By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anna Wade, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk
July 11, 2010 - NORFOLK (NNS) -- Naval Station Norfolk held its first-ever Basic Rider Course put together specifically for women of the Hampton Roads area July 6-7 in Norfolk.
A motorcycle safety course is required for all Navy and Marine service members who want to ride on base and is designed to help teach students how to ride safely.
Lt. Gail Mulleavy, an assistant supply officer for the Regional Supply Office Oceana, is one of the students in the course. She said the course has been tough because of the heat, but it was still fun.
"I thought that it would maybe be a little less pressure without men who would maybe know more or would rush me along in the learning process," said Mulleavy. "My husband owns one, and he thinks I should drive my own. It is kind of a way to see if I am comfortable enough on a bike and to see if I actually want to buy one."
Kristen Montejo, instructor for the East Coast region of Cape Fox, carried out the training for the women taking the course. The women were taught fundamental motorcycle skills on trainer bikes, in order to give them a feel for riding before they take their own motorcycles out on the road.
Montejo conducted motorcycle riding drills for the nine women who attended the course. The women are required to wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, gloves and boots to stay safe, and they must take water breaks to stay hydrated in the heat.
"If you want to ride a motorcycle, you should take the class and learn the right way," Montejo said. "The class is a great opportunity for women who have previously tried learning from a significant other or on their own."
Montejo said there aren't many female instructors that can teach this safety course. It is a rarity to have all female students and female instructors. She said the learning environment can help women feel more comfortable to hop on a bike and get started the safe way.