Experienced Rider Coaches

Rider Coaches for the program are all experienced motorcyclists. Each is certified nationally by MSF, and then by TNMREP.

Steve Barber, Site Coordinator

Steve Barber,

Sometimes it is interesting to hear how people got started riding. It certainly is for Melanie and I. There was no way my parents were going to give me, or even allow me, a motorcycle or scooter as a kid growing up. I had cousins with a mini-bike, but that was about it. So, we didn't learn how much fun it was until our kids were grown adults and we made a business trip to Bermuda. There you can't rent a car, so the only transportation options are taxis or rent a scooter. We had so much fun that week that when I returned home, I decided to research the purchase of a motorcycle.

Well, for those of you who know Melanie, she was not about to be left behind and did not like riding behind me. I was not a very good rider (but certainly would not admit it at the time), and I insisted that Melanie enroll in rider training. As a show of support, I enrolled with her. I can not begin tell you how much I did not know.

A few years later, I found myself unemployed due to downsizing, so I became an instructor and immediately started Volunteer Motorcycle Training Service with Melanie.

Currently, I ride a 2003 Harley-Davidson Electragide Classic. I can not say that I won't buy another motorcycle, but I can safely say I have no plans to sell my 100th anniversary motorcycle. These will become a rare collectables some day. Maybe the grandchildren will enjoy it one day.

As I get older, I am becoming more appreciative of the old motorcycles that helped get many of us started, like the Honda Dream and Scrambler, the old Harley panheads and shovel heads, the Kawasaki 2-cycle three cylinder known as the widowmaker, the Harley Hummer and so many more.

We love to teach and share our passion for motorcycling. If I can be of assistance, send me an email.

Melanie Barber, Site Coordinator

Melanie Barber,

I have been riding for about 22 or 23 years. I started with a Yamaha 650 for one season, then changed to a Harley-Davidson Sportster. Currently, I have a 2003 anniversary edition Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic. We have made several trips on our motorcycles, two of which were to Milwaukee for the 95th and 100th Harley-Davidson celebrations. Riding is such a thrill that is hard to explain. It is just like the saying goes "if I have to explain, you would not understand".

I am an Auditor by profession. I earned my Masters degree in December 2000. I am now working on my CPA certification.

I decided to become a Rider Coach primarily to help Steve when he first started the training course. I thought I was a good rider before taking the Rider Coach Prep Course; not a great rider but a good rider. Little did I know how much I didn’t know. Being a Rider Coach has sharpened my skills more than I could ever imagine. Even now, I attend the Experienced RiderCourse as a student to help keep my skills sharp. I really enjoy teaching the class room sections of the Basic RiderCourse.

I handle most of the registrations for our program, so if you need assistance, send me an email.

John Milliken, State Coordinator - Tennessee Motorcycle Rider Education Program

John Milliken,

I am 72 years old (man I hate that) and married to Jeannie for the last 46 years. I was with the Metro Police Dept. for thirty five and a half years. While there I worked in Patrol, Community Relations and Auto Theft Divisions and was assigned to Motorcycles in July 1974. I was still assigned to Motorcycles when I retired.

It was a fantastic life that I miss far more than I thought. It is the only job you get paid for doing the same thing you were doing when you were 18 years old, ridding around trying to get in trouble.They will even pay you to do it on a motorcycle.

I am a graduate of the Univ. of Tennessee and the F.B.I. National Academy. I was also one of the departments police motor course trainers.

I have two adult children, Steve a Nashville firefighter, and Amy, real estate financing. We have three grand children ranging in age from 12 years to 22 years.

I ride a 2014 Harley-Davidson Electraglide. I love riding and eating; do far to much of one and nowhere near enough of the other.

If MREP or I can be of assistance, send me an email.

Karl Batson, MSF RiderCoach Trainer

Karl Batson,

I started riding motorcycles in 1974 when my parents bought me a Yamaha 90cc twin. For years this was my main transportation. Twenty-two motorcycles and forty-three years later, I enjoy riding as much as I did when I first started.

I attended a motorcycle safety class knowing that I was a good rider. But I finished the class one point from failing. This was a wake up call; I didn’t know as much as I thought. At this point, I started thinking how fortunate I was to be alive! Learning to teach safety courses became a personal mission for me. In October 1999, I successfully completed the course to become an Instructor.

In 2003, I was sponsored by the Tennessee Motorcycle Rider Education Program to attend the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Chief School in Colton, California. After successful completion, I became the first Afro American Chief Instructor.

I currently own a 2012 Honda Goldwing and ride a 1998 Harley Dyna Lowrider. As of January 2018, I have logged over 629,000 miles on seven Goldwings, covering 42 of the 48 continental united states, Canada and Mexico.

