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AF cyclists form club, mentor new riders

Scott Hansen/JBLM PAO Members of the Wings on Wheels Riders Club conduct a safety briefing before a recent trip to Lacey.

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When Senior Master Sgt. Robert Cutchin arrived at JBLM McChord Field in 2009, the Air Reserve technician wanted guidance to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

Cutchin, with the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, was unable to find the instruction he needed and learned on his own where to take the motorcycle safety course and how to ride.

"A lot of people don't know where to start," Cutchin said. "I didn't. I had to figure this out on my own."

The senior master sergeant doesn't want the same for his fellow service members and formed the motorcycle riders' group, "Wings on Wheels," last December. The group serves as an opportunity for riders to build the esprit de corps, to promote motorcycle safety, to mentor young riders and to volunteer in the community.

"We're coming together as a group so we can do things out in the community," Cutchin said. "But we're going to do it on our bikes."

While the group formed six months ago, Wings on Wheels members had their first opportunity to ride as a group last Friday. A group of five riders - all Reservists - met at Heritage Hill on McChord Field. After a safety briefing in which they checked riding attire, equipment and tires, they rode in a staggered formation off McChord Field for a two-hour ride to Eatonville and on to Lacey. The group was easy to spot with Wings on Wheels rider patches on the backs of their jackets, but also because the lead bike is a former Hot Wheels show bike.

Lieutenant Paul Hall, also of the 446th ASTS, won his bike on eBay and has put 18,000 miles on his flashy wheels. The bike serves as Hall's commuter transportation, but with Wings on Wheels he's now able to stretch the bike's legs on long group rides.

"I'm really excited to be in a club now because of the camaraderie and we're promoting safety," Hall said. "We're not going to be doing wheelies up and down Interstate-5."

Hall's wife also has her own bike and she, along with other spouses and family members, are welcomed to ride with Wings on Wheels members.

Wings on Wheels plans to work with its active duty counterpart, the Green Knights, to spread the word about motorcycle safety.

"I think motorcycles get a bad rap and we don't want that," Cutchin said.

Wings on Wheels will spread its wings and take off this summer as they take their weekly rides and are spotted out in the community. The group can be spotted volunteering at the JBLM Air Expo July 21 and 22.

For more information about Wings on Wheels events and meetings, visit the group's Facebook page.

"You want to ride? Come ride with us," Cutchin said.

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