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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a situation with work and I also help take care of a sick elderly family member. So, the way the safety classes run isn’t working for me. I also read that a lot of people who take this course already have riding experience. I contacted the school to see if there was an alternate schedule and to ask if my never having ridden would be a problem. I’m thinking that I’ll slow the class down or be the only one not to pass.
The response I got was VERY nasty! I’m really turned off to going to a school that’s gonna have an attitude like that and possibly make me nervous while i’m there. While I always thought I wanted to ride, I’m kind of getting turned off to the whole thing. I had also contacted a couple of riding groups just to see if there were any members in my area and never got any responses from them either. As a potential female rider, I wanted to know if there were any other female riders in case I was ever skilled enough to ride with people. The groups are in my state but I was trying to find out if anybody was actually in my part of the state-no response. I think i may not be thick skinned enough to be part of the motorcycle community. Maybe dirt and trail riding would be a better choice for me.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Sounds like you might be trying to talk yourself out of it. If you have any doubts, step back and re-think it. Now may not be the time to ride.
 

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I contacted the school to see if there was an alternate schedule and to ask if my never having ridden would be a problem. I’m thinking that I’ll slow the class down or be the only one not to pass.
The response I got was VERY nasty! I’m really turned off to going to a school that’s gonna have an attitude like that and possibly make me nervous while i’m there.
You don't want to pay good money to a "nasty" school. A good instructor will have
excellent people skills. The last thing a nervous beginner will need is an instructor
with a bad attitude.

As a potential female rider, I wanted to know if there were any other female riders in case I was ever skilled enough to ride with people.
Motorcyclists are a small minority of road users. Female motorcyclists are a
small minority within motorcycling. I don't know the reason for this, but
motorcycling is predominantly a 'guy thing'. The same is true of my other
hobby: amateur (ham) radio.

The groups are in my state but I was trying to find out if anybody was actually in my part of the state-no response.
They might not want to disclose any specific information about their members.

I think i may not be thick skinned enough to be part of the motorcycle community.
If you can survive on an Internet forum, you will have no problems in the real
world.

Maybe dirt and trail riding would be a better choice for me.
That might be an option. You will develop skills that may be very
useful if change your mind and take to the road.
 

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Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
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So, the way the safety classes run isn’t working for me. I also read that a lot of people who take this course already have riding experience. I contacted the school to see if there was an alternate schedule and to ask if my never having ridden would be a problem. I’m thinking that I’ll slow the class down or be the only one not to pass.
Plenty of people come to the MSF without any experience. Prior to me coming to class, the only bike I had ever swung a leg over was my then new to me Buell, and that was to roll it into storage. I came to class with no experience and scared out of my mind about how in the world could one manage to shift, brake, and control the bike all at the same time. There was another woman there who was even further behind than me, she hadn't even touched a motorcycle before and was terrified of the whole process. We were both equally afraid of holding the class back, embarrassing ourselves, or being one of the people who fail. Our instructors said that on average, one or two people fail each class and who fails is completely random. They could be a guy, could be a woman, or could even be someone who aced the entire course just to make a mistake on the test and drop the bike (auto fail). Of course, the MSF is technically free in my state, so failing isn't a big deal as you can just come back or go to the DMV.

Not only did we both pass without dropping our bikes, but we both finished at the top of the class, with her actually doing ever so slightly better than me. :) Don't let being a woman discourage you, we can ride as well as anyone can! :D Our entire class passed without a single failure and without a single bike dropped.

The response I got was VERY nasty! I’m really turned off to going to a school that’s gonna have an attitude like that and possibly make me nervous while i’m there. While I always thought I wanted to ride, I’m kind of getting turned off to the whole thing.
The good thing about the MSF is that there are generally multiple schools in a given area. I would say RUN from a school where the staff are rude and nasty. That kind of attitude is dangerous in a learning environment. The staff at the class I took were fantastic people. One of my instructors was a petite woman and she was not only excellent, upbeat, and informative, but she was also rooted us on to improve ourselves. IIRC, she rolled in on a big bagger, too. She was quite inspirational! :)

As a potential female rider, I wanted to know if there were any other female riders in case I was ever skilled enough to ride with people. The groups are in my state but I was trying to find out if anybody was actually in my part of the state-no response. I think i may not be thick skinned enough to be part of the motorcycle community. Maybe dirt and trail riding would be a better choice for me.
There are a decent amount of female riders out there. However, in my experience a lot of women do seem to stray away from some motorcycling groups because they can sometimes be a bit of a "boys' club". I know my local Harley group has a lot of women in it, but most of them are pillion riders. So you may have some trouble finding other female riders. I would suggest checking out the app called "Meetup" as you may actually find a female motorcycle group on there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I understand that instructors may think they have to be like army drill instructors to get their point across but that kind of attitude will just make me nervous and that’s not ideal for being on a motorcycle. The instructor told me if i was afraid at all not to bother because the sport isn’t for everybody and not everybody can do it. This was a female instructor. I’m not taking a class with a teacher like that! The problem is, in my past of the state, that’s the only class. I’m in southern NJ and there’s a class in Philadelphia but out of state is pointless because there’s no reciprocity.
About 2 hours away, there’s a school that even gives private lessons but that’s 4 hours of driving time for each session. So, I guess i can’t ride unless I open my own school and hand pick my instructors. Plus, ee have to pay for our classes here. So if we don’t pass, we pay again. I know in PA, the classes are free for residents. I’m going to pay for somebody to mistreat me-I think not!
 

