Motorcycle License!

In my continuing mission to drive and all things motorized I have obtained my motorcycle license! While this isn’t something I’ve actually acted on before this year I’ve always had a desire to ride and drive every kind of vehicle. For me, the desire to drive everything really got it’s start on my grandparent’s farm. At a young age I was introduced to the wide variety of machinery used on a farm and always enjoyed the thrill of mastering a new piece of equipment. Sometimes, though, it is hard to put these desires into action and we get caught up in the familiar of every day life. Earlier this year my life was far from the familiar, and for all the wrong reasons. While that story is not for an automotive blog, one day I spent with my brother during that time broke my internal monotony and served as the catalyst for all things with two wheels.

A friend of mine had asked me to pick up license plates for his new van (that’s what happens when you have kids, vans! Ugh.) at a dealership near my house. I was hanging out with my brother and niece that day so we all decided to run some errands and get out of the house for a while. On the way back from picking up the plates for my friend, my brother decided to stop at the local Triumph and Yamaha dealer to have a look around. My brother is a master mechanic for BMW and has heavy automotive interests as well so I didn’t think much up the random visit. However, as we walked around and talked to one of the salesmen I became the one talking about the bikes, sitting on them, and generally being the focus of the visit. “But,” I said to myself, “I wasn’t even the one who wanted to stop here!” Too late! My thoughts were set in motion, plans were made, and things progressed quickly.

I began to think about the advantages of riding a motorcycle and decided that the gas mileage would greatly reduce the cost of my commute to work, I could take the HOV lanes, and park right next to the building I work in rather than a parking garage 10-15 minutes away. Thus I found myself on the Maryland MVA website later that week looking into what is needed to get a license. Originally I wanted to go the cheap route and take the class done by the MVA in Glenn Bernie but found out they were booked until late summer. Therefore I picked the next cheapest option and selected the community college near my house. Apparently these motorcycle classes are in high demand because everywhere I looked they were booking very quickly. Eventually I managed to find a class that fit my schedule and registered.

The class is a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) class that is certified by the MVA in Maryland. The class I took consisted of two evenings of classroom work followed by two half days of riding motorcycles in a parking lot (both provided by the college). A written test was taken after the first day of riding and a skills test was taken at the end of the class. Surprisingly, I managed the highest score on the skills test even though there were people who had ridden before in the class with me. Overall the class was very good and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting their motorcycle license.

With the certificate in hand I went down to the MVA and traded my regular license for one that also authorized me to ride on two wheels. This has been the highlight of my year so far and it was amazing the sense of accomplishment I felt by adding this new skill to my life. Now, to find my first motorcycle!