said. "You're the smallest man on the road, so you've got to be aware of your surroundings."

Terrell called the motorcycle safety classes and ride very informational, adding that they help ensure "you know what's right and wrong to do when riding a bike. Every time I go out, I pray. I make sure my day's already set, that my mind's clear, that I know what I'm doing."

Another safety ride is planned for September.

"Hopefully, with the turnout we had, the word can be spread out and we can have even more Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, civilians, anyone who wants to attend," said Robledo.

Page last updated Mon June 9th, 2014 at 00:00