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Being able to ride a bicycle is the only prerequisite to taking the MSF basic rider course. If you haven't taken such a course, I strongly urge you to do so as it will help keep you safer on the road. Self/family/friend trained riders have more crashes than professionally trained riders, and their injuries are more serious. A motorcycle doesn't need a rider to remain upright when moving. Motorcycle Is Determined To Win Race Even Without Rider - YouTube
I can not stress this enough. I went into the BRC training course thinking I knew quite a bit having rode for a few months prior and previous experience. (I have about several years of BMX / MTB background as well) Upon completing the 2 day course and passing, while not super challenging, changed the way I ride far beyond what I would have spent the time to learn on my own. And even if I would have tried to learn on my own, there are so many myths and how-to's out there from people who have little to no experience that its a crapshoot on what the right things to do actually are. I felt so much more confident walking out of that class because I had answers AND I had someone with years of training confirm/correct how I was riding.

Some items I learned during the on-bike practice in no particular order:
  • Parts of the bike and how to safely mount and dismount the bike.
  • Understanding the clutch and friction zone and how to use effectively in different scenarios.
  • How to work the shifter
  • When and how to use front and rear brakes safely and efficiently on both corners, straightaways and emergencies.
  • How to serve around obstacles
  • How to plan for escape routes
  • Techniques for turning at low and high speed.
  • Low speed control and balance
  • How to safety ride over obstacles
  • How to use turn signals and safe procedure for switching lanes.
  • U-Turns (A brief moment of silence for those that went outside the box, lol)
  • Where to look when riding (seems simple, but look where you want to go and not where your bike is going... Instructure kept on me about that.)
  • And just straight one on one questions/answers with the instructor. (They are down to earth and easy talk to if you have questions)
  • The online portion while not as exhilarating, still provides a ton of good information about how to ride in bad weather, how to assess risk in different scenarios and ultimately prepares you for riding with a wealth of information. Some of the course is free.

    You can check out some the resources on this channel.
In my experience, riding a bike gives you the experience of balancing two wheels and not much more. If you learn the basics of good motorcycling, you can definitely practice motorcycle technique on a bike, but it's not a substitute for training on a motorcycle. The motorcycle is much heavier than a bike. The environment you ride a motorcycle in is much different and more aggressive than that of a bike. Awareness is much different and requires you to judge stopping distance, blind spots, people not seeing you, road conditions, obstacles, weather and a variety of other input while doing all the basics like using the clutch, shifting, braking etc, etc... If you tip on a bike, you get an abrasion and can usually get back up. If your motorcycle goes down on a freeway, not only do you have to worry about the wipeout with a 500lbs bike... BUT there are cars right behind you going 70mph or faster... Every motorcycle is different and will require different technique so even if you have experience, take time to get to know the bike before going on a trip and always assess risk as you ride.

Making a split second decision could mean life or death for a motorcyclist. The more knowledge you have, the quicker you can make a life saving decision.

Ride safe everyone!
 
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