So you want to ride a motorcycle?

  • Published
  • By Mark Sprayberry
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Safety Office
So, you've decided you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle. You remember hearing something about the Air Force requiring training before you can ride on base, but you're not sure. Who do you call to find out the requirements??

The first person you should contact is your supervisor. They can direct you to the unit motorcycle safety coordinator, who is your commander's righthand person on motorcycle issues. The USMC knows the requirements for training, proper riding gear and required briefings. Air Force Instruction 91-207 and the Air Force Materiel Command Supplement 1 contain all of the required information, which includes a one-on-one briefing by your commander concerning the risks you are assuming, an annual briefing from your supervisor and ensures you'll be receiving information concerning the local riding area from your UMSC.

In addition to all of that, you'll also have the opportunity to attend the second annual Pre-Season Riders meeting, being held at the Team Tinker Motorcycle Range from 10 a.m. to noon April 1. This year's event will include several professional riding demonstrations, the required annual briefing, the opportunity to buy burgers cooked by the U.S. Navy and to purchase high quality riding gear from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. All, in addition to being able to gawk over an estimated 400 motorcycles, courtesy of follow Team Tinker Riders.

Now, back to the requirements. AFI 91-207 requires that riders attend a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCourse. If you are a new rider, the Basic RiderCourse is for you. It teaches where the controls are and what they do, how the clutch works (friction zone), how to properly start, stop, turn and control the motorcycle as well as discussing how to interact with traffic. This two-day course is taught in Oklahoma City at either the Precision Drivers Training Center at OSU-OKC (Reno and Portland) or at the Oklahoma Riders Education Program at Northeast 36th Street near Martin Luther King Boulevard. Both locations provide motorcycles and helmets (bring your own helmet if you have it), but you must have the rest of the gear as required in AFI 91-207 -- long-sleeved shirt or jacket that is brightly colored during the day and reflective at night, long pants, over the ankle shoes or boots and full-fingered gloves, in addition to a Department of Transportation approved helmet and eye protection. Motorcycle specific gear is by far the best choice, as it provides the most protection available as well as looks good.

Those with more than six months of riding experience on their motorcycle, should take the Experienced RiderCourse. It takes over where the BRC leaves off, further explaining cornering and emergency braking. This course uses peer teaching techniques to assist learning as well as fine tuning your abilities and instilling a new level of smoothness in your riding. This one day class is taught at the Team Tinker Motorcycle Range, near the main choppette and post office.

The Military Sportbike RiderCourse, which is required for USN sportbike riders, is also offered. If you own a sportbike (Yamaha R, Suzuki GSX-R, Honda CBR, etc) or something with sporting characteristics (naked bikes, Motards, standards, etc) you can attend the MSRC. Primarily for active duty personnel, the class is opened up to all Tinker riders, but active duty personnel have priority. This one-day class, taught at the TTMR, takes cornering to the next level by introducing counter-weighting, although more time is spent on riding strategies and where to ride fast (the track, not the street!).

This year, officials are adding the Advanced RiderCourse. This class follows the curriculum of the MSRC while allowing all types of motorcycles to attend. Cruisers, tourers, baggers, customs and whatever else you call your ride can attend. This is also taught at the TTMR.

All on-base classes (ERC, MSRC and ARC) are taught at the TTMR and start at 6:45 a.m. unless otherwise arranged. The ERC meets at the TTMR, while the MSRC and ARC meet at the Safety Office Conference Room in Bldg. 1, room 100b. Enter at door B, on the south side of the building, near Tinker Federal Credit Union. A lunch break is provided for all classes and finish time is dependent on the class, usually near 4 p.m.

Sign up for all classes on the Tinker AFB Safety Web page. Click on the Safety Topics dropdown in the main menu, then click on Motorcycle Safety and follow the sign-up instructions. Read and fill in all required information. Fifteen people are allowed to sign up, although the class is limited to 12. If you are in the 13th through 15th slot, you are on a stand-by position. If the initial 12 don't all show up, the stand-bys fill the positions, so you must show up at the class and be ready to go. If you don't get in, you simply go back to work. If they do all show, the stand-bys are guaranteed a slot in the next class. You will receive an email confirming which class you are in and a reason why if you don't get in. If you have any questions, contact your USMC first. If they can't help, call the 72nd ABW Safety Office at 739-3263.