How to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle

Do you know how to ride a bicycle? Then you can learn to ride a motorcycle. All it takes is balance, knowledge, and practice. Follow the steps below and enjoy the most epic journey of your life!

FIRST STEP
You need to obtain your motorcycle permit by passing a written test at your DMV. Don’t worry if you do not pass the first time; just get back in line and try again. Here are some practice questions to help you make the grade.

Start by getting familiar with the laws, requirements, and rights of motorcycle riders in your state. This may sound dull, but is essential to safe riding. If you need motivation we suggest finding a riding class that covers all you need to know.

RULES OF THE ROAD
This is what you learned before you got behind the wheel of a car–the same goes for bikes. Motorcycle drivers must obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals in the same way as other drivers; however, you have other responsibilities too–such as to be visible, use proper signals to communicate your intentions, maintain a space cushion behind cars, remain alert, and act properly.

YOUR BIKE
The best way to choose and get to know your bike is from a professional, but it is likely that you know someone who rides and they can introduce you to your bike.

Motorcycle ControlsHere are some controls to review before riding:
-Horn
-Light Switch
-Turn Signal
-Engine Cut-Off Switch
-Throttle
-Clutch Lever
-Gear Change Lever
-Kick Starter
-Rear Brake Pedal
-Front Brake
-Ignition Key
-Fuel Supply Lever
-Speedometer and Odometer

You should have someone who is knowledgeable about cycling walk you through how to start your bike, accelerate, decelerate, shift, brake, stop, park, and start again.

SAFETY
Now it is time to get some practice and ride the road. Follow these safety precautions to stay safe and in control:
–       Wear a helmet and long sleeves (leather is preferable)
–       Gain experience and confidence by practicing in a safe area
–       Maintain adequate space behind other vehicles
–       Follow speed and traffic laws
–       Be visible. Whenever possible, ride where you can be seen in other motorists’ mirrors.
–       Make sure to keep your motorcycle maintained (Service checkups at 500 miles, 1,000 miles, 5,000 miles, and 10,000 miles)

Remember, a riding course is always the best option for learning the proper way to ride–body position, shifting gears, rules of the road, etc. 

Where can I take a riding course?
Windy City Harley offers riding academies in  4 locations (Countryside, Villa Park, Palatine, St.Charles).

What should I expect from the course?
Our instructors teach students who have never been on a bike. The course is 25 hours, divvied between class time and riding. You’ll spend more time riding than in the classroom, and a state representative will come to you for testing. As an added bonus, you will test on the same bike you learned on–in this case, Harley’s newest bike, the Street 500.

Don’t forget to have fun. That is what riding is all about–the spirit of the open road, an escape, an adventure, freedom, the last pure expression of what it means to be American.

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