With lots of sunlight and beautiful scenery, Alaska summers are popular with motorcyclists.

But there are also dangers involved with embarking on a new riding season after taking a break for a winter. In order to minimize those risks, it's recommended that motorcyclists receive a safety and skills inspection before hitting the road again.

Members of the armed forces set an example this week, as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hosted the Knock the Rust Off motorcycle safety and mentorship ride Thursday.

"Basically we can get everybody mentored and trained up. And any sort of rust that they may have built up over the winter, knock that off while we're here and get out, have a good time," explained Staff Sgt. Garrett Hampton.

Hampton was a mentor at the event, leading less-experienced bikers through drills and basic maneuvers, while offering advice.

While safety is the theme, JBER motorcycle safety program manager David Spellman believes the community ride offers much more.

"We're taught camaraderie since day one of basic training, battle buddy system, wingman concept, work together, share information. That's part of the event here," Spellman said.

Knock the Rust Off encourages members of our armed forces to bond over bikes as well as military service. The ride gives bikers a chance to re-familiarize themselves with Alaska riding conditions and each other.

Spellman says people from all branches, ranks and experience levels join in on the 100-mile ride.

"We all get together and do some drills. They take a group ride out towards Wasilla Harley Davidson," Spellman said.

If you didn't make it to the JBER event, Alaska Bikers Advocating Training & Education (ABATE) and the Anchorage House of Harley-Davidson both offer motorcycle safety courses. 

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