The motorcycle world is notoriously filled with risk takers. The danger and excitement often draws the irresponsible like bears to honey. Sadly, many new riders think that if they know how to ride a bicycle and drive a car, they know how to ride a motorcycle. This mentality can lead to many dangerous situations for both the rider and others that share the road with him or her.
Even if you know how to ride a dirt bike or have some experience riding a street bike, you need to get your motorcycle license before heading out onto the highway. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn and your self-confidence will get a boost before you hit the road legally. You may even get a break on your insurance as well.
One of the best ways to learn to ride a street bike is to sign up for the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) Basic Rider Course. This course provides both classroom instruction and riding practice in a controlled environment, usually a large parking lot.
I took this course back in 2001. At the time, my “experience” consisted of riding on the back of a few street bikes and my brothers’ dirt bikes back in high school. At the first meet-up, I remember the instructor asking the class for reasons one would ride a motorcycle. Many good answers were brought up such as fuel efficiency and parking perks, but when everyone had provided an answer, the instructor asked, “What about for fun?” Yes, we had forgotten about that one…
The MSF provides low cc motorcycles (around 250 or less) and helmets for the riding portion of the course, but you’ll need to dress accordingly, which means jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a jacket, boots and gloves.
The course starts at truly to most basic level: learning where the controls are, turning the fuel and bike on, finding neutral (raise your left hand). Next, you’ll walk the bike in first gear up and down the course. The riding lessons progress slowly, but by the end you’ll be zipping between cones, braking effectively and leaning into those curves.
In California, you get the additional benefit of having the riding portion of your DMV test waived if you successfully pass the MSF course. You will still have to go in and take the written portion, so stop by one of their offices and pick up the handbook for studying.
Once you have your M1 license, it’s time to rent a motorcycle from EagleRider Newport Beach and practice with some more experienced riders. It is not advisable to strike out on your own, even if you have now successfully obtained your license. The folks at EagleRider Newport Beach will be able to give you some advice and perhaps some suggestions as to where might be a good place to either practice or go out on that first ride with your more experienced friends. Give them a call or stop by to find out more.