My first crash on a motorcycle was a highside. I knew not as to why I had flung over the handlebars like a circus acrobat. I had never ridden a bike before, so my skills on one were very subpar. That was until I went to Coach2Ride, the school that gave me my first step into exercising my passion to become a proficient motorcyclist.

Related: The Hook: An Entrance Into Motorcycling

In order to give everybody some background, I cannot (legally) drive cars or ride streetbikes yet, seeing as I am only 15 years old. The most expensive item in my possession is the computer that I am currently using to write this article. I say this because somebody my age has a very small entryway into the sport of riding motorcycles. There aren’t any indoor party tracks with gear and gas to celebrate someone’s birthday party, or pawn shops dealing affordably priced beginner bikes. That is why Coach2Ride was such an amazing school to begin my quest in riding.

A shiny new Kawasaki KLX140 is a great place to start a riding career.

Coach2Ride is a dirtbike riding school in Anza, California, with levels from beginner to advanced. The two coaches, Bonnie Warch and Andrea Beach, give students a quick and easy way to understand the core fundamentals of how to ride a dirtbike while also providing riders with riding gear and dirt bikes for the course. Again, a 15-year-old guy like me has no way to bring a motorcycle to any location, so the inclusion of a dirtbike in the school is like lifting a burdensome weight off of one’s shoulders. Even though I already owned the necessary riding gear for a secure ride, it is still nice to know that the school provides all of the gear a beginner like me would require as well as a machine to ride.

Now we’re about to get into the really fun part! My training for dust-making glory began with the most (subjectively) difficult part of learning to ride: starting the bike. I always had the persistent ability to dump the clutch and stall the engine the minute I obtained movement. Luckily, after multiple trial-and-error tests, I finally got going on my first official dirtbike ride. The coaches helped me with learning how to properly turn, stand on the pegs, and, most importantly, brake. Did you know that moving your upper body to the side of the motorcycle opposite of where the bike is turning will cause everything to be stable? Wwwhhhhaaaaaaaaatt???!!!

Don’t run over the teacher, don’t run over the teacher, don’t…

After about two hours of amazing training, the coaches thought I was ready to go on my first trail ride. I never had been on a trail on any dirtbike, so it was no surprise that I would be terrifyingly nervous. Yet, with the promise of great Mexican food after the ride being a guaranteed reward, I turned that nervous energy into excitement! We embarked on the dirt trails and, using the techniques I had previously been taught, I successfully managed to ride a dirtbike without having any fear of falling, crashing, or suffering any injury.

That’s not to say I did not fall. After riding temporarily in a small ditch, my front tire hit the wall of the hole at the precise angle required to have me on my side in an instant. There was no pain, just a little surprise. I mean, I was wearing a helmet, a neck brace, and knee and elbow guards (you always dress for the crash). However, I think this is exactly what I needed when training.

Next, bring on the KX450F.

Remember how in the first paragraph of this article that I said I had no clue as to why I fell? I knew what I did wrong this time and vowed to use this experience to prevent further crashes. Learn from the small mistakes so you don’t make big ones! Sure enough, I did not fall the rest of the day, and had some great Mexican food as a reward.

I felt that my knowledge of riding grew with every pull of the throttle. A foot on the brake added to the library of my technical know-how. Every speck of dust flung into the wind by my tires made me feel like a superhero. My passion for riding was truly growing. Coaches Warch and Beach showed me not only how to ride, but how to have fun while making my own trails.

I now know that I really enjoy riding and hope to further explore this passion of mine. My plan is to get more saddle time by taking more classes and going riding with friends eventually. Yet, I think the most important lesson of all is that, even as a lowly 15-year-old boy, I still have a way to go to fully enter the sport of riding motorcycles. Coach2Ride is only one example of many places for kids like me to start riding.

I hope many more youths will join me in this awesome sport. I hope many more gain a passion for the world of riding.

Thank you Bonnie (pictured) and Andrea at Coach2Ride for helping me take my first steps on two wheels.

Here are some links to useful websites:

The homepage for Coach2Ride.
Look at the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Dirt Bike School site to find a school near you.
Check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation website to see if a school near you meets its requirements.