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Riding for life - in the eyes of a Green Knight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shen-Chia Chu
  • 436th AW Public Affairs
The Green Knight is a character in a 14th-century Arthurian poem who is known as one of King Arthur's greatest champions and one of the most powerful knights in his courts.

A knight not only holds honorable military rank, they are bound to leading a life of chivalrous conduct - following a code of law called chivalry.

Known as a "rider," a knight travels by horseback. These mounted warriors are known to uphold the concepts and values of faith, loyalty, courage and honor.

Today, our "Green Knights" travel with a different kind of transportation, but they uphold the same code and values of a true knight.

The Green Knights Motorcycle Club is for military riders which began in 1999 and is formally recognized at Joint Base McGuire-Dix, N.J. The club educates people about fighting for bike rights, participation in charity events, discussing issues of the base and going on bike rides.

"This club is what we're all about, getting together to talk about what we love - motorcycles," said Master Sgt. Mike Hamblin, 436th Operations Group C-17 evaluator, who serves as a Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider coach and president of Dover Green Knights Chapter 49.

"This is a great way to meet others across the base with the same interests and learn from other's mistakes with riding.

"Every month, we have group rides and meetings. I've made some new friends who I can
ride alongside with in different states. It's a good way to network, getting to know some riders who are also mechanics who can share advice," he said. "There's a wide variety - from scooter rider to sport bike to full dresser Harley cruise bikes.

For the die-hard rider, a passion for making a run on motorcycles develops at a young age. For the Dover Green Knights Chapter Vice-President, what started out as a hobby at the age of five became more than just a favorite pastime.

"My father introduced me to riding and I had my very own bike which was a scooter, a dual purpose bike I used in high school," said Senior Master Sgt. Ed Renneckar, 436th Airlift Wing Plans and Programs Superintendent and Wing Motorcycle Safety representative, who has been riding for more than 30 years.

"I enjoy riding as a hobby and a profession," said Sergeant Renneckar. "It gives me time alone to charge my batteries while enjoying fresh air and the freedom of the open road. I really enjoy being a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Coach because I'm able to help both novice and experienced riders improve their skill and enjoyment of the sport."

Though this is the sergeant's fifth year as a rider coach, Sergeant Renneckar has taught more than 340 motorcyclists in the Basic Rider Course, Experienced Rider Course, Military Sport Bike Course and the Advanced Rider Course-Sport Bike Techniques.

The sergeant says in his experience and years of teaching, beginners often don't have the information they need for riding as they are starting out, so becoming a member of the Green Knights would be a way to get advice from an experienced community of motorcyclists.

"We have a growing number of riders who really enjoy our group rides, which is our most popular attraction," said Sergeant Renneckar. "We share tips on where the best roads or tracks are to ride in the Delmarva area, where to buy personal protective equipment, what the community is doing for motorcycle awareness, and most of all - we offer mentorship because all members owe it to each other to ride safe and to look out for others on two wheels."

Before popping a wheelie on one of these "scoots," learning the fundamentals of motorcycle safety is essential for any bike rider.

"Anyone interested in riding can take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course before buying or riding a street motorcycle," said Sergeant Renneckar.

The sergeant said he took his first safety course in 1990 with his Honda Knighthawk 700S. This motorcycle fanatic has also owned an impressive collection of motorcycles and sport-bikes such as a Knighthawk 750, "Naked" sport bike, Honda 919 and Ducati 1098.

"If you want to ride a sport bike, realize these machines are very powerful and require
advanced training before taking to the streets," said Sergeant Renneckar. "I encourage people to ride motorcycles as long as they assess the risk and know the consequences."

Riders can contact their Squadron Motorcycle Safety Representative about any training on base or in the local area.

"If you are a safe driver, you may be a safe motorcyclist. Many of the same rules of the road apply to riding a motorcycle, but riders must balance and be more focused on the task of riding with traffic and avoiding hazards," said Sergeant Renneckar.

Riders interested in joining the Dover Green Knights can find them on FaceBook for information, events and meetings. The club holds meetings at 3:30 p.m. the second Friday of the month at the 3rd Airlift Squadron (Building 204) in the auditorium. The short business meeting is followed by a group ride, if weather permits.