The Latest: Foundation News

Pub crawl sold out, training slots still available

Wednesday, July 4, 2018   (3 Comments)
Posted by: Ted Moyer, BMW MOA Foundation Executive Director

As I write this, it is Memorial Day weekend. We typically write Owners News articles for a date in the future or discuss events as we approach our publication dates. However, today is different.

It’s been a lazy Sunday on a long, holiday weekend. Instead of riding today, I installed a carburetor on a troublesome old bike, mowed the grass, took in a little of the Indy 500 and grilled for the family.

When I sat down after dinner to aimlessly wander through social media and catch up on friends and acquaintances, the first Facebook post I read hit me right between the eyes: "Our great Chicken Rally in Dunlap, Tennessee, turned tragic Saturday. Friend and member Bruce Wheatley lost his life in a motorcycle accident." (Article from the Cookeville (TN) Herald-Citizen.)

What followed were many condolences from those who knew Bruce. Some expressed their shock while others remembered his family. Still others, like me, sat stunned in silence at the thought of what happened and the finality of the moment.

Photo from the Southern Standard.

My feelings of shock quickly turned to disgust as I thought about the vulnerability of motorcyclists and why we can’t solve this problem. I don’t know the details of the accident, and it certainly isn’t my place to pass judgement on anyone involved, but I can’t help but wonder why we lost another friend and what we are doing to keep this from happening again.

I am almost sickened by the fact that our Foundation’s budget for Paul B. Scholarships goes unused each year. Even though we offer $250 scholarships for members to apply to the training class of their choice, there isn’t enough demand each year to deplete the budget. That is a sad and disgusting fact!

At this moment, there are still slots available at the national rally for off-road training, and Streetmasters and Street Skills have open seats available less than 60 days before our largest event, even though we have reduced the price of these training opportunities. On the other hand, we sold out the pub crawl tour in a matter of days. Yet, rider training is still available? We should be embarrassed by that.

Why aren’t these training classes full? Why aren’t these classes filling and riders demanding that we add more training sessions? When will we wake up and realize that skill development is necessary for a lifetime and not just when we begin riding? Maybe we should discuss it over a beer at the rally?

To my knowledge, Bruce was an excellent rider and his accident had nothing to do with his skill set. Instead, it has everything to do with our attitude toward training and continuing education. There are educational resources and plenty of trainers, and yet, they go unused. What is wrong with us?

If you’re not willing to do it for yourself, then convince someone else they should be properly trained. A recent social media thread discussed what might attract young people to the MOA. Sadly, not one post mentioned the $250 Paul B. Training Scholarships or the 15 percent discount offered to MOA members at the BMW Performance Center.

If we can’t convince younger generations to train properly for a lifetime of motorcycling, why bother? I get it, this is a dangerous lifestyle; part of what makes it exciting is that there is some peril involved, and training isn’t really sexy or exciting.

This Memorial Day, someone has lost a husband, a father, a friend and a riding partner. Out of respect to those people, we shouldn’t ride another mile until every one of us has made an effort to properly prepare so that no one has to read this headline again: "Our Rally turned tragic this weekend."


Posted Saturday, July 7, 2018
Would have been nicer if there were more slots for the pub crawl during the entire time of the Rally. From what I saw there were not any on Fri/Sat ,but on Thurs. My wife and I would have been interested in this tour during our stay at the rally.
David Stephens says...
Posted Wednesday, July 4, 2018
I hit send too early as I wanted to mention that I took advantage of the $250 scholarship last year and was grateful for the opportunity to take advanced rider skills training at Barber Motorsports Park right outside Birmingham, AL. I've been riding since I was 12 and am now 61 (oh my, do the math!) and learned skills I'd never had an opportunity to put in practice until that day.
David Stephens says...
Posted Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Sad indeed and my heartfelt prayers go out to all affected by his death.

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