As it turns out, you don’t need to own a motorcycle or even have a helmet to get your motorcycle license. It’s actually much safer if you learn from a professional how to ride one before you make the decision to buy one of your own. Though you might like the idea of riding a motorcycle right now, you may feel differently after you get on a bike for the first time and truly experiencing it.
If you do like the sensation of riding a motorcycle, that’s great! Motorcycles are a convenient way to get around town, take road trips, and explore a different mode of transportation. However, they require a different license than that of a car, so you will need to get one before you start riding a motorcycle on your own. That being said, the process for getting your license isn’t difficult at all, and you’ll be able to get out on the road in no time. Here’s how you can do it!
Take the BasicRider course with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation
To get your motorcycle license, you will want to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s BasicRider course. This can end up costing anywhere from $25 – $300, and the course will go over all of the information you need to know about handling the vehicle and driving it safely.
What To Expect From the Course
You will be both in a classroom filling out worksheets, as well as out on a practice range where you will learn how to operate a motorcycle. There you will earn a road test waiver which you take to the DMV and exchange for your license, after completing the required number of training hours.
Finding a Course Near You
To find a course in your area, search for “Basic Rider Course” online. More than likely there will be multiple courses offered around where you live, and you can take the course that best suits your schedule.
Book in Advance
It’s highly unlikely that you will be able to drop in on a course any day you want. There are specific times allotted, and other people may want to take the same class that you do, so make sure to confirm your spot. Until the day of your class, practice riding a bike. This might sound silly, but it is a prerequisite for the course. And, the more comfortable you are on a regular bicycle, the more comfortable you will be on a motorcycle, which is essentially a traditional bicycle, but with a motor.
Consider Taking an Advanced Course
After obtaining your license, it’s not a bad idea to consider taking an advanced course to show you advanced maneuvers. Such courses can help you learn to more comfortably use your bike of choice and can teach life-saving maneuvers on the road.
When riding a motorcycle with a passenger, you need to be as careful as possible. Unlike previous rides, you are no longer the only one whose well-being you need to keep in mind.
The experience might be scary at first, if the passenger has never been on a motorcycle before, but within a short amount of time, it should become a fun way to spend an afternoon. To keep the passenger (and yourself) safe, make sure you follow these guidelines:
Ensure the motorcycle can handle the extra weight
Since not all motorcycles can carry extra weight, make sure ahead of time that yours can. It helps to research ahead of time before even offering to give someone a ride. Failure to do so can be quite risky to both the rider and the passenger. Weight added impacts acceleration, braking, and suspension, and could make the motorcycle uneven. Check that the brakes are fit to handle stopping is a good idea, too.
The passenger should always wait until you, the rider, tells them that the motorcycle is ready for boarding. Instruct the passenger to board the motorcycle from the left side, and demonstrate if needed.
It is also important to ensure that the motorcycle is totally upright and the rider’s legs support it firmly to enhance stability for the passenger to board. Although the motorcycle may seem to be stable while on its kickstand, straightening it will be more difficult once the extra weight is on board. Avoid the problem altogether by straightening the bike before the passenger boards. This is another reason your passenger is better off waiting for you to say you’re ready for them to get on.
Instruct the passenger to hold onto you tightly
If your passenger has a loose grip, they will be more likely to slam into you when stopping, and that’s not only uncomfortable, but dangerous. It will also feel like they are going to fall off during acceleration, but by holding tightly and warning them ahead of time, hopefully you can alleviate that
Ensuring the passenger is holding on tightly helps you, too, because you can concentrate instead of worry that your passenger could fall off anytime.
Inexperienced passengers tend to lean in the opposite direction due to fear of falling off during turning, which will cause the motorcycle to tip precariously. Therefore, before departure, remind them to stay straight and look over your shoulder to the side you are turning towards.
Even the slightest movements by the passenger impact how the rider’s bike feels during turning, so moving with the bike in the right direction is crucial to turning safely. Do your best to communicate this with your passenger before starting out on your drive.
Make sure to instruct your passenger to stay in position before stopping the motorcycle. Putting their foot down by the passenger can make the motorcycle lose balance and cause you to lose balance.
On arriving at the designated place, ask them to wait until ready. Thereafter, they can dismount towards the left, the same way they came on, and you both can be safely on your way.
