How to learn to ride a motorcycle without owning one? You’ve probably been asking yourself this for quite a while. If you are not sure whether a motorcycle is the right choice for you or not, you might want to try riding one before you purchase your first bike. In this case, you can ride someone else’s motorcycle, even if you don’t have a license yet so that you realize if investing in one is worth it. Here are some things you should consider before doing that and some options that might be feasible in your case.
General rules regarding motorcycles
The logical question you might be asking yourself in case you want to start taking your pal’s motorcycle for a ride, without having a license is whether doing this is legal. The short answer is ‘it depends’. It depends on the state you are in, and in case you don’t live in the US, it depends on your country’s legislation.
Some countries allow you to ride certain motorcycle models without having to pass an exam and get a certificate as long as you have a driving license. In the US, you can do this for motorcycles that are up to 125cc.
The general motoring rules that apply to cars are also valid for motorcycles. If you are riding a motorcycle, you need to carry its proof of registration and ownership with you. Moreover, most states also require moped riders to carry a license.
Most motorcycles that have been registered to be used on public highways have to comply with certain state requirements, as well as federal safety requirements. There are different rules you must comply with if you want to ride your motorcycle safely and legally.
In different states, you need to use the headlight at any given time of day or night. Although tempting, riding between traffic lanes is not allowed and some states also ban riding side by side with another motorcyclist.
In most states, wearing a helmet while riding is compulsory, and most of the time, the use of a DOT certified helmet is required. This is a type of helmet that ensures a higher level of protection because it has been certified and it meets different safety requirements.
DOT certified helmets are considered safe as they were tested based on criteria such as resistance to impact, penetration, and retention. All helmets that meet safety requirements and received the DOT certification have this specification, usually next to the manufacturer’s name and the model.
Motorcyclists are also required to use eye protection. Most helmets provide this type of protection as they have an incorporated visor. Alternatively, there are also motorcycle glasses or special goggles you can use while riding. Regular sunglasses are not recommended as they don’t have shatter-resistance.
Eye protection is important while riding for two main reasons. One is the fact that you are exposed to debris that can easily harm your eyes causing discomfort, which might pose accident risks. By wearing a visor, you don’t risk causing an accident because you were too busy getting a fly out of your eye and couldn’t focus on the road.
The second reason is that your eyes get tired fast when you are riding at any speed because of the wind. Riding your motorcycle and feeling tired is never a good combination. So, it is recommended to wear eye protection even for short rides, especially if you are a beginner.
Motorcycle insurance is also highly recommended and the price you have to pay to get one depends on your age and the type of motorcycle you’re riding. Younger motorcyclists and those who recently got their license might have to pay more.
How long does it take to get your license?
This depends on a state by state basis. According to most people who got their license, the exam you have to pass is quite superficial compared to what you have to do to get a driver’s license. Moreover, once you pass the test and you get a license, you are usually allowed to ride any type of motorcycle. Depending on the state, it could take a few weeks, or even a few days to obtain this license.
To get your motorcycle license, you have to register for a course and, obviously, attend the sessions. The practical test, together with the written assessment can normally be taken on the same day. In some cases, you can complete both the written and the practical exam in one or two hours.
The practical test can imply something like doing an 8 figure around 2 cones for a few times or riding in circles or around a building several times. All in all, according to most motorcyclists, you can get your license quite easily.
How to learn to ride a motorcycle without owning one?
If you really want to learn how to ride a motorcycle without owning one, the safest option is to enroll for a professional course where you will be taught how to do this. After finishing the course, you can register for the exam and get your license.
This means taking some money out of your pocket, but it also means that you will legally be able to ride across the states after you get your license. Moreover, during the course, you will receive professional training from a specialist and learn the basic technical aspects you should know about motorcycles.
If you are not willing to pay for a course yet, or you are too busy to attend one, you can start learning how to ride a motorcycle with the help of a friend.
Before you ask a pal or family member to teach you how to ride by allowing you to experiment with his or her motorcycle, think twice. Accidents can occur even during professional training courses. If you don’t pay attention and move too fast or ignore your friend’s indications, you might end up damaging the motorcycle and getting hurt.
There is always some risk involved in learning to ride a motorcycle. This is why it’s good to do it with someone who has experience. A motorcyclist who has been riding for years can not only explain in detail how the motorcycle works but also spot your mistakes easier and help you correct them.
Besides finding a reliable and knowledgeable person who is willing to let you ride their motorcycle, it is also important to be honest with yourself before you start learning. If you have never ridden a bike or you still find it hard to maintain your balance on one, learning how to ride the motorcycle might be too much.
You should first practice with the bike and once you are perfectly capable of riding it with ease, think about getting on a motorcycle. If you don’t have a bike of your own to start practicing with it first, you can easily rent one.
Once you feel confident you can learn how to ride a motorcycle and you’ve found someone who can train you, there’s one more thing you need to do – find a good location. Since you are not taking an official course, you might want to keep a low profile and find a place where you don’t draw too much attention.
Riding on busy streets or in front of your house is not an option. If you or your friend have a large backyard or a house in the countryside where there is a lot of room for you to practice and not too many people to watch you, then the problem is solved.
Before you get on the motorcycle, your ‘trainer’ should teach you a little bit about how its mechanism works: how you start, accelerate, and hit the brakes of the motorcycle. They should also teach you how each one of the main components of the motorcycle functions and what their role is.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the brakes, pedal, steering handles, stand, and gears, it’s time to get on the motorcycle and simply start feeling the vehicle by balancing it with your feet. Then, follow your pal’s indications on how to start the engine, accelerate, and stop.
Depending on your height, you might feel a little bit strange the first time you ride a motorcycle. Especially if you are not very tall, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. To get used to managing the bike, stand on its left side, and keep your knees bent, also centering your weight over your legs. Then, grab the handles and lean toward the motorcycle. Take time to get used to how it feels and remember to always adjust your mirrors to your height.
Learning how to ride a motorcycle requires some skills and patience. Even if you have the means to practice riding without having a license, you should consider getting one if you want to become a real motorcyclist.