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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am contemplating taking an msf course this summer. I have never ridden and don’t intend to buy a bike until I see if I have a chance of passing the test. However, once the classes are over, I know you’re supposed to practice.
Even if I get a motorcycle at that time, I don’t know anyone who rides. If I did practice, it would have to be on a suburban street because I don’t have anyone to ride the bike to a parking lot for me. Even at that, how would i ensure that when i was practicing, I was doing things correctly? There are only basic rider courses in my immediate area. If I had to ride my own bike to the next course, that would impossible after only the 2 day basic course. The nearest next level course is a half hour away.
 

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It can be difficult to find a place to practice these days. A friend of mine practiced the "cone drills" for his riding test in his driveway!

Loading a bike onto a trailer is always easier with someone to help. How difficult it will be depends on a few things, like the size of the bike and height of the trailer.

Maybe you can talk with the people at the msf course or a local bike shop, and find someone who'd be willing to help. In my experience, most riders are eager to help others who are getting involved. We've all been there, and many of us were fortunate to have someone take us under their wing.
 

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Maybe you can talk with the people at the msf course or a local bike shop, and find someone who'd be willing to help. In my experience, most riders are eager to help others who are getting involved. We've all been there, and many of us were fortunate to have someone take us under their wing.
This! Getting familiar with different aspects of motorcycling did wonders for alleviating much of my anxiety before I began riding... until I pulled up beside an 18 wheeler on the little highway by my house. :smile_big:
 

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You'd be surprised how much you learn in that two day course! :) You won't be an expert in riding, but a 30 minute ride would be exhilarating.

As for your trailer question, it largely depends on the kind of bike and the kind of trailer. A trailer with a low deck and a ramp (U-Haul motorcycle trailer) with a small bike? You could handle it.

Big bike and/or high trailer? Sure, but you'll either want to find a way to level out the slope of the ramp or start the bike and ride it up. Otherwise you'll definitely need a second person. I can only load my Goldwing when it's running.

That aside, I have heard of folks who have taught themselves by riding around neighborhood streets. You don't need to be perfect, but a little practice before the MSF can't hurt. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the suggestions.I saw a youtube video of a girl who took the course but wasn’t ready doe the road for quite some time. It took her a while to be able to shift and stop properly and she had her husband coaching her after the course She did drop her bike a few times, which I get, that’s going to happen. It did take white a bit of practice for her to be road ready. She had he advantage of having her husband ride her motorcycle to and from a parking lot. I couldn’t see her navigating traffic, even on a small neighborhood street. I assume that’s how it will be for me at first.
 

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" I have never ridden and don’t intend to buy a bike until I see if I have a chance of passing the test"

oh geesh, i fear for you. Just because you pass a test doesn't mean you should head out on the road; even for skilled drivers it's a challenge especially if you're an urbanite.

My recommended path to riding motorcycles on the street.

1. A bicycle - have you mastered those 2 wheels? Get a mountain bike and master it both on and off road.

2. A dirt bike - it's a mountain bike with a motor - master it.

If you wreck riding 1 or 2, you fall into dirt, weeds, water, etc., all MUCH softer than concrete and steel. Part of learning to ride is learning to fall...sometimes you have to abandon ship to save your life..you can't be taught that, you have to practice it and 1 and 2 and the best way to practice. Skidding sideways to a stop is fun on the dirt and something to practice...on the street, on a 750 Honda, that skill saved me from t-boning a car that pulled right in front of me...I hit the brakes just so, put the bike into a sideways slide (100% automatic reflex from my dirt bike riding) and slid into the car sideways at about 5mph...hurt a bit, dented the car good, but me and the bike were not seriously hurt. Had I hit that car head on, even at 5mph...probably over the handlebars, the roof, and onto the concrete...ouch!

All of the skills you really need for pavement can/should be polished in the dirt...it's just the best way to go and I wish you luck...riding is a ton of fun.

PS> Check your local laws, but in this state, if a motorcycle/scooter/moped is 50cc or less, you only need a car drivers license to ride it on the street. A 50cc unit is light and easy to handle, no clutch too so you can practice riding and then graduate up to something with a clutch to practice riding and shifting. You can also easily push it down the sidewalk to a nearby lot to practice.
 

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I got my driver license while I was 17 and I have never ride a moto until 30 minutes before the riding exam. I went there and they show me a moto to practice for 30 minutes. They show me the clutches, pedals and gas. After 25 minutes I was speeding around lol :D So dont think about, just buy a moto and try to drive it around, try and try and try.
 

