April 21, 2013
From National Road Captain Gil “Seeker” Blankenship…
The 2013 Riding Season is in full swing. I am seeing more and more ride events posted on Meetup indicating we are going to have a year full of miles. And, I’m sure all of our seasonal riders are ready to put their knees in the breeze.
However, it is important that everyone take a few minutes prior to your rides and conduct a proper safety briefing. This is especially important now that the new season is upon us. TCLOCS checks, review of hand signals and proper riding etiquette are just as important as explaining the route, where we are going, how long it will take, and ensuring everyone has filled up (or emptied out) all appropriate fluids in preparation for the ride. For those of you not familiar with TCLOCs, it stands for Tires & Wheels, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Stands. You can find a PDF checklist for TCLOCs below or over at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation USA site at
I cannot stress enough the need for safety. Last riding season we were hit with the loss of members, and already this year we are experiencing accidents on the road. Always, as you are riding estimate the drivers around you and keep your head and eyes open. Constantly be considering what you would do if the car on the right or left cut you off, that vehicle ahead of you pulled out unexpectedly. Remember – they still are not looking out for us and so we must look out for ourselves.
This year has also gotten off to a better start than last with regard to chapters sending in their sign-up sheets. Recently I have received a couple of questions on the proper procedure for submitting that paperwork. So, I wanted to take a moment here and put out some guidelines. In the coming weeks as the National reviews the Constitution, By-Laws and Ride Guide – and considers new procedural and policy documentation this process will become formalized. In the interim ….
The best approach is to have a sign-up sheet present for all H&HFA events. All members upon arriving should first ask – “Where is the sign-in?”. This sheet protects you and provides documentation of your participation. Per the existing Constitution and By-Laws you must participate in a minimum number of events in order to remain an active member. Again, these sheets are your proof.
At the conclusion of each ride – your ride officers should fill out a ride report that provides details regarding the ride. Where there any problems? What route did you take? How were the roads? And, if there were any accidents – an accident report.
At your chapter monthly meeting – your Road Captains will report these activities and submit their paperwork to the Chapter Secretary.
At the next chapter meeting the chapter Secretary will read the minutes of the previous meeting – the chapter will (vote to) accept the minutes and your paperwork will be considered finalized.
The chapter Secretary then delivers all of the required monthly paperwork (Minutes, Ride and Activity Reports, Financials etc) to the State Director (if you have one, if not then the Secretary sends them to the National Secretary).
The State Director will file a copy with the National Secretary – who will distribute the reports to the appropriate National Executive Board Officers who will then deliver a National Report of Activities at the next NEB meeting.
Something I would also like individual states and chapters look into is road condition web sites. The one for Maryland is at CHART on the Web. On this website, you can check the road conditions prior to any planned ride to determine if there is anything in play that would necessitate you alter your planned route. This page includes current road speeds, traffic accidents, disabled vehicles and active road closures.
If any of you know of similar pages for other states, let me know and I will have Tiller put up a page for us with just for linking that kind of stuff.
I look forward to an eventful year with plenty of rides. But for all my chapter R/Cs out there – remember, let’s have at least one fun ride a month per chapter. Nothing to do with fundraising, or recruiting, or anything. While our mission is to support our first responders and military veterans, we are also a social organization. We need to just get out on the roads and be together for no other reason than to enjoy one another’s company and to enjoy the ride.
Gil “Seeker” Blankenship
National Sr. R/C