Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
The motorcycle community has a bond that can form between strangers through the simple joy of riding. They give each other the biker’s wave, a greeting reserved for riders alone.
No matter the style of bike they ride, motorcyclists stick together. The road is dangerous, especially to them. It’s two wheels against four.
The biker community is a large part of the Marine Corps. The love of riding draws motorcyclists together all over the Combat Center and has become a common activity among units to bring together Marines of all ranks.
Combat Logistics Battalion 7 had their monthly motorcycle outing Dec. 12 from the Combat Center to Willie Boy’s Saloon in Morongo Valley, Calif. The battalion rides not only build unit cohesion, but instill motorcycle competencies and encourages safety among brothers.
“The inexperienced riders sometimes don’t get to get off this base and on long rides,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Ramirez, company gunnery sergeant, Headquarters and Service Company, CLB-7, and the motorcycle mentorship staff noncommissioned officer in charge for the battalion. “We do these once a month to build camaraderie, encourage ongoing education and skills and obviously reduce the potential for mishaps on motorcycles.”
When they aren’t riding, the battalion gets the riders, together for a motorcycle meeting to talk and refresh Marines in motorcycle safety.
“We try to alternate between rides and motorcycle meetings,” Ramirez said. “We discuss all kinds of stuff, mechanics, basic safety gear, riding techniques. Overall safety of the Marines is the number one priority.”
On the morning of the ride, the Marines met at the battalion headquarters building with their bikes. The group was diversified in rank and styles of motorcycles.
The majority of the morning was spent filling out motorcycle inspection sheets and talking about their bikes. What they had, the modifications to their rides, their old bikes, what they planned on getting next and even a little teasing over the age-old rivalry between sport bike riders and cruisers.
When CLB-7 Marines saddled up and began riding, they fell into formation as one to make the 80-mile round trip.
“I think these rides encourage Marines to ride safe. For the younger Marines, I’m sure they like to ride more than work,” Ramirez said. “But everybody has got an interest and that’s what brings us together.”