Best Place to Learn to Ride a Hog (2003)

Rider's Edge New Rider Course

Can you ride a bicycle? Do you have a driver's license? If so, then for about $200, you can learn all the skills you need to safely ride a motorcycle in just five days. First, you'll spend two evenings in the classroom, becoming familiar with the parts and functions of the bike, along with the special considerations of operating a vehicle with only two wheels. Then on the third day, you'll hit the range out back, which is really just a big parking lot painted with curves and lines for different exercises. For the riding work, you provide most of the gear: a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, over-the-ankle boots, full-fingered gloves, sunglasses and a Department of Transportation-approved helmet. (If you don't have a helmet, the dealership may be able to lend you one.) But Mancuso provides the most important materials: two affable instructors certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and a spunky 500-cc Buell Blast sport bike. The instructors lead you through the vital tasks, building one skill upon another: finding the "friction zone," braking quickly, cornering, swerving and stopping in a turn. On the last two days, you'll take both a written and a riding test. When you pass -- and if you've been paying attention, you ought to -- you'll be exempted from the riding test at the Department of Public Safety and will need only to take the computerized exam in order to get your motorcycle license. Then you'll be ready to ride anything -- from a Vespa to a V-Rod.


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