New Rider: Getting Started (I think you should ride a motorcycle!)

It’s pretty obvious that I like motorcycles.

They’re pretty awesome and I think everyone who wants to ride should.

I realize that it’s not necessarily for everyone, however if it interests you at all I think you should look into it. In the interest of getting you on a motorcycle I thought I would outline the basic steps you would need to take to start riding.

Step One: Take the MSF

The very first thing you should do is take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class in your state. In California (and many other states) this allows you to skip the riding (behind the wheel?) part of the license process. It also is a great way have some fun riding a motorcycle with out having to buy or borrow one or any of the protective gear that you need to ride one. (They provide helmets) It has also been shown in the Hurt Report (a study on motorcycle accidents and their causes) that people who get formal motorcycle training are less likely to crash and be injured. The only downside to the MSF is the cost. It is (in CA) about $200+ for the class, which is one in classroom session of a few hours and two half day weekend sessions on a bike in a parking lot. Once you take the class you can go to the DMV take the written test and have a motorcycle license. (Almost too easy!)

Before you head out and buy a motorcycle you need something to keep body and head safe should the worst happen. Which brings me to the next step.

Step Two: GEAR

Riding with out proper protection is pretty stupid. Let’s not dance around it, riding a bike is tricky and with all the idiots in the world (and killer BMW motorcycles) you should be prepared for the worst. Never has wearing proper gear made me not enjoy the ride. In fact I might argue the opposite. Now I’m not an ATGATT fascist, but I’m definitely in the “dress for the crash not for the ride” group.

Proper gear means a Full Face Helmet, Gloves, Boots, Jacket and Pants. Now if you want to tootle around a parking lot at 20 mph in less than this that’s fine, but for real roads and real speeds nothing else is really smart.  For some details on why gear is important you can read this.

Step Three: Get a Bike

I already wrote about this a few weeks ago and I won’t repeat all my advice on getting a first motorcycle. Something easy for you to handle is the most important thing. I will however link some other articles that I think are good for buying a motorcycle depending on if you are thinking new or used.

Step Four: Practice

However, I wouldn’t send you out right away on to the streets. Even with a full licence I would very much recommend spending about 4-8 hours in a parking lot practicing and getting used to your motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle and shifting gears and starting from a stop on a hill and emergency braking aren’t really easy, and should be practiced before you put yourself out with all those people who are driving distracted.

I rode around this parking lot for hours when I was first learning to ride.

I rode around this parking lot for hours when I was first learning to ride.

Step Five: Be Awesome

Get out there and ride. Take it easy at first, it’s not the easiest thing to do, but nothing makes you better than practice.


About MotoCynic

I started riding motorcycles in 2006, and there is no going back. I've ridden more than 100,000 miles, most of it on a Ducati Monster, and despite setbacks and murderous BMW's I'm loving every mile.
This entry was posted in Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, New Rider, Riding and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to New Rider: Getting Started (I think you should ride a motorcycle!)

  1. Pingback: Practice Makes Perfect, (but how much?) | Motorcycles and the Cynic

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