The movies make it look so easy – like using a motorcycle to cross between two rooftops only using a short ramp, or riding so low to the ground that you have no idea how the driver doesn’t fall off. It’s all part of movie magic, and these stunt actors are trained to perform these dangerous tasks, often with the help of special effects. Trying them at home would probably mean a trip to the hospital for anyone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, but if you’re in the mood for a great story and some cool motorcycle tricks, here’s four movies for you that might just do the trick:
James Bond drives a lot of cool cars. Fact. He also drives a lot of cool bikes – and so do the villains. The beautiful SPECTRE assassin Fiona Volpe steals the show with her motorcycle because not only does her motorcycle exude confidence, but it can also launch missiles. The bike in question? BSA Lightning A65-L. For a more modern James Bond, there’s also Quantum of Solace (2008), featuring Daniel Craig zipping around on a modified Montesa Cota 4RT.
Angelina Jolie as a CIA officer-turned-fugitive? Awesome. Angelina Jolie’s character riding a motorcycle in a high-speed chase scene? Also awesome. Angelina Jolie doing her own stunts, including the ones on the motorcycle? That’s more than enough right there, but wait – Triumph even developed a new bike specifically for this movie. They took their Street Triple and came up with the Street Triple R, even more agile and intuitive than its predecessor.
Top Gun (1986)
Anyone who grew up in the 1980s knows Top Gun, with Maverick (played by Tom Cruise) and his 1985 Kawasaki GPZ 900 R. From his skills on his bike to his leather jacket to his luck with the ladies, everyone wanted to be Maverick, and who could blame them? If you’re feeling nostalgic, Top Gun is a great movie night choice.
While Ultraviolet isn’t known for its great or even cohesive storyline, it’s really the bike you want to be watching for, anyway. With Milla Jovovich cruising through an antigravity chase scene on her 2001 BMW R1150R, the motorcycle truly steals the show and almost makes up for the fact that the rest of the movie makes little sense. Maybe just catch this scene on YouTube, actually, but whatever you do – check out the antigravity chase scene, and sit back and marvel at how the beautiful bike cruises through the air.
About Graham Zahoruiko
As Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Public Benefit Corporation, Graham Zahoruiko is leading greater corporate shareholder wealth, public benefit, and social responsibility. Graham gets to exercise a level of independence that is rare in the business world. He needs to rely on himself to deliver on what he has been hired to do. There are no shortcuts, only hard work, and self-reliance. These are qualities intrinsic to Graham Zahoruiko, so it is no wonder that they permeate through his personal life as well. Graham is a motorcycle enthusiast. His most peaceful moments are when he is astride his Harley-Davidson and on the open road. Again, independence is the key. The iconic images of the lone rider tearing across the pavement are certainly romantic, but there is an undeniable beauty to it as well. It is a part of American culture – the independent traveler forging across the country à la the pioneers during westward expansion. The public’s understanding of motorcycle culture is also influenced by popular films – Easy Rider, the Wild Ones, Mad Max. Biker gangs are often a popular trope in these films, echoed by real-world incidences. For instance, the Hell’s Angels at the Altamont Free Concert in 1969 and the violence that ensued.
Graham Zahoruiko was introduced to motorcycle riding as a child when his uncle would give him rides in the front yard. In those days, helmets were optional and Graham and his uncle found themselves on the ground from unsuccessful wheelies. These early experiences manifested themselves into a lifestyle on the bike. Riding has always been a thrill that Graham has enjoyed as it compliments his spontaneous personality. Graham Zahoruiko averages about 5,000 to 7,500 miles during the riding season — April through October — on his black 2013 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softtail Classic.
For Graham and motorcycle riders alike, the open ride provides an immense sense of freedom in the open air. Sometimes with no destination in mind, the motorcycle is the ultimate escape. The open road and the motorcycle community provides the opportunity to meet some of the kindest and most patriotic people. Whether it is a motorcycle rally, event or ride, you always have the chance to meet and learn from interesting people all over the country.
Motorcycle enthusiasts like Graham Zahoruiko have to fight against those negative connotations. To that end, Graham has been able to combine is the love of riding with another one of his passions – philanthropy. Graham regularly participates in fundraising events focusing on motorcycle riding. For example, the 9/11 Ride. The event is organized by America’s 911 Foundation, Inc., and is purposed to remember the heroes, volunteers and victims of September 11th, 2001. Preserving the memories of all those who answered the call on that horrible day is the charge of the ride, and for the best 13 years, they have been very successful. The Ride is an annual event where 100s of riders travel together en mass. For a thousand miles, the caravan rides in formation, visiting each of the three major 9/11 crash sites. The event has grown tremendously, where now major highway interstates are shut down entirely and thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer on the bikers and honor the fallen.