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The idea of riding a motorcycle is thrilling, especially if you’ve ridden with an experienced driver before: the adrenaline rush that comes from the speed of the motorcycles isn’t comparable to much else, and almost nothing can feel as freeing as a good, long ride along country roads in the summer. The thrill of riding shouldn’t cloud a newcomer’s judgment, however; unlike learning how to ride a bicycle, you can’t just get on a motorcycle and go all willy-nilly. Before hitting the road on a motorcycle of your own, here are a few things you should know.

 

Take a class.

 

Just like learning to drive a car, you’ll need to take lessons in order to drive a motorcycle. Sign up for a motorcycle safety course near you to do so. These courses usually last about three days. Over the course of those three days, you’ll work alongside certified instructors who are familiar with motorcycles and the motorcycle laws that apply to your area. You’ll learn how to respond to common riding challenges while under supervision in a controlled environment, and by the end of the course, you’ll have a basic understanding of how to ride and keep yourself (and others) safe on the road.

 

These courses aren’t just for beginners. Many seasoned riders will take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course to keep their riding skills fresh, and advanced riding courses are available for further learning.

 

Buy a used motorcycle.

 

After getting your license, registration, and insurance, research the best motorcycles for beginner riders and buy that model used. It’s similar to getting your first car back when you were a teenager: unless you were lucky, you most likely got a used car since you were still learning the ropes. Being mindful of the cost doesn’t mean you have to cheap out on quality, however. There are plenty of bikes out there that run beautifully for a fraction of its manufacturer cost. Besides, if you dent a cheap, used bike, you’re less likely to lose sleep over it than if you dented a brand new bike.

 

Don’t skimp out on safety gear.

In the movies, motorcyclists are often depicted as people who ride wearing everyday clothes without a lick of protection on them. While Hollywood makes this look cool (and some people do ride this way), you shouldn’t skimp out on riding safely for the sake of looking cool. Accidents happen all the time, and having high-quality safety gear can be the difference between life and death. Gloves, a jacket and pants specifically designed for motorcyclists, boots, and a high-grade helmet are all essential to riding a motorcycle. However, there are other types of safety gear you can invest in that will also ensure your safety.