I just completed a Basic Rider Course given by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation this weekend. It isn’t mandatory but not only is it a great way to learn and practice on someone else’s motorcycle but you also get your license once you pass a fairly easy test at the end.
A couple of nights were spent watching videos and discussing safety, then a written test was given based on sample questions that we studied at home. (I got 100%).
Saturday and Sunday we got to choose a motorcycle that we felt comfortable on, and starting with the very basics rode around a huge parking lot for about 4 1/2 hours each day. I had some experience on a friends bike but there were several people that had never ridden before, including one woman who never even drove a stick shift. The only thing that made it hard was that it was really hot, especially with a full face helmet, long sleeves, boots, and gloves. I felt like Kenny from South Park when I tried to ask a question, so I ended up just following the people in front of me that seemed to be doing it right.
Sunday afternoon it had rained in the morning and by my 1:30 class it was dry. We all knew it was only a matter of time until another thunderstorm, but it held off almost all day. Around 4:30 it was getting very dark, and the instructors sort of rushed the rest of the training. We were briefed for the test which involved quick stops, cornering, swerving, and a figure 8. They kept saying that if you fall you fail, which was not very comforting to any of us but no one did, and by the time we finished it was just starting to rain.
Everyone passed, and as we stood under an awning and watched it pour they handed out our license and congratulated us. It was a fantastic feeling of accomplishment and except for being exhausted like everyone else I felt great!
I highly recommend this to anyone considering getting a motorcycle. The bikes are small enough to handle safely and you get to learn from professionals. One girl in the morning class decided this was not for her and she went home. Better that then buying one and then realizing it. Now all I have to do is make sure my helmet, jacket, boots, and gloves all match. For some reason that wasn’t covered in class.