Photo Information

Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks with members of the I MEF/ I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group Motorcycle Club before a group ride at Camp Pendleton, May 30. The Marines began their ride at Camp Pendleton and rode approximately 25 miles around the southern portion of base. The purpose of the ride was to build camaraderie within the unit and educate the riders on basic motorcycle maintenance, and safety.

Photo by Cpl. Mark Garcia

Motorcycle club builds camaraderie through group ride

31 May 2013 | Cpl. Mark Garcia

Approximately 20 Marines from the I Marine Expeditionary Force/ I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group Motorcycle Club participated in a monthly group ride from Camp Pendleton around the south of the base, May 30.

The Marines began their ride at Camp Pendleton and rode approximately 25 miles around the southern portion of base. The ride was held to help build camaraderie within the unit and educate the riders on basic motorcycle information.

A brief was given before the ride, which included topics about new riders, trip risk assessment, motorcycle safety, driver awareness, surroundings and hazards, responsible riding techniques, passenger safety, proper use of personal protective equipment, group ride techniques and motorcycle maintenance inspections.

Service members were split into groups of six or less for the pre-planned route.

“I’m actually looking forward to doing all this,” said Staff Sgt. Michael S. Almendarez, the subsistence chief with field mess I MHG, and the motorcycle club president. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are: you could have been riding a dirt bike since you were four years old, but when it comes to street riding, it’s going to be different.”

Almendarez said the practice and experience the group ride brings will help keep service members safe while riding their motorcycles through the summer.

“I think whether you’ve been riding for 15 years or even five months, every now and then you need to dust the cobwebs off your bike because people get rusty,” said Almendarez, from Fontana, Calif. “It’s one of those things where if you don’t do it you kind of lose it. So with summer coming out a lot more people are coming out to ride. So we need to make sure Marines are being knowledgeable about what’s going on because more safety accidents happen during the summer so we’re trying to prevent that.”

Staff Sgt. Cary Anderson, the information operations chief with I MEF, from Olive Branch, Ill., who has been a part of the motorcycle club for six months, said safety is the club’s top priority.

“I’m glad to see a lot of people showing enthusiasm,” Anderson said. “All it’s going to do is help prevent accidents, bring camaraderie to the MEF and at the same time it’s going to give these younger riders more experience so we’re not having more casualties out on the road. It brings more experiences from other riders to let other people know what they need to look out for and how to prevent accidents.”