Getting Started with Motorcycling
Summary: Getting started. What steps to take to get started in motorcycling.
Steps to get started with Motorcycling
1 - Visit your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain your motorcycle manual so that you can study for your permit and learn the rules of the road. There are different rules for motorcycles vs. cars, so get familiar and know the rules for the streets. Getting your motorcycle permit requires you to pass the written/computerized exam and an eye test. When you pass the two tests, you'll have to pay a small fee to get your permit. Click here to visit my DMV info page.
2 - Make a decision on whether you're going to buy a motorcycle, borrow a motorcycle, or rent a motorcycle to determine if it's right for you. Check out the starter bikes page where I detail out some very good starter bikes. If you buy a motorcycle, remember to get it insured, registered, and inspected to make it legal. Click here for insurance quotes.
3 - Proper Riding Gear - you need to protect yourself as much as possible by wearing the proper riding gear. Motorcycles do not have seatbelts, do not have side panels or a roof to protect you, and do not have airbags. Your essentials should be a helmet, gloves, shatter resistant goggles or sunglasses, jeans or leathers, long sleeve shirt or leathers, and over the ankle shoes or boots. Click here to see more details on proper riding gear.
4 - Decide whether you will take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course or whether you will learn by a family member or friend. I'll tell you that a lot of people learn through family and friends, but I highly recommend a safety course. It's typically a weekend long class in both a classroom and on the bike in a safe and controlled environment. The instructors are very knowledgeable and will educate you with the skills needed to be a safe and competent rider. Click here for more information on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the safety courses.
5 - Take it slow and go at your own pace when practicing how to ride. Check out my 'How to ride a motorcycle" article on all the nuances on how to ride. Practice some specific maneuvers on your motorcycle like the cone weave, the 90 degree turn, the figure 8, etc. Click here to see some practice maneuvers.
6 - Once you've practiced and feel comfortable/confident on the bike, be responsible and get licensed with your state. Schedule the DMV road test and get your endorsement. Here's a little hint: you can even rent a scooter to take the road test. Most bikes are just too big to maneuver the cone weave at the DMV test sites. If you decide to take the MSF course and pass, you'll get your stamp of approval, and most states will not require you to take the DMV road test. Just go to the DMV with this approval and all your other paperwork required, and get your endorsement.