Green Knights encourage different way to ride

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- A local chapter of an international motorcycle club at Spangdahlem AB encourages camaraderie and safety among its riders.

The Eifel Riders Green Knights Chapter 27 has 32 active members who act in a mentorship capacity to bring together riders of all experiences.

The overall intent of the organization is to offer new or inexperienced riders a breadth of support and knowledge of riding in the Eifel. The roadways and hazards may be different than some encountered in the United States: slow-moving tractors, farm animals crossing the streets, feces along the roadway and switch-backed, steep roads.

Tech. Sgt. Shane Newell, 52nd Fighter Wing Safety traffic safety manager, said all of the base's recent motorcycle wrecks were from people new to riding or new to the area. The Eifel Riders Green Knights help to reduce the amount of mishaps.

"We're not the safety police," said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jim Onder, Eifel Riders Green Knights public affairs representative, "but we are genuinely concerned about rider safety. The club has a wide range of experience levels, and we love to share tips, tricks and information about the local area."

As the most-active overseas chapter, the club meets monthly to discuss emerging motorcycle news. They host monthly group rides where they partner bikers in correlation with their experience. Also, the club sponsors or participates in motorcycle rallies throughout Europe, with the latest being the inaugural European Knights of the Round Table gathering Aug. 2-3, 2013, at the sportplatz in Niederkail.

This rally was the first time that all of the European Knights were gathered in one place. The White Knights are riders from the medical community; Green is military; Blue is from the police force; and the red are from fire departments. More than 250 riders from across Europe gathered to share experiences and swap stories.

"You can get a wealth of knowledge and different perspectives," Onder said. "You have all these people to ask questions or help with logistics or maintenance. We can tell you the best riding spots and share information to make people more alert to dangers."

The motorcycle community is a tight-knit and smaller community, he continued. It's unknown what drives Airmen to ride, but he said he believes it is a more free way to get from point A to point B.

"At the end of a long day, I'd much rather drive the bike home than the truck," he said. "It's the open road -- you and two wheels, and that's it."

The meetings are the first Wednesday of every month at 4:30 in the conference room behind Kuhl Beans. For more information about the club, call DSN 452-5425 or 06565-61-5425.