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I am contemplating taking an msf course this summer. I have never ridden and don’t intend to buy a bike until I see if I have a chance of passing the test. However, once the classes are over, I know you’re supposed to practice...
Assuming one has the hand-eye coordination to ride a bicycle and honestly wants to ride a motorcycle -- I've never seen anyone who couldn't, I don't think yu need to concern yourself about that... as an example, folks with no stick-time often solo light planes (legally) after 10-15 hours of instruction, and the MC is only acting through two dimensions, not three -- the work-load seems pretty high at first because the throttle, brake and clutch are all in weird places compared to the car, but for most folks they get the basics in a few concentrated hours (and usually fun -- sense of accomplishment is pretty real for most...).

In many decades of riding (off and on), I've only used a trailer once (sidewall cut in the boonies) and I'm not so sure that learning to ride isn't quite a lot easier than learning to load a bike by yourself...

-- Larry
 

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I live very close to a new industrial / warehouse complex with wide open clean parking lots and loading docks. I've taught both my kids how to drive cars there, and now i'm using the area to practice slow maneuvers like turns and up hill starts on the loading dock ramps.
I spent a fair amount of spare time in the off season watching YouTube vids on riding tutorials. I found a couple I like, one instructor I really liked. I pick the skill I want to work on and head out for an hour or so to practice.
 

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So I am a new rider as well and I really love how we all have different experiences upon getting into MCs. Personally for me...I am a cautious guy with a healthy respect for power but I’m also confident in managing that power and in myself to know my own limits of what I’m personally capable of. I bought a 650cc naked moto. I’ve been very deliberate in my riding as I get on the bike and ride a bit then take her back home, don’t go very far and I’m not too familiar with the area I live in because I just moved so I don’t have many places to can choose from to ride. So anyways, I got the bike and road up and down the driveway for about a half hour. The next day I drove down the street and back for a half hour then again the next day but a little further. I was nervous, I actually talked myself out of riding one day because I was very nervous for some reason. Well I talked myself back into riding out that very same day to the gas station and back. That easy ride eliminated most of the nerves and I make any excuse that I can to jump on and ride now. I do however avoid the interstate and high traffic areas and areas I’m not familiar with. I’m taking the MSC this weekend actually. After this I plan on getting my MC endorsement and making the moto my main transportation. I feel like I could jump on the interstate and survive, I have the stones but I’m not gonna push it. It would be a good way to learn by challenging myself but I’d rather enjoy the experience of riding and learning more than the adrenaline of throwing myself into a nervous situation. However I think that after the safety course I will be ready. I’m excited for my future moto experiences and not doubtful at all. If I were in your position I would just find a friend to ride it up there. Good luck!
 

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In the end, riding is like golf more often than not........it is a solitary activity. Practicing alone will seem a lot like riding for fun.....very lonely.

Even when you buy (someday) a touring bike, and have that special someone on the back to reach behind and pinch (lol), it STILL can feel lonely, on some level.....
 

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Where are you at? You might not be too far from someone here on this forum that would take the time to help you out. Someone already said most motorcyclists are fairly friendly even if some do look a bit intimidating. If you feel comfortable doing it, look for places where riders gather and start talking to them about their bike. That'll get them started. When they stop to take a breath, tell them you want to learn and what your plan is. In short order you could have a new friend, riding buddies and there's always someone in the group with a truck or trailer, or both.
 

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I do however avoid the interstate and high traffic areas and areas I’m not familiar with... feel like I could jump on the interstate and survive, I have the stones but I’m not gonna push it. It would be a good way to learn by challenging myself but I’d rather enjoy the experience of riding...
Yep... As you've probably figured out -- there are dozens of more or less acceptable, and fairly safe, methods to get safely familiar with riding once the fundamentals of the basic course are hammered home. At least for me, the issue is getting into the rhythm of riding, street survival -- for instance, when I've been riding lots of miles I find that I am a more focused and attentive car driver -- however, when I've had a longish layoff ( like right now) I get mentally lazy -- trusting in cars to see the 2-3 tons of four-wheel I'm driving, and avoid me -- something that doesn't happen all that much with two wheels.

The hand-eye skills can be hone in a parking lot or other vacant space -- but getting in the rhythm of riding defensively (without giving yourself a stoke in the process, that is... <chuckle>) just takes road practice -- the hazards of the long-pavement seem far away and nonthreatening, until something happens, and then it can happen in an instant -- cushions, using other vehicles as blockers, and just plain old avoidance spaced-out drivers is the name of the game -- unless your interstate is pretty uncrowded (or there are hours when it is), it probably would be one of the last places I'd venture for awhile, but it'll all come to feel natural in time... anyway, I'm mostly talking to myself, as I've been in four wheels long enough now that I need to relearn the rigamaruoll again. Riding in dirt will get you familiar with the rudiments of riding -- and a modicum of terrain avoidance... but preparing for four-wheeled kamikazes that have a general distain for other vehicles is another issue altogether...
 
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