Nothing wrong with making a few trips to various motorcycle dealerships of various brands to wet your whistle and get a feel for the kind of riding style you think you might like.
Getting your name on the list of a Basic Riders Course now, for the Spring thru your local Motor Vehicle Department or some online source, to get it done and out of the way, WOULD be wise, as has already been said.
Typically, they use 250cc bikes in these Courses, and will require that you have a Helmet, gloves and shoes that cover your ankles. (They provide the bikes, and sometimes the helmets).
Probably you shouldn't buy a bunch of additional gear until you know what style of riding you want to do (it would look ridiculous to be dressed up like a Power Ranger, and be riding a Harley, if you get my point).