Harley-Davidson Offers Free Riding Academy To All U.S. Military

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Perhaps no one deserves to enjoy the freedom of riding a motorcycle than the members of the military who sacrifice so much for the rest of us. To honor those who serve in the military, Harley-Davidson announced today that all active-duty, retired, reservists and veterans can sign up to participate for a free Riding Academy through Harley’s Mission Open Road program. Beginning on Armed Forces Day, May 16, and running through September 13, all military members, past and present, can sign up for the free “Learn to Ride” training.

Six veterans and active-duty military ride the H-D Street 500 on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown as Harley-Davidson announced it is offering current and former U.S. military free Riding Academy motorcycle training. (Mic Smith/AP Images for Harley-Davidson)

Taking part of today’s announcement on the fight deck of the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., U.S. Army veteran and two-time Paralympian, Heath Calhoun plus six other military riders demonstrated the core riding skills supported by the training.

“As a veteran, and a rider, I have found that nothing is more therapeutic than getting on my bike and taking a ride,” said Calhoun, Wounded Warrior Project Alumnus and owner of a 2014 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide. “I am honored to help Harley-Davidson empower all of us who have served to find comfort on the open road.”

Debi Cole, from James Island, S.C., rides the H-D Street 500 aboard the USS Yorktown, in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (Mic Smith/AP Images for Harley-Davidson)

All stateside military can sign up for the Riding Academy by visiting their local Harley-Davidson dealer or login on to www.h-d.com/militarylearntoride. Military members who live in an area in which the Riding Academy is not available will receive a Harley-Davidson gift card for the amount of a certified motorcycle safety program. Similarly, all military serving overseas who turn in a “Learn to Ride” form prior to September 13 receive a free motorcycle training voucher for a class through the end of 2016.

“For us at Harley-Davidson this is our way to thank the millions of people who have courageously defended our country and everyone’s personal freedom to ride,” said Christian Walters, managing director of U.S. Sales and Marketing at Harley-Davidson, and U.S. Army veteran.

Tamika Whitfield, member of the U.S. Air Force, from Charleston, S.C. rides as Harley-Davidson announced it is offering free Riding Academy to all current and former U.S. Military. (Mic Smith/AP Images for Harley-Davidson)

Mission Open Road follows closely on the heels of Operation Personal Freedom, a program initiated last November through an alliance with Wounded Warrior Project directed towards improving the lives of service men and women facing the challenge of post-traumatic stress disorder. Operation Personal Freedom raises money to support Wounded Warrior Project endeavors through the donation of 10 percent of the sales of a special Harley-Davidson MotorClothes collection. Additionally, those funds help support dealer events honoring our military members around the nation. More information about Operation Personal Freedom can be found at www.h-d.com/military.

Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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