I’m sure you’ve all had your moments. That cool stare behind dark shades, saddled over a throaty engine with the wind whipping through perfectly coiffed hair whilst riding into the sunset. It might have been “The Wild One” or “Wild Hogs,” but you remember seeing that scene and wishing that revving the remote would accelerate your couch onto the open road. Every boy wants to grow up and ride a motorcycle. It’s something any guy would naturally do, like chopping wood and hunting. Just get out and do it, right? For those of us living in NYC this isn’t a reality, except maybe if you live in Williamsburg.
So how do you start riding? For a guy like me starting late in the game it would start with a trip to the DMV. If you already have your license, then all you need is 20 minutes of your time to apply for a motorcycles learner’s permit. It’s good for one year, and is your ticket into the world of cycling. I would recommend taking some time out to review the motorcycle handbook offered for free on the DMV web page (http://www.dmv.ny.gov/
So you have a permit. High time to hit the open road. Except a permit isn’t a license and maybe you’ve never actually ridden a motorcycle. It would be great to just pick up a bike and go, but for most of us it would be a good idea to take lessons from a seasoned rider on an actual bike. There are a lot of people that may offer to teach you to ride, but how do you choose and where can you find a bike and all the appropriate gear? Luckily there is the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (http://www.nysmsp.org/), a US non-profit organization that is sponsored by many major motorcycle companies and state departments of transportation. The foundations goal is to offer a safe program to educate riders in how to safely operate a motorcycle as well as offer hands on experience. It doesn’t matter what level you are at as each course is developed for a different kind of rider. For a beginner like me, the basic course offered an efficient and affordable entryway into motorcycle riding. For around $300 you get 2-3 full days of courses in class and on bike. Check your local provider to find more information about fees and times. These cover the cost of rental of bikes, as well as protective gear. You’ll learn the rules of the road in a classroom setting before gaining experience on a bike, learning how to mount and maneuver with a seasoned professional. The best thing of all? After successfully completing the course an getting signed off, you can take your certificate to the DMV, pay the state fees and be issued a class M or DM license. Now that you have the skills and certification you can find that dream bike and head for the open road. What you ride is up to you, but at least now you know where to start.
Safe riding. DK