Military Motorcycle Safety Dude

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by DTDowning, May 3, 2018.

  1. DTDowning

    DTDowning Simpli Fy

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    Good Afternoon, All:

    From Sunny Southern California comes the call for all inputs. I have been the Squadron Motorcycle club president for a few months now, and the squadron has just returned from deployment. I am in charge of scheduling riding courses, doing check rides, TCLOCS inspections, and making sure everyone is up to snuff -just in case- something happens while riding a motorcycle. After the unit's last deployment, there were 8 separate incidents including one fatality within 6 months of return.

    I have been riding for 7 years and about 60-70k miles, everything from standard to sport touring to dual sport. This is my passion, its what gets me truly excited and I love to share it. My first advice to anyone looking to get into it is "go take the basic riders course, then we can talk purchasing and follow-on training". Looking for help with the following issues:

    -Good interactive training to occur on a monthly basis (good videos? discussion topics?)
    -Thoughts to introduce on quarterly group rides (start with hard braking drills? cone drills?)
    -Engaging older/experienced riders to be lifelong learners, convincing them to take part in quarterly training
    -Keep. New. Riders. Off. Liter. Bikes.
    -A good mixed drink recipe and Rogaine recommendations for when they all leave and go home

    This is where I thought this discussion might make the most sense, apologies in advance Mods.
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  2. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    I'll start with TCLOKS

    I and many others as well as yourself can probably relate incidents where a properly performed preride inspection has revealed an issue with the bike that had the potential to turn deadly. Or less dramatically served to prevent a citation for equipmemt failure, like a burnt signal or tailight bulb.

    The best (worst) was the day I was checking tire pressure, and the valve stem cracked and broke off....glad I didn't ride that day without checking my tire pressures.

    I'm also an advocate of regular, close up hand washing of the motorcycle. It helps become more intimate with the machine, and discover small maintenance issues before they become equipment failures.

    This is as good an interactive lesson as it gets...and a good place to share and learn maintenance.

    As to liter bikes...that would a tough one.
    Think about it, these are war fighters.
    I was one long ago, but I promise it be hard to give me a SAW during the week, then tell me I had to use a nerf gun on the weekends. Best I could suggest is to ask them to consider confining spirited riding to the track. Not even sure DOD rules permit them to engage in track days?

    Also, stupid on a 650, is going to hurt almost as much as stupid on 1000cc,
    except the F=mass x acceleration part of the crash.

    Be honest about that part and the consequences of riding too fast for conditions and or skill level.
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  3. aldend123

    aldend123 Long timer

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    While I like training, I suspect the people you need to reach most aren't already engaged. The training for them becomes another burden, another aspect of bureaucracy.

    Is your audience the type who spends time in combat zones, is maybe more comfortable than average joe with risk and likes excitement? If so, I'd be looking at track days, or something close to it. Safe place to have fun that people are more likely to want to attend. Still serve as a skills training scenario. Rides shape the culture and set the tone. I think it's easy for a rider to 'learn' from other riders. If the leaders in a group think sketchy passes and an overly aggressive pace are fine, it becomes easier to do the same. The conversations between riding is where the non-sense gets passed around and myths get shared. Put on your own group rides and you can help point things in the right direction.

    Re: 8 incidents and a fatality, what is the rough number of people in the unit, and how many are riders? Because I'm wondering whether it's notably above average.
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  4. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I think this is extremely important, especially for our people in uniform as they come back amped up and ready to ride. I heard the armed forces were beginning to focus on solutions, so it's good to put a face to the concept.

    Up in the SF Bay Area, there is a guy named Doc Wong that does workshops for everything from sport riding, to body position (Doc is a chiropractor by profession), to off road skills. I wonder if there are similar courses down south. Maybe you, or the more experienced riders, could duplicate those courses informally and for free? edit: after reading the last response, these "workshops" might be better attended if you present them as competitions. Set up cones in a parking lot and have them compete for best time (aka gymkhana). Set up an off road course full of obstacles and call it a rally.