I serve as a consultant to the State of Tennessee's Motorcycle Rider Education Program and serve as a part time Ridercoach. I am an agent with New York Life Inusrance Company in Franklin, Tennessee. Motorcycle riding requires much responsibility not just for safety, but also financially. If I can be of help to you with personal insurance to ensure your financial stability, please send me an email and I will contact you back.

I also enjoy teaching roller skating at Rivergate Skate Center in Madison. Look me up if you come to Rivergate Skate Center.

Darrin Carver, MSF RiderCoach

Darrin Carver,

My name is Darrin Carver and I’m one of the Rider Coaches for Volunteer Motorcycle Training Services.  I look forward to possibly meeting you in one of our safety classes.  I have been riding motorcycles since 2005 and have taken several MSF courses over the years.  They have ALL been very helpful and I highly encourage new riders and returning riders alike to take an appropriate safety course for their situation.  You won’t regret it! 

I love riding and I love to teach new things to people so being a Rider Coach is the perfect job for me.  I currently ride an Indian Chieftain and love it but I have owned Hondas and Yamahas as well.  The freedom of the open road can be exhilarating and riding can be a lifetime hobby so get on two wheels and let’s ride!

Doreen Richardson, MSF RiderCoach

Doreen Richardson,

I never had the opportunity to ride until I took the Basic RiderCourse in 1997. I bought my first bike the next weekend and I was hooked. I've had many bikes since. I'm currently riding a BMW R1200RT, and enjoy many trips out west.

I've been teaching motorcycle safety classes for nearly 20 years.

If I can be of help, please reach out.

Wendell Soares, MSF RiderCoach

Wendell Soares,

Hello all, my name is Wendell Soares and I have been a Rider Coach in the State of Tennessee’s Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) since 2000. Like so many of my riding colleagues my motorcycling adventure started one summer may years ago with a group of us kids chipping in our money to purchase a red Cushman powered mini-bike and the rest is history.

Like you are about to experience, I too was introduced to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course (BRC) back in the spring of 1983 or 1985 (can’t remember exactly) at Tacoma, WA and I have not looked back since.

I enjoy all types of motorcycling and have owned many different types of motorcycles throughout the years. Presently I own a touring, sport touring, and a dual sport bike. I am passionate about riding and helping others achieve their riding goals, which is the driving force for my enthusiastic participation within the State of Tennessee’s MREP.

I look forward to seeing you in one of our many courses in the upcoming riding season and remember to waive when you see me on the open road that leads to some of the most beautiful locals within our great country.

Terri Swindle, MSF RiderCoach

Terri Swindle,

Check back for more information on Terri Swindle,

Joe Tine, MSF RiderCoach

Joe Tine,

Motorcycling started at age 5 when dad took me for a ride on his Honda and safely secured me to the bike with a red strap so I would not fall off. We had different thoughts on being safe back in the early days. Santa had brought me a great Christmas present and I was off and riding through the back yard. One mistake I made was not turning and I crashed the front tire through the basement window. Poor bike was less than an hour old and already scarred for life. Grew up riding dirt bikes throughout my teens.

Flash forward to after college and I revisit my passion to ride on the road and leave the dirt trails behind. Went to a local shop and found the best bike I could afford and was ready to buy it to enjoy the open road. Another customer came up to me and asked if I knew how to ride on the road. The idiot 18-19 year old in me was upset he would question my riding abilities. So I told him I had been riding a long time and I can ride that bike. This guy took the time to tell me about the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) classes and how valuable they are for all riders. I shrugged it off but decided to think more about my bike choice. Ended up signing up for the MRC course by MSF and bought a bike to learn on; there was an 8-month wait before I could get into a class. I quickly found out riding on the road with traffic, people, and distractions, was much more involved than riding in the back woods or motocross tracks. Took the course as a student and could not believe the help it provided students, myself included. I passed the class and asked about getting involved as a teacher/instructor. That started me on my path to becoming one of the youngest instructors at the time, and really inspired me to continue to help other riders. I have been a MSF instructor/RiderCoach since 2002/2003. Advanced Rider Coach instructor. Avid track day rider. Generally anything motorcycle related I enjoy and will discuss with others any time.

I am very thankful to that random customer in the store who gave me that helpful information, which I continue to pass along these days.

If I can help you in any way, reach out, or better yet come see me at Bloodworth Motorcycles in Nashville.

Ross Turner, MSF RiderCoach

Ross Turner,

I started riding when I was 10 years old. I've owned many bikes over the years and currently own a Honda Valkyrie Interstate and a BMW R1200RT.

I enjoy taking long trips on my bike all over the US.

I enjoy teaching which allows me to share my passion and keep my riding skills sharp.

I'd love to know how I can help you and hope to see you in one of my classes