Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Jordan Castelan
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Engines rev, clutches engage and gears change as the wind whirls around the motorcycle. With the riding season just around the curve, motorcyclists prepare to saddle up once again.
Coinciding with the beginning of riding season is Ramstein’s mentorship rides. Mentorship rides are a way for the new, experienced and all riders in between to get out and become more comfortable on their bikes and enjoy the twists and turns of German roads.
“These rides are for riders to have fun, meet the other riders and to hopefully learn a new skill or technique,” said Master Sgt. Travis Madden, 86th Airlift Wing motorcycle safety representative.
Madden and Master Sgt. Jeremy Smith, 86th AW motorcycle safety representative, plan on leading the group through a two-and-half hour ride. Riders can expect a variety of different roads and minimal amounts of time spent on the autobahn.
“On these rides, more experienced riders can give pointers, help newcomers understand local laws, and possibly circumvent future mishaps by pulling back on the reins of someone that might be a little overzealous on their motorcycle,” said Tech. Sgt. Ryan Armour, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing mishap prevention NCOIC.
They all agree that mentorship rides are a way for riders to enjoy their time on the road and for riders
to increase their overall levels of safety.
Wing safety aims to have enough support for a second mentorship ride this season and expects positive turn outs for all of them.
Last year, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa held a single mentorship ride that had 20 riders covering much of the local German countryside.
“It’s great fun (riding),” Madden said. “You can feel the road; you can hear and smell all the things around you. Riding a motorcycle gives you a feeling of freedom. You become part of an exclusive group.”
Freedom that’s achieved by saddling up is on par with learning how to bicycle for the first time without training wheels, Madden said. It’s about the journeys and accomplishments.
For more information on how to begin riding and mentorship rides, contact your unit’s motorcycle representative or the wing safety office.