    Track days are another great way to get your thrills without getting creamed by a car. I'm not sure what tracks you have in San Diego, but Buttonwillow in Bakersfield might be an option. It takes a bit of cash up front for the race leathers and other gear, but then the cost is just track time itself. That runs $150-$250 per day usually. Set up a big pit area, and encourage your riders to come hang out. They'll be hooked pretty quick.

    Track days also highlight the extreme capability of smaller bikes. The track day providers rent 300cc sport bikes! 600cc is probably the most common. For all but the top racers, liter bikes are a hindrance on the track more than anything else.

    In NorCal, they even have supermoto track days. The CRF450 with 17" street wheels is a common bike for that, and can really be flogged on the track. I had a guy on one beating me on my Aprilia 750! I went over to his pit and gave him props for his riding. He was all smiles.

    Finally drinks...When I was over in Virginia City Nevada I happened into a bar where the guy was making a drink called "picon". It was named for the brand of bitters he used. Angostura is what I use, since they are more easily found. Basically, the drink consists of brandy, splash of dry vermouth, 6-10 drops of bitters, and a dash of Rose's cherry. I like to use a decent whisky, or Christian Brothers brandy. It's kind of like an old fashioned. Some people have no tolerance for the bitters, but my wife and I like them.

    Another simpler drink is the ol' Linchberg Lemonade. I would recommend something a little more top shelf than regular JD to avoid the hangover, even if it's just Gentlman Jack. Half-and-half; whisky and lemonade.
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  5. DTDowning

    DTDowning Simpli Fy

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    I cruise through the parking lots every morning on my way into work checking fluids and chains, looking at the tires and such as well. We start off the rides with TCLOCS and that gets filed into everyone's folder. Its beginning to become habit for many, with one rider holding off on riding (reportedly) because he knew his front tire wouldn't pass inspection. My rear tire recently shot out a nail that was holding the air in which made for a very interesting cruise to the shoulder of the freeway. Luckily I swerve a little bit every 5 miles or so to make sure the tires are behaving and caught it early.

    The hand washing bit is a good one to pass on. Thank you for that. Used to have to do the same to my go-karts for the same reason (pops has been espousing that one).

    The liter bike one is an interesting beast indeed. My go-to way of trying to get people off liter bikes is to go against em on a KLR/dual sport on a closed course. Unless the rider is the type that can actually handle the liter bike, I can generally make my point.

    RE: Other Training
    The USMC is currently putting TONS of money into training. This month alone, we have 2 different days of the Yamaha riding instructors coming out to teach guys on their own bikes, 2 weekends of California superbike school (using their bikes, generally 1500$ a day), and various other courses. In addition, basic and advanced rider courses are available every week. As a motorcycle mentor, I was able to go to a mentor training course with dirt and street techniques. We get a day off work to dress up in civilian clothes and ride all day, the interest is there.

    The flip side to NOT getting the training is that, if I find you and find you haven't been telling the command about your riding, the CO can yank all base driving privileges. I'm a pretty low guy on the totem pole, but I'm running this program for the CO, and its an inspectable item by the Commanding General. On top of all of this, if you crash and get hurt your medical isn't covered if youre not in compliance. If you turn into a red stain on the pavement, life insurance won't pay out.

    I'm good friends with the owner of a supermoto/gokart track an hr away where its 35$ to ride what ya got all day. Thatll be a good ride.

    RE: Incident Rate
    We have about 300 personnel, about 20-30 riders. Some of those incidents were the same idiot twice, one of them was two idiots at once, the fatality was a brand new rider on a crotch rocket on Palomar Mountain. Unfortunately, we are not out of the norm.