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I have a situation with work and I also help take care of a sick elderly family member. So, the way the safety classes run isn’t working for me. I also read that a lot of people who take this course already have riding experience. I contacted the school to see if there was an alternate schedule and to ask if my never having ridden would be a problem. I’m thinking that I’ll slow the class down or be the only one not to pass.
The response I got was VERY nasty! I’m really turned off to going to a school that’s gonna have an attitude like that and possibly make me nervous while i’m there. While I always thought I wanted to ride, I’m kind of getting turned off to the whole thing. I had also contacted a couple of riding groups just to see if there were any members in my area and never got any responses from them either. As a potential female rider, I wanted to know if there were any other female riders in case I was ever skilled enough to ride with people. The groups are in my state but I was trying to find out if anybody was actually in my part of the state-no response. I think i may not be thick skinned enough to be part of the motorcycle community. Maybe dirt and trail riding would be a better choice for me.
I really understand being leery but I'll say this, any instructor that is rude has probably been there too long and they need to step aside, not you. Now you are in the minority but I guarantee guys want to see more women riding. They'll jump at the chance to help you. But there is nothing wrong with you doing some dirt riding either. It will help you get used to the controls if that is your primary concern. But don't stay riding dirt too long. It's far better to get good instructions so that what you are practicing is the correct way. You don't want to practice incorrect skills which can happen if you just go on your own. That's how some of us started and it isn't easy to unlearn something once you get started. So get used to the controls then take the course so you learn proper technique. My wife has been riding her own bike with me for years. So you can do it. Everyone is rooting for you whether you realize it or not.
 

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Oh yeah, I wouldn't attend a BRC class taught by a 'drill sarge' type either. I was already nervous enough and the weekend I took the class was during a heat wave, so that would have been a huge no no.

Ditto on everything Hog said, if you can get past the travel barrier (I looked at the training map of your state, it's indeed very sparse if you are in the southern region) I'm sure you will not only have fun, but you'll have people rooting for your success. :)
 

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Travel if need be to get a good class, the one you were talking to sounds awful. My class was 1/2 total newbies who had never started a motorcycle, 3/4 male, 1/4 female, everyone passed except one person (male) who already knew how to ride but dropped his bike on the last maneuver of the test.

I live in NE PA but work in Newark,NJ, women riders aren't that unusual around here, my wife is one of them, she has been riding longer than me and doesn't blink an eye at riding 500 miles in the rain for a hamburger.

Good luck and safe learning and riding!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There are classes at a Harley dealership about a half hour away. I don’t know what they’re like. May be the same people, since they’re in the same area. I never really had any desire to ride a HD, specifically. Are they all super loud?
 

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I was an MSF instructor for many years, and taught several thousand students over those years. Generally, the person that had never sat on a motorcycle, let alone never ridden one, sometimes did better than the old timer who had been riding for years. And often I found that the female students did better than many of the males. Some men, and boys, seem to think that they had to act like they had been riding all their lives and knew it all, despite the reality that they knew nothing. They often did not listen to what they were being instructed to do. On the other hand, the ladies didn't mind admitting that they were total novices at riding, and would listen intently and follow the instructions.

Early in my teaching years we used to do an exercise where the students would slowly ride in a circle, with the instructor standing in the center of the circle. The exercise was to get the students to NOT look down at the ground in front of them, but to look through the turn, i.e., across the circle. I would tell the students to just look at me, and keep their eyes on me and the bike would follow just where it was supposed to go. Often it was the men that would not follow this instruction, constantly glancing down at the ground, and constantly going off on a tangent and then having to correct their path back into the circle. Most of the women would trust me, as their instructor, keep their eyes on me and do perfect circles, gaining confidence as they went. On the other extreme, when I was an instructor in Milwaukee, we had students who were employees at the Harley Davidson plant. The company had loaner bikes that employees could check out, but first they had to prove that they had taken and passed a basic riding class. Some of my "students" in this category were in their 50's or 60's and had a lot more riding years than I did. But often they had deeply ingrained bad habits that were hard to train them away from. More than one of these students failed the class completely because they were convinced they were good riders when in fact they were terrible, but experienced in their bad riding.

Finally, my job as an instructor (now they are called Coaches) was to teach people how to ride, not to be a "drill sergeant". The ones that acted like petty tyrants should not have been allowed to teach. Some of these (and I met a few but refused to work with them) were just plain unhappy people who never had an opportunity to be in charge of anything, so they took their instructor role as a means of having control over other people. They looked for ways to fail a student, instead of looking for how to help a student that was having trouble learning the basics.

