Where Can I Get Motorcycle Training?

John L. Stein
by John L. Stein
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Whether you just want to start or master the art, riding help is just a click away

Photo by ALPA PROD/Shutterstock.com
Photo by ALPA PROD/Shutterstock.com

If you want to play an instrument well, how do you go about it? Focused academic study perhaps, or take lessons, join a band, watch YouTube, connect with friends – or maybe just muck about until something clicks. Well, the same might be said for learning to ride well. Some of the best racers and riders in history were essentially self-taught… especially prior to the industry becoming so specialized. But really, the best way isn’t through such trial and error – it’s formal training.

No matter if you just want to ride to school, discover the best urban coffee-bean roasters, travel 2-up to distant towns on the weekend, or just live more fully on two wheels, it pays to get good at it. Fortunately, every region of the country has fantastic riding and riding instruction to suit your interest: street or dirt riding, participating in track days or road racing, riding dirt track or motocross – or even the supernatural sport of trials. Here are some approaches to finding the coaching you need.

Motorcycle.com thanks Yamaha for sponsoring this new rider series.

Take a Motorcycle Safety Course

People who want to start the journey of becoming a motorcyclist on the right foot should, in our opinion, take a sanctioned motorcycle safety course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation even has a web page dedicated to all the training services available. The classes take riders from complete newbies who have never thrown a leg over a motorcycle to riders with minimal experience and give them the basic motorcycle operational skills they need. The essence of the program, however, is the street strategies covered in the later parts of the course. Go sign up!

Photo by Paul Evan Green/Shutterstock.com
Photo by Paul Evan Green/Shutterstock.com

Join the AMA

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), founded in 1924, is one of the best resources for information on events, schools and training you’ll find anywhere. And their readily accessible detail drills right down to individual states and even cities. The maxim of the AMA is Riding, Racing, Rights, and Responsibility – the four “Rs” of motorcycling if you will. A membership costs $49 per year, and one of the perks is the monthly magazine, American Motorcyclist, which is not available on newsstands. In a recent issue, the last seven pages contained calendar entries for everything from Road Ride/Run events in Idaho to a Dual Sport ride in Maryland, and from a Connecticut Adventure Ride to a Trail Ride in Utah – plus hundreds of national, regional, and local racing events.

Incidentally, the AMA website, which does not require a subscription to explore, lists hundreds of chartered clubs, which can be filtered by state and city. Are you a Colorado woman interested in possibly doing some adventure riding? The AMA lists ADVWoman ( advwoman.com) on the website. Or maybe you want to explore cruising in The Sunshine State? Try Central Florida Cruisers, Inc. ( centralfloridacruisers.org) – and you don’t even need to own a bike! Wherever they are located, clubs are full of enthusiasts and experts who should be able to either help directly or recommend accredited training for you.

Alternately, the website also includes scores of AMA-sanctioned events for Adventure Riding, Dual Sport Ride, Family Enduro, Field Meet, Grand Tours, National Gypsy Tour, Road Enduro/Reliability Run, and Road Ride. Choose one! We just did, and under the Family Enduro pulldown, we admit the Grassy Family Enduro Trail Ride put on by the Ohio Woods Riders ( ohiowoodsriders.com) sounds fun, largely because of the family approach and the club’s motto, “Responsible Motorcycling.” It’s just one event among many, but where there are families riding, there will be instruction opportunities.

Ask Local Dealers

To receive good medical help, a valuable strategy is, “Go where the knowledge is.” The same can be said for finding rider training in your area. Like the bank, post office and grocery store, at some point probably everyone involved in motorcycling visits their local bike shops. If you’re seeking a particular type of instruction – for example, getting involved in street riding, practicing for the DMV riding test, learning to ride in the dirt – ask the sales, parts, or service managers there. If they're smart, they’ll know where to turn – and will also recognize that someone interested in riding well could become a good customer. And should you strike out, try more stores!

Photo by D.Lopez-FotoMundo America/Shutterstock.com
Photo by D.Lopez-FotoMundo America/Shutterstock.com

Search Social Media

There’s a good chance that social media will be the first place that younger riders consult when looking for rider training or coaching. Nothing wrong with that. The gold standards include: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. These collectively reach billions of people and companies. Further, businesses that have their acts together will almost certainly harness some of these platforms because of the exposure they afford. And since you can search for any combination of terms you want, social media makes hunting for the training you want easy. Looking for dirt riding instruction? Search for “dirt bike training.” Or more generally, try entering “motorcycle instructor” or “motorcycle riding instruction,” along with your state. Or just experiment with any variation of terms you like. You’ll be on your way to good connections soon enough.

Internet Search Engines

The same strategy applies for Google and other internet search engines, with the advantage that some excellent training resources may be found via internet searches but are not on social media. Considering that community colleges offer a terrific amount of practical instruction, we typed “college motorcycle training” into Google and were surprised by the number pages listed.

Further defining the search term to “college motorcycle training Texas” zapped us directly into dozens of new-rider training courses in that state. One that piqued our interest was Keep It On 2 ( keepiton2.com), which offers safety-oriented street training way down near the Rio Grande. Their webpage says, “Family and friends care about your safety every time you ride. Take the time. Take the course before you take the road.” We couldn’t agree more.

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John L. Stein
John L. Stein

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