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Complete Guide to Getting Into Motorcycling

Complete Checklist for Getting into Motorcycling

Never ridden before? Don't sweat it. Every rider you have ever seen out on the road has started somewhere. They might have been 3 years old wearing grease and ripping dirt bikes in their uncle's back pasture. They might have been 62 years old and nervously took a motorcycle safety class in order to try something on their bucket list. While every rider's start is unique to them, there are a few basics that every rider picks up along the way. Here is that checklist of basics for getting into motorcycling.

Where do I start?

There are classes nearby that are designed for the novice rider with no (or limited) street riding experience. It includes both classroom and on-cycle instruction. 

Just Do It – Conquering Your Fears072387_ST_19GAP_181261_V2_FN

Moh-ter-sahy-klist: A person willing to take a container of flammable liquid, place it on top of a hot moving engine and then put the whole lot between their legs.

Wait, what?

I really want to learn to ride a motorcycle, but I’m scared. Those exact words went through my head at the start of my motorcycling journey. I don’t blame you. It can seem scary at first to be on a motorcycle exposed with no walls surrounding you while you’re riding, but that’s what motorcycling is all about. It’s a new way to experience the sights and sounds surrounding you. It gives us a chance to reconnect with our environment.

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What Women Motorcyclists Wantwomen-want_blog

Women are fueling the future of motorcycle riding, according to new data from the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC). In the last 10 years, the number of women riding motorcycles has roared up 9 percent, driven in part by Gen Y women.

The MIC polled 2,472 adults across the United States for the 2018 Motorcycle/ATV Owner Survey to confirm that a wave of women has entered the sport. A solid 19 percent of motorcycle owners are women. When isolating for Gen Y, that number rockets up to 26 percent.

“It makes perfect sense that millennial women are fueling the future of riding,” said Tai Day, who is the vice chair of Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists (WCM), a nonprofit group that works to grow women motorcycle ridership. “Millennials crave experiences over things, and riding a motorcycle is the ultimate experience.” 

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Why take a motorcycle safety course?

Motorcycle Safety Courses are typically managed by the Highway Patrol division of the state government. While there are several different providers typically available in most areas of the country, the ones offered through or endorsed by that state's Highway Patrol typically offer  added benefits when trying to get a motorcycle endorsement at the DMV. In the state of California, the California Highway Patrol manages a group called the California Motorcycle Safety Program. 

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Local Bay Area Motorcycling Training Providers

Find a different California Motorcycle Safety Program Training Course.


Motorcycle Riding for Beginners

Whether it’s a cross country journey on a touring bike or riding a motorcycle through traffic on the highway, we’ve all seen bikers enjoying their rides. If it looks like fun to you it probably will be fun for you.

“But can I do it?” The answer is yes!

Is it hard to learn to ride a motorcycle?

Anyone can learn to ride a motorcycle, especially if they start by participating in a motorcycle safety course (more on that later). Motorcycles are not difficult to ride but you should familiarize yourself with the controls and proper riding techniques before starting out.

How long does it take to learn to ride a motorcycle?

How long it takes to get comfortable varies from person to person, but if you’re already experienced on a bicycle or dirt bike, you will likely get up to speed quicker. It also varies from bike to bike, however, if you start with a small bike it will be easier.

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No license yet? No problem! Take a Ride on the Harley Ride Simulator

You may have heard people say that there’s nothing like being on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Now, you can find out for yourself – even if you have no previous experience with motorcycles.

The Harley-Davidson®  JUMPSTART™ Rider Experience combines a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a specially-designed, stationary support stand.

  • No knowledge or previous motorcycle experience necessary.
  • Motorcycle will not tip over.

Jump Start

Find Out More

California Highway Patrol Publishes Lane Splitting Safety Tips

For those of you riders who split lanes in California traffic, check out a couple of these recently published Lane Splitting Safety Tips.

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Beginner's Guide to Customizing a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle20190810_221517423_iOS

While every rider has an idea of what a Harley-Davidson motorcycle typically looks like in their head, no two look exactly alike. With tens of thousands of factory customizations, hundreds of thousands of aftermarket customizations there is no end to the creative opportunities available to you when customizing your new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Think about the style, performance and function of a motorcycle when you are getting started. And then leverage the team at Oakland Harley-Davidson to turn it into a reality.

Customizing for Function

Every customization you make to your bike really needs to fit your body and your riding style. Form does follow function after all. Your body comes into contact with your motorcycle at your hands, your feet and your seat. The three together are commonly referred to as "the rider triangle". The angles of this triangle determine how comfortable you are. And each is different based on the person and the type of riding they are doing.

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10 Motorcycle Accessories for the New Riderengine%20guard

It can be incredibly  intimidating to "get into motorcycling". There is so much to learn about motorcycles. And there are definitely some secrets to making sure you are comfortable and confident when you ride. Many new riders will pick out the right motorcycle and work with a Customization Specialist to get the bike to fit them great by adjusting the seat or handlebars. What many new riders miss is that there are other accessories that can drastically improve the comfort or function of our your ride. Here are 10 examples of those types of accessories that might not be top of mind but should definitely be towards the top of the list for any new rider. While these exact part numbers reference an accessory that fits a particular year and model of motorcycle, you can work with one of our Customization Specialists to find the equivalent for your motorcycle.

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Motorcycle Group Riding Tips and Best Practices


One of the greatest joys of motorcycling is riding with friends. But riding in a group presents special challenges – whether your “group” consists of two riders, a dozen, or more.

Group riding connects us in a way that solo riding can’t. As a group of bikes rumble through town or across the countryside, each rider is experiencing the same scenery, the same weather, the same road conditions, etc., even as each individual may experience them in a different way.

This gives gas stops and lunch breaks a whole new dimension, where riders swap stories that are as fresh as a still-too-hot cup of coffee. Fresh perspective is what’s great about group riding.

By learning some of the basic guidelines of group riding, you can help make sure your next outing is safe and enjoyable for all.

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Gear up, get out, and experience real freedom.NTI-5

People can't stop talking about #vanlife, but if the goal is to get back to basics and strip things down to the bare essentials, motorcycle campers already have a foot on the ground. Two-wheeled travel is always better - keep reading to learn why two-wheeled travel is the only way to travel.

Take a breath and breathe in the freedom of the open road. Riding around your city is fun. Riding around your state is exhilarating. Riding your Harley-Davidson® motorcycle around the country, exploring places you’ve only imagined or dreamed of, can be life-altering—and with a few simple preparations, it’s easier than you might think. Here are a few tips to start planning your ultimate road trip.

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Women's Motorcycle Community - The Litas - Is Fiercely InclusiveWomen_sitting_on_a_motorcycle_575x300

Women riders are storming the open road and The Litas—a community of women motorcyclists—is leading the charge. 

The name, Litas, is a made-up word, says founder Jessica Wise, but the friendships women riders are forming are real. 

“Women can be overly analytical and hard on themselves and it leads them to be competitive with each other,” said Wise. “It’s natural for women to throw up walls. Bonding over motorcycles breaks them down.”After riding with men for years, Wise longed to share her love of the sport with women. On a whim, The Litas was born and its rise has been spectacular. In four short years, the community of women riders has exploded to more than 8,000 riders in 250 cities and 30 countries—including Portugal, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Brazil.

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Need more?

There are many online articles and tools out there to help you.

Check out or schedule some one-on-one time with our expert staff!

Check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundations Library for free booklets, videos and tips!