    RE: Drinks
    -Going to have to try those

    Thanks, All, keep em coming.
    #5
  6. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore The Real Deal

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    I've never been, but a buddy of mine goes here a lot. Says it's great fun, and pretty cheap too. See if you can ge the command to spring for it.

    http://socalsupermoto.com/
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  7. Chaostrophy

    Chaostrophy Been here awhile

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    For a drink that always surprises me by just how relaxed the first sip makes me feel:

    Center Of The Galaxy
    1/2 oz lime
    1/2 oz demerara syrup (2 parts mostly white 1/4 brown sugar to 1 part water)
    1/2 oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)
    1/2 oz sg george raspberry liquor
    2.0 oz blended aged rum (I use El Dorado 8 year)
    pinch of cinnamon sprinkled on top

    Shake all but the cinnamon with ice, strain into glass, dust with the cinnamon.

    From Martin & Rebecca Cate's book "Smugglers Cove" (and their bar of the same name in San Francisco)

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
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  8. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    This isn't the first thread that discusses the issue of military rider training and compliance standards. I read and follow them with great interest, if only to consider the positive and negative aspects.

    The previous comment about running a SAW during the week, and then feeling as though you are limited to a Nerf gun on weekends, is pretty accurate. How much hand-holding do our warfighters, young men in their prime, require? Collectively, how much of it can they reasonably be expected to tolerate?

    When I was on active duty, nothing of the foregoing -- rider training, inspections, "safety vests", snitching to the CO -- existed. Simply present your bike's Reg & Ins cards at Central Personnel to receive your Base pass sticker. "Be safe" was all we might have heard. Nobody died.

    I wonder if the absence of coddling (the verdict that time and perception has rendered here) was arguably a net good in its own right as compared to the "TONS" of resources that are being invested today.
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  9. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore The Real Deal

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    That was always the threat, but it never actually happened that I knew of. Does it actually happen now? Do you know anyone personally who got screwed like that?
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  10. JohnnyWaffles

    JohnnyWaffles Been here awhile

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    I think all the riding tips and advice posted are fantastic, however I'd also look more into treating the cause in addition to the symptoms. The cause is feeling invulnerable after a deployment, trying to adapt to civilian/garrison life and/or attempting to regain that high of being on a combat deployment. These can be what leads to the questionable rider decisions in the first place. I'm sure you're on board and aware - just giving my $0.02

    The beginners track day is a an excellent suggestion, especially if it's organized efficiently and succinctly (you need this equipment, show up at this time, etc.) like everything else in the military. I've always wanted to do a track day but it's an intimidating process and it'd be more fun with a group of like-minded individuals or peers.
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  11. CSI

    CSI Long timer

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    Training needs to be:

    1: What will do the most good. Are people crashing while doing cone drills, or while riding at normal traffic speeds?

    2: What will gather the most interest. I personally think the idea of getting some instructors from a racing school to give a class once a year would be FANTASTIC. Lee Parks Total Control...the Yamaha Champions Riding School....there are quite a few of them in the California area (sorry, I didnt notice or read far enough to see where you are)

    Is the Military willing to pay for any of this training? If so, the MSF Advanced Course would be a good option. It doesnt cover any high speed stuff, but it goes beyond the initial "this is how to ride a motorcycle" training that the basic MSF Course covers.
    #11
  12. DTDowning

    DTDowning Simpli Fy

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    [/QUOTE]The previous comment about running a SAW during the week, and then feeling as though you are limited to a Nerf gun on weekends, is pretty accurate. How much hand-holding do our warfighters, young men in their prime, require? Collectively, how much of it can they reasonably be expected to tolerate?

    When I was on active duty, nothing of the foregoing -- rider training, inspections, "safety vests", snitching to the CO -- existed. Simply present your bike's Reg & Ins cards at Central Personnel to receive your Base pass sticker. "Be safe" was all we might have heard. Nobody died.
    [QUOTE/]

    Nobody is forced to buy only a 200 to start, nobody has to wear a full jacket all the time (long sleeves, gloves, helmet -even half helmet- and over the ankle shoes are required), and so long as they have a basic and advanced course --paid for by the military-- they can ride. There is a very big grammatical difference in the aviation world between SHOULD and SHALL. Should means its important. Shall means its required and non-compliance will be punished. If it's not a "shall", it simply doesn't get done. Motorcycle training is a shall because some things are adapted to the lowest common denominator. For a long time at 29 Palms, we lost more marines to motorcycles than to the enemy. 29 Palms is where we keep our grunts, our warfighters, our frontline dudes--and we lost more to bikes than to the Taliban. This training and basic safety gear is a shall. This is money well spent.

