By Tina Ray/ParaglideMay 21, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - More than 200 people turned out for the XVIII Airborne Corps' motorcycle run Saturday, which began in the corps' parking lot and ended at Sandhills Cycle Center in Pinehurst, N.C. before returning to Fort Bragg.
The purpose of the mentorship ride was to teach servicemembers about motorcycle safety and techniques, said Sgt. 1st Class Oscar Romine of the XVIII Abn. Corps.
One hundred fifty bikes made the 110-mile ride that included a pitstop lunch at the Sandhills Cycle Shop.
The ride was in line with the Department of the Army's Motorcycle Mentorship Program, established to improve motorcycle safety for riders, Romine said.
Motorcyclists who want to ride on Fort Bragg are required to take a motorcycle safety course. The course teaches risk awareness and management. Each participant in the XVIII Abn. Corps' motorcycle run was responsible for his or her personal protective equipment, said Romine. PPE includes a Department of Transportation approved helmet with an impact-resistant face shield or goggles, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, ankle boots, full-fingered gloves, long pants and brightly-colored clothing or a reflective belt or vest.
First Sgt. Leon Cosey, XVIII Abn. Corps, served as the captain of street-bike riders at Saturday's run. A rider for 15 years, he had a few pointers for other cyclists.
"Ride within your comfort zone. Don't try to ride with the next person, but within your
capabilities," he said.
Cosey said participating in the run gave him the opportunity to catch up with old friends like Sgt. Justin Bailey of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment. The two previously served together in the same unit.
For Bailey, the ride meant being able to enjoy one of his favorite activities, he said. "(Riding) feels free. It's you, the wind and the road," said Bailey. "It's the only free experience you've got."
Master Sgt. Sharalyn Saliger, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) and husband, Capt. Rory Saliger of the 82nd Abn. Div. seemed to look forward to their ride to Pinehurst.
"It's nice to ride together and get out and enjoy nice air and sunshine," said Sharalyn, who rode a Harley Davidson 105th anniversary edition bike.
The ride was a safety stand down that allowed them to support their higher headquarters and to reinforce the cohesiveness of friends and Family, said Rory.
William Autry rode the route with his 12-year-old daughter, Amber. The two ride often, Autry said, but he has to alternate sharing rides with Amber, two other daughters and his wife.
One lesson Autry said he wants to pass along to his daughters is that riders have to maintain awareness. They cannot assume that other drivers see them at all times and they must look out for those drivers.
The motorcycle run was a great opportunity to get out of the house on a beautiful day and to reinforce lessons to his daughter, said Autry, after the race.
"I liked it. I learned about bike awareness and safety," he added.
Bailey said he enjoyed the ride.
"The ride was great. It was a great way of meeting new riders ... teaching everybody what safety is and what 'right' looks like."
For more information about the course, visit www.braggmotorcylecourse.com; to schedule dates and registration information, visit www.airs.lmi.org.