Most older motorcyclists such as yours truly were self-taught. Today, there are countless motorcycle riding schools for street, track and dirt as well as books and videos. One of the most popular schools is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. MSF basic and advanced rider classes are held all over the United States at participating public school districts and motorcycle dealerships.
The basic MSF class offers the total novice an introduction to riding in baby steps, literally learning to walk the motorcycle before you ride. The schools have small motorcycles on which to learn; you can not bring your own motorcycle. The school provides helmets and gloves, but you will probably be more comfortable if you bring your own. It is helpful to have some experience riding but none is required and it is a good place to start.
In most states, the class counts toward the riding portion of the state motorcycle license. In other words, you only have to take the written test at the DMV office. Otherwise, you have to bring a car and a driver for the State Trooper and your motorcycle to the DMV. Most insurance companies provide a discount for taking the MSF course, the same as Drivers Ed. Take the class before you buy a motorcycle. After the class, you may decide that riding is not for you.
Once you have a motorcycle license, you can rent different kinds of motorcycles to try before you buy or ride on organized tours all over the world.
If you already have a motorcycle license, you can take the MSF advanced class. Bring your own motorcycle and learn new skills or refresh the ones you knew and have forgotten. Riders with traffic citations earned on their motorcycle can take the advanced class to work them off, same as defensive driving. The class will also earn a discount on your insurance.
There are many instuctional videos available. One of the most popular is Jerry Motorman Palladino's instructional DVD, Learn to Ride Like a Pro, that focuses on the main problem faced by new and many experienced motorcyclists, how to make U-turns and other tight turns.
One great way to learn and practice before you get on the mean streets is on a dirt bike. Used ones are inexpensive and readily available. You can drop it without worrying about tearing up a high-priced motorcycle. The MSF has a dirtbike school, dirtbike web site and also offers an instructional DVD, Dirtbike School: Learn to Ride Safely.
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