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WHAT TO EXPECT AT RIDING ACADEMY

Discover what you need to know before your first day. Preparation is important to avoid any last minute issues.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

After enrolling, you should be contacted by our Riding Academy Manager with any specifics to your course, including what to bring, what is required, and where and when to meet. We will give you a call to welcome you, invite you out for a Jumpstart session or a Riding Gear fitting, remind you of items to bring and answer any questions you might have about the class.

The state of Minnesota and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation curriculum requires a MSF Basic eCourse be completed prior to your first day of class. The eCourse replaces a classroom session at the dealership and can easily be completed at your convenience prior to the first night of class. Look through your welcome email to find the link to the MSF Learning Center and your access code. (Note: Do not pay the $10 fee for the e-course. Use the code sent to your email to access the e-course. This cost is included in the price of the class).

Be sure to budget time prior to the first day of class to complete the eCourse – it takes about 3 hours, and even if you have previous experience with motorcycling, you cannot fast forward through any sections of the eCourse. You will receive a completion certificate at the end of the course, be sure to print that out and bring it to the first day of class.

If you do not complete the MSF e-course and fail to present the certificate of completion, you will not be allowed to participate in the Riding Academy class.


WHAT TO WEAR?

You’ve probably heard by now you are required to wear riding gear for the class. Sometime before the first night of class, take what you have to the dealer to get it checked out. They can help you ensure that you have the right equipment.

harley gear

FOOTWEAR

Over the ankle footwear is essential, so get the dealer OK on the boots you intend to wear. You might want to ask to sit on a Harley-Davidson Street® 500 motorcycle to ensure that your boots work with the footrests and controls. Gloves and a helmet are the only essential motorcycle specific items.

Grab a pair of full fingered motorcycle gloves and try them on while testing the controls of the Harley-Davidson Street® 500 – this will ensure that they will work for you.

HELMET

A helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle gear you will invest in. A helmet is a very personal piece of gear. Consider buying a helmet vs. borrowing one, that way it is yours and it fits you perfectly and allows you to focus on learning to ride. Our MotorClothes team can provide a custom fitting to make sure you purchase the right helmet for you.

They are trained to fit a helmet and will ensure you get the right one. Helmet fit is so important that they will most likely suggest you wear the one you settle on around the dealer for about 15 minutes. It takes that long for the helmet to really let you know if it will be comfortable in the long run. Remember, helmets are not returnable once they leave the dealership, so take the time to find the right one.

COACH TIP

The more helmet the better, full face is the best, followed by a modular. An open face helmet or ¾ open still provides good protection if you feel too cooped up in a full face. Half helmets, while very popular, offer the least amount of protection.

CLASS GEAR LIST

  • Your Driver’s License and/or Learner’s Permit
  • Proof of completion of the MSF e-course study
  • Any materials provided to you prior to or during class
  • Long-sleeve shirt or jacket
  • Long pants (heavy denim or riding pants recommended)
  • Over-the-ankle boots (sturdy, not canvas, low heel)
  • Eye protection (helmet visor, eye glasses, sun glasses, goggles acceptable)
  • Full-finger gloves (motorcycle specific recommended)
  • DOT-certified helmet

CLASSROOM

A typical weekend schedule meets on a Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday. Let’s use that as an example – schedules may vary so follow the one you receive from us.

harley class

FIRST DAY OF CLASS

The first class meeting typically runs three hours: You’ll get a tour of the dealership, fill out all the class paperwork and get to know your peers and coaches. During the paperwork session, you will hear a lot about counseling and being on time and having all the gear. Don’t fret, it is just to set clear expectations for everyone. Being that an endorsement waiver is provided through this class, it has some structural aspects that the state requires to allow for licensing.

You’ll get a ROADBOOK – this is a small Harley-Davidson® Journal that you will use to reflect on important points throughout the class. A review of the eCourse will be next, which gives you a chance to better understand important points of the eCourse. Jump in there and participate! A lot of what is being discussed you have already seen firsthand as a car driver. Then the class will turn to new material – an activity to help demystify motorcycle controls and their use will be held, as well as an activity to help understand important aspects of riding gear.

At the end of the night, coaches usually spend some time talking about the range days, what to bring, where the range is and when to be there. The range is simply a practice lot; it is a large flat piece of pavement in the parking lot of the old Gulf Coast Racing track (5302 Leopard St).

This site is blocked off from car traffic and offers a controlled environment to learn in. The night will probably conclude with a discussion on the range rules and hand signals. These are all intended to help you understand how the range works and to ensure everyone has a good time during the riding portion of the course.

COACH TIPS

  • If you are not sure where the range is, take time to drive by it on the way home versus frantically searching for it in the morning.
  • Pack whatever snacks you need to keep going physically and mentally, bottled water and gatorade is provided by the dealership.

FIRST DAY OF RIDING

Your first range day will focus on getting to know the motorcycle, how to properly start it up, move it from point A to point B, and shut it off. You learn the fundamentals of clutching and shifting, turning and stopping.

Each exercise is designed to build on the previous exercises and allow you to learn quickly and effectively. Expect each exercise to take about 40 minutes. After every other exercise, a break will be held. This is usually a ROADBOOK opportunity and a chance to just rest, get a drink of water and hang out with your classmates.

harley riding class

Following the range session, we will meet back at the dealership. Lunch will be provided for you there and an afternoon classroom session will follow. The afternoon classroom session is focused on behaviors and self-assessment. This is important stuff! The more you participate the more you will get out of it.

COACH TIP

Learning to ride can be mentally and physically exhausting. Make plans to rest Saturday night – you want to be fresh for the second range day. And don’t forget to HYDRATE!


SECOND DAY RIDING

Day 2 will focus on the skills of riding: cornering, swerving and maximum braking. Just like the first day, expect two exercises back to back with a ROADBOOK break in between. These exercises are at slightly higher speeds than yesterday’s and are a lot of fun! Expect to see smiles spread across the faces of your classmates.

harley riding class day two

At the end of the second day on the range, the coaches will set up and score the five evaluation exercises. These are based on the same exercises you just rode and the same skills you learned over the last two days of riding.

Relax and be sure to breathe – This is just a fair measurement of your current abilities to ensure that you are ready to leave the range and venture out onto the open road. Listen to your coaches and watch each student ahead of you as they ride the test exercises. You want to be sure of the path of travel and the technique being scored.

COACH TIP

Don’t score yourself during the evaluations. Not all areas of the riding exercise are scored, and most mistakes are just a few points. Riders that get worked up because they made a riding error often ride worse and make more errors. Ride on and do your best!

At the end of the evaluations, your coach will let you know how you did. If you did not pass, don’t freak! There are opportunities to take a portion of the course over or to retest later. See your Riding Academy Manager as soon as possible regarding these options.


GRADUATION

Following the range evaluation on Day 3, we will conclude in the classroom to cover state specific content, more paperwork to complete and some celebrating to do. This is it, you are in the family now, enjoy the ride!

harley cake

All Riding Academy graduates will be invited to join our exclusive Facebook Group “CC Harley Riders” to connect with other riders, find new roads & places to ride, and share riding tips.


AFTER CLASS

Students who successfully complete the classroom and range sessions will be issued a completion document. This completion document acts as your temporary license to ride. Graduates over the age of 18 will not be required to take a motorcycle operator skills test at the Department of Motor Vehicles. To convert the completion document into a license you must visit the DMV with the required documents and pay for a reprint of your license. Once you receive your new license, it will have a “M” endorsement and you will officially be a licensed motorcycle rider.

Once you’ve gotten your license, stop back into the shop to show it off and get rewarded!


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