I learned how to ride a dirt bike a life time ago. I spent hours out in the woods of the Pacific Northwest around Seattle riding and jumping and enjoying the freedom of racing friends everywhere. I never owned my own bike, but our group of friends had access to more than enough dirt bikes and ATV’s that it didn’t really matter. In high school we moved to Texas, and suddenly I didn’t know anyone that owned a bike. I turned to playing team sports in high school, focused on studies in college and then life happened. Graduation, job, marriage, kids – all great things, but the joy of riding a motorcycle was never forgotten.
Fast forward a few years (really many years) and now I am president of the Retail Division of Motorsport Aftermarket Group that owns the best brand in V-twin motorcycle gear, parts, and accessories – J&P Cycles. My passion for power sports has been more on the motorsports side in recent years. Now was my time to return to riding motorcycles. The first step was to comply with the laws of Texas and take a basic rider course. I searched the internet and found several reputable companies that perform the standard sixteen hour program over the course of a weekend. I chose Texas R.I.D.E.R. based on proximity and price.
The first half day was all classroom; the course was packed with information from the parts of a bike to what motorcycle rider apparel to wear to how to handle situations on the road. After a short, but comprehensive exam, our group was ready to get out on the range and onto motorcycles. Our coach, Dan, made the whole process easy to understand. We spent at least ten hours riding within courses set-up in a large parking lot; it was safe and worry-free. We did a series of assigned maneuvers on the bikes. We ended with an assessment of specific maneuvers that had to be passed in order to earn our course completion card. My biggest issue, carrying forward my dirt bike habits. I kept putting my foot down to turn. After being scolded multiple times I finally adapted to the V-twin street bike. Good thing because I plan to buy an Indian Scout as soon as possible. It will likely not be forgiving if I try to ride it like a dirt bike. I will leave the dirt bike riding to my younger and more skilled team! Now I will be off to the Texas Department of Public Safety to get my motorcycle endorsement added to my license.
All in all, I highly recommend taking a motorcycle riding course. Even if one does not have an interest in buying and riding a bike, the experience of learning is one that can be carried proudly in life. Be careful though, once that bug bites the feeling can be infectious.
Enjoy the ride…