Check it or wreck it

  • Published
  • By Capt. Larry Cornelio
  • 786th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management flight commander
No matter what the mission is, I conduct the same checklist the night prior ... Every single time.
I clean my rifle and pistol and conduct my pre-combat checks, pre-combat inspections and function tests. I also look over my body armor and gear from head to toe and go through my checklist.

The night prior to a day of riding my motorcycle, I have ceremonial-like checklists to ensure my equipment and clothing are prepared because just like any military mission, I have to ensure all my riding equipment and gear are in good working condition as these items are needed for my safety and protection.

To inspect my other equipment, i.e. my motorcycle, I use the acronym "T-CLOCS" - Tires (and Wheels), Controls, Lights (and Electrics), Oils (and Other Fluids), Chassis, and Stand.

Tires (and Wheels): Ensure tire condition, tread depth, and air pressure are in good order. Inspect wheels for proper structural integrity. Ensure both front and rear brakes operate correctly.

Controls: Ensure handlebars are straight, free moving, and secured. Ensure cabling and hoses are secured and free of tears. Ensure the throttle operates properly, moves freely, and returns to its starting position when released.

Lights (and Electrics): Ensure lights operate correctly - this includes headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. Additionally, ensure all electric components work properly to include the battery, switches, and wiring. Lastly, ensure all mirrors, lenses, and reflectors are in good working condition.

Oil (and Other Fluids): Ensure oil levels are correct. Inspect the bike for any leaks. Additionally, inspect clutch and brake hydraulic fluids to ensure they are at proper levels.

Chassis: Ensure the frame, suspension, chain or belt, and fasteners are secured and are in good working condition.

Stands: Ensure the stand is in good working condition.

Once I complete my equipment checklist, I inspect my personal protective equipment. Similar to my pre-mission checklist, I use the mantra "No skin [exposed] from head to toe."

Head: Wear a DOT-compliant (or EU equivalent) helmet. Ensure the helmet provides a clear and unobtrusive view, fastens securely, and permits air to pass through to reduce fogging.

Upper body: Long-sleeve shirt or jacket that fits snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind yet loose enough to provide air circulation. Leather jackets (often offered with body armor stitched into the lining) offer the most protection.

Gloves: Gloves allow better grip and help protect your hands in a crash.

Lower body: Pants that fits similar to upper body clothing. Again, leather with body armor provides the most protection.

Shoes: Over-the-ankle shoes that provide ankle stability. Tuck in laces so they don't catch on your motorcycle.

Although leathers, boots, and gloves seem to be more appropriate attire for an autumn or winter's days, it's imperative for riders to remember one thing: When you get on a bike, you don't dress for the weather - you dress for the fall. I think of my riding gear the same as my military gear - would I ever leave the wire without my helmet and body armor? Even if it's 130 degrees? HECK NO!

For every mission, whether a military operation or riding adventure, I never leave home without ensuring my equipment is fully functional and operating correctly and I'm wearing the right gear. Once everything is prepared and in order, I am able to start my adventure.

Keep it rubber side down!