The only skill you need for beginning to learn to ride is the ability to ride a bicycle. Knowing how to drive a manual shift vehicle is a help, but not essential. I urge you to not let your bad experience ruin your chance to enjoy the great experience of riding a motorcycle. Sign up again, and hopefully you will find a Coach that knows what he or she is there for, and will help you begin your riding life.
 

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Wow, I'm really surprised to hear this...especially from a woman instructor to another potential woman rider. The one thing motorcycling needs is more women riders so you would think she would've listened to your concerns and tried to encourage you a little bit. I would definitely not go back to that school.

If it makes you feel any better, I rode for two years back in the 1980s and then got out of the sport but last October I took the MSF BRC and was a little nervous to be honest. I was self-taught in the 80's so I wasn't sure what to expect during the course. I had no idea what the skill level of the other riders was going to be and I hadn't been on a motorcycle in 30 years but everyone was really relaxed and non-judgemental. Our instructor would even crack a joke or two during the range portion of the course (when you're on the bike) just to lighten up the mood a bit because a few people seemed a little nervous.

We had one woman rider in our course and she did fine. It seemed like everyone had riding experience but one person dropped their bike Saturday and another did on Sunday but not during the final road test. Everyone passed the course and got their license waiver.

I would definitely look for another school even if it means you have to drive a few hours. And call them first to see what they're like over the phone in terms of their attitude. But if you don't think this is for you that's fine, too. Motorcycling has some inherent risks and you don't want to go into it if you're not sure of yourself or if your confidence level is really low. It's normal to have fear and anxiety in the beginning, however. I know I did six months ago.

A good way to find out if this is something you want is to simply take the course. You might find out you really enjoy it or it could be the opposite and you walk away. But at least you'll know.

If you don't think women can ride check out this young lady. I'm of the opinion that women can be just as fast and skilled as men if they're only given the opportunity.

https://www.americanflattrack.com/riders/view/texter-shayna
 

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Mils, you mentioned dirt and trail riding may be better. I've seen many comments here and elsewhere that dirt riding experience is a great thing to have so if that's an option then go for it. I wouldn't want to go to an MSF course after talking to a nasty coach on the phone but if that's the only MFS school around then at least you'd have prior experience and you wouldn't be as nervous.

Not all Harleys are loud. If you go with the Harley course then you'd be riding the Street series. As you said, that Harley course may be affiliated with that same MSF school...but you may not even encounter that person you spoke with on the phone.

I had no prior experience before taking the MSF beginner course. I never even touched a motorcycle before. I didn't do that well but I passed & I never felt like I was holding the class up, most of whom had some riding experience.
 

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Dirt and trail riding?
LOL! I have to comment on that.
I've always been a street rider.

But I've had dirt riders say to me, "I'd never ride a bike on the street! It's too DANGEROUS!"
LOL!!
Every darned one of those dirt riders has crashed and broken bones at one time.
EVERY ONE OF THEM!

But street riding is too DANGEROUS! Yeah, right.
LOL!!!
July will be 51 years and over 300,000 miles of street riding for me! And not one broken bone!
 

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t a person schedule a “Test” (written and road) at any Motor Vehicle Department, and pay a fee and get Licensed?

I don’t recommend NOT taking a BRC mind you, because of it’s value both in content and Insurance discount, but if a person HAD to miss a BRC, I mean.
 

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I would guess that the option of scheduling, or just showing up and wanting a road test for a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license varies greatly from state to state. Taking the basic rider's course, or any other program where passing the program's riding test counts for getting your license, seems preferable for many reasons. When I was an MSF Instructor, I found that even experienced riders benefited from the experience we provided in the training. But especially for the beginner, this course can literally be a life saver. Don't fool yourself thinking that your buddy can take you to a parking lot and give you 30 minutes of instruction and that will make you safe to go out on public roads on a motorcycle.
 
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The local Harley dealer has BBC classes often, and there seems to always be a decent size class, from older guys to those who have never ridden before. It's always a well taught class with instructors having a lot of patience for those with no experience.. On days when the dealership is busy a crowd will gather around the class and cheer them on, hollering out pointers to those struggling keeping their bike on line and stopping correctly. I think it makes it a lot of fun for both riders and those of us shouting encouragement to the class...
 

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Anyone here have experience with the HD program for new riders? Although my knowledge is dated, since its been several years since I was an Instructor with the MSF, the program as I remember it was outstanding in building on skills to prepare a new rider for real world street conditions. It would be interesting to hear from someone familiar with both the HD program and the MSF program and compare the two. I taught the MSF basic rider's course in both Wisconsin and Illinois. In Wisconsin we spread the training out over three weekends, training two classes of 12 every three weeks. All the students had to attend one Friday night classroom work. Half the class came for the range/classroom all day Saturdays, and half came Saturday AM and Sunday AM for the three weekends. In Illinois we did a single 12 person class in one weekend. In my opinion, the WI program was more effective, building in time between the lessons seemed to help the students absorb the material and the skills better than in a single, intensive weekend of training. I'm curious as to how the HD program works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That’s the kind of program i was hoping to find here-spread out, rather than 2 or 3-12 hour days. The regular MSF is 645am-5pm. The HD program here is 3 consecutive days -4-8 first day, then 8-4 the following 2.
 
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