FORT CARSON, Colo. – Motorcyclists from three battalions within 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, participated in a check ride May 8, 2020.
The event provided the 1st SBCT motorcycle mentorship noncommissioned officer in charge, Master Sgt. Jason Stalnaker, an electronic warfare specialist from Newark, Ohio, an opportunity to oversee the inspection of the motorcyclists’ required documentation needed to safely and legally operate their motorcycles.
The Motorcycle Mentorship Program (MMP) is designed to support unit motorcycle safety efforts and foster an environment that emphasizes skilled and disciplined riding, according to the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.
“We check for registration, insurance, and motorcycle foundation cards to include the basic rider course I, basic rider course II and the military sportbike rider course,” said Stalnaker.
The check ride also served as an opportunity for Soldiers to build camaraderie with fellow motorcyclists and pair riders together to foster safe motorcycle riding practices.
One of the main ways the MMP does this is by hosting group rides and rallies, which is an aspect of the program Stalnaker finds valuable.
“I like getting everybody together and having riders know that there is a program out there that they can be a part of and share knowledge with each other,” said Stalnaker.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, social distancing did not stand in the way of the motorcycle mentorship program’s check ride.
“At a time like this, there’s no better way to social distance than being on a motorcycle,” said Stalnaker.
Stalnaker was not the only mentor present on the day of the check ride.
The 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st SBCT was one of the three battalions that participated in the day’s check ride. The battalion’s motorcycle mentor, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Atchison, a field artillery firefinder radar operator with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Bn., 12th FA Regt. , came out to oversee his unit’s riders prior to the check ride.
“[The motorcycle mentorship program] reiterates safety, and it gets Soldiers out to get riding since they may not have been able to do so during the winter,” said Atchison.
Atchison also discussed a detailed checklist which riders use prior to heading out on unit check rides called the T-CLOCS inspection, which ensures all motorcycles are inspected to the same standard.
“We make sure the bikes are running correctly, and [Soldiers] have the right safety gear,” said Atchison.
Mentors bring unique background and often decades of experience to these check rides.
Sgt. 1st Class Denver Stubbe, a cannon crewmember with Battery C., 2nd Bn., 12th FA Reg., 1st SBCT, said he first started riding motorcycles and dirt bikes under the mentorship of his parents when he was six years old and enjoys sharing experiences with his fellow riders.
“What I like about [these mentorship] rides is they bring all the other riders together – a little something outside of the work realm,” said Stubbe.
Stubbe also acknowledged it is never too late to increase your skills as a rider regardless of your experience level.
“Even though I’ve been riding for so long, you can develop skills all the time and become a better rider overall,” said Stubbe.
New and experienced riders can find purpose from the program according to Stalnaker, who believes check rides are much more than just joy rides during a duty day.
“For [new Soldiers] to be with other riders is teaching them new lessons that they might not know,” said Stalnaker.
This check ride is the first in a series of three motorcycle mentorship check rides throughout the month of May with the goal of ensuring all motorcycle riders across 1st SBCT participate in a ride.