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Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Motorcycle classes

I've been seriously thinking about getting a motorcycle. It looks like fun, and if I rode one to work I wouldn't use so much gas. Sure, the Focus is no slouch at mileage, but bikes can get 60 or 70 mpg. Maybe, though, I have simply inherited a biker gene from my mother's side of the family. She had a motorcycle license at one point, and all her brothers were into bikes. My uncle Glen is even a motorcycle instructor and racer.

Anyway, in Georgia there are three ways to get a motorcycle license. One is to take a written test, get a temporary learner's permit, buy a bike, ride it for a while, then bring the bike to the Department of Driver Services and take a road test. The second option is to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course (often called simply "the MSF" for short) at a state-run facility, and if you pass, they will give you a certificate that allows you to get a full license. The third option is to take an equivalent class from a private instructor.

I opted for the second choice. I didn't much like the thought of learning to ride without any instruction, and the local Harley dealer's class hours did not fit my schedule as well as the state class's. So last Monday I mailed in my application and the $250 fee to the DDS, looking to schedule a class in May. They left a message the very next day on my answering machine. I called them today and found that all the local May classes were taken. So I'm scheduled to take the MSF class on June 2-4.

After taking the class, I'm sure I will have a better idea if I want to follow through and get a bike. If so, I'll probably want to start off with something small and cheap, maybe a Ninja 250 or a vintage Honda CL360 Scrambler if I can find one in good shape. I've talked options for first bikes over with my uncle and the friendly folks at BeginnerBikers.org. Better to start on something less likely to misbehave. As one member of the now-defunct BeginnerBikes.com website said, "The trouble with supersport bikes is that they do exactly what you accidentally tell them to do."

excellent decision man! Taking my MSF course was the best thing I ever did, and I personally cant imagine approaching motorcycle riding without it. There are just things that someone with experience can tell you that you wouldnt want to learn the hard way. Be careful about getting into it for economy though, there is alot of maintanence with a bike and it is much more frequent. I once thought the same way and now realize my bike costs me more then my car does to maintain.

congrats on the course!
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