FORT BLISS, TEXAS (November 6, 2009) - With most Army personnel packing away their motorcycles for the chilly winter months, soldiers and civilians from the Future Force Integration Directorate and the 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF) prepared for a quarterly Motorcycle Safety Ride along the pristine back roads to Hatch, New Mexico.

As part of the Army's Motorcycle Mentorship Program these motorcycle safety rides are becoming common place on Army bases worldwide. The rides are intended to provide mentorship for newer riders and to help to promote safe practices among motorcycle riding service members and civilians.

The ride included a total of seventeen soldiers and civilians, and two Marine Corps staff non-commissioned officers from the Marine Corps detachment on Fort Bliss.

The Mentorship ride began with a thorough inspection of the motorcycles and the riders personal protective equipment (PPE) along with a safety briefing and route explanation.

The group includes a rider who acts as a "sweeper" whose role is to keep an eye on any riders who separate from the group and to assist with keeping an accurate count of all riders.

The route began with a casual ride through the changing leaves of the scenic pecan orchards of route 28 in New Mexico with a leisurely stop at the Barnett Harley Davidson in Las Cruces.

The sales staff of Barnett Harley Davidson advised the riders that Both Barnett Harley Davidson Dealers in Las Cruces and El Paso feature "Women's Garage Nights" which act to educate and familiarize new female riders about motorcycle operation and safety in a non threatening environment. The dates can be found on the Barnett Harley Davidson websites.

The group then departed on a comfortable ride past the colorful desert scenery of highway 185 where the group stopped for lunch at the biker friendly restaurant, the Pepper Pot in Hatch, New Mexico.

Over lunch, the group shared stories about motorcycling encounters and offered safety tips to the new riders. The riders shared stories about maintenance on their motorcycles and how to anticipate other driver's actions.

Major Steven Lively, who led the group that day, shared a story about being attentive on a motorcycle. While stopped at a stoplight behind another car he heard the squeal of tires from behind and witnessed a Ford F-250 barreling down upon him with the tires locked and out of control.

Major Lively explained that by allowing room to maneuver he "gunned the bike, shot off into the median, as I heard a loud crash and the truck nailed the car, that I was in front of. If I had not given myself the room to get out of the way I'm sure that guy would have crushed me."

"It gives you something to think about, that you can never become complacent on the road" said Major Lively.

For more information, contact Wesley Elliott, FFID Public Affairs Office, at (915) 568-4278."