    "back in the day" if you were driving drunk in town and made it to the gate on base, you were safe. Now, base is more restrictive than town, and if you roll in with a .02 on many bases you can land your ass in the brig. This is a new military. As a personal aside, I'm in no mood to snitch to anyone about a rider--if the guy doesn't have training I simply sign em up for the next class. I want them to have training, not get punished.

    As for the incidents after deployments, I see them coming up as one of two categories and I have been guilty of both:
    1-Brand new riders with pockets full of deployment cash and are able to buy more bike than they can handle (it's how I ended up on the trunk of a Nissan Sentra)
    2-Experienced riders who think that they are riding at the same level that they left at

    Lastly, addressing the insurance and payout bit:
    -Asking if the family received money is an incredibly intrusive matter for me to be asking about.
    -The investigations for an off-duty death go as far as seeing what and when the last thing the Marine ate was.
    -Even if it hasn't been enforced, the choice is no longer in the Marine's hands if they don't fulfil the requirements. In the matter of $500k, I want that choice in the hands of my Marines, not the insurance company.
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  13. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    Easy to get complacent after a combat tour. "Made it through that so I'm golden" plan can be lethal. Instill in your guys/ladies/persons the same Army training that helped get them home is still a must on the streets. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. Gotta keep your head in the game constantly/actively looking for hazards. Space out...pay the price.
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  14. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    Yes, it is.

    I live close to an Army installation. My safety vest comment follows from what I see the riders wearing over their BDUs, esp. during drill weeks in the summer when Reserve members commute in.
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  15. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore The Real Deal

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    So the answer is no. You don't know anyone that it actually happened to. The point being, if you tell them that and it doesn't happen, they start to think you're full of shit.
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  16. Deviant

    Deviant aka KTM 1290SAdvR

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    Man, how did I ever survive the military without monthly training?

    If you're going to wreak a 1000cc bike you're going to wreak a 600 too. Big (sport) bikes have a bad rap because of the people that buy them, they are no more (or less) unsafe or difficult to ride than a 600.

    Between the Nürburgring, club racing, two deer, getting rear ended, and getting run over in an intersection I've laid down a my share of bikes - none of them had anything to do with displacement. And the worst I've ever been injured was after a 15mph tip over on a flat field dinking around on an adv bike.

    Talking people out of the bikes they like will never work. Don't let your bias alienate your audience.
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  17. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    I like the idea of setting up a gymkhana, and even a low speed extreme control course too. you'd be surprised how many people can't keep their bike upright without putting their feet down at 2mph.
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  18. D R

    D R Been here awhile

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    TCLOCS is good for the motorcycle.

    Teach I'M SAFE for the rider.

    I - Illness or symptoms
    M - Medication (prescription or OTC)
    S - Stress: job, family,financial, health, emotions, etc.
    A - Alcohol - how long ago was that last drink?
    F - Fatigue - are you adequately rested?
    E - Eating - adequate nourishment before setting off
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  19. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

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    Still trying to understand how alcohol and motorcycling betterment are related. About 25 years ago, I had a student that "had" to consume 6 to 10 beers during their trackdays. So "she could ride." Just amazing, the ego plays on the human brain.

    Since this isn't a BRC, I like to add BRAKES to the TCLOCS inspection. I won't ride a bike unless I've inspected the brake pad material thickness/condition. On a bike with drums, I'll check the actuation arm travel.
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  20. Megamoto

    Megamoto Yes, I do look like this.

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