In our last article we told you that the best way to learn to ride a motorcycle is by taking an MSF motorcycle riding course and the different types of MSF Motorcycle Classes. In this post we’ll discuss what to bring to the MSF basic rider motorcycle course. As a preliminary matter, it depends on whether you are taking the initial and longer MSF Basic RiderCourse or if you have some experience and your own motorcycle and are therefore taking the MSF Basic RiderCourse 2. So, we’ll cover both below.
MSF Basic RiderCourse — BRC or RiderCourse 1
For the 15 hour MSF Basic RiderCourse 1 all locations should have smaller motorcycles that are good to learn on (and this is included in the price of the MSF class) and most locations will have some helmets to lend out also (definitely confirm this with the site hosting the MSF course). If, like me, you are not sure that you are going to actually get a motorcycle after the MSF class, then using a loaner helmet can save some money (most motorcycle helmets aren’t cheap). However, if you know that you will keep riding a motorcycle after the class, I’d suggest bringing your own helmet. Also, the MSF instructors will require you to have eye protection, so if the helmet you are using doesn’t have a face shield, you will have to bring safety/sun glasses or goggles (if you’re using the MSF site’s helmets, be sure to ask about whether they have shields or if you should bring glasses/goggles).
Other items that you are required to wear at any MSF class are gloves, long pants, long sleeves and over-the-ankle footwear. For the long pants and long sleeves, sturdy materials are recommended. If you don’t have motorcycle pants, jeans should be fine for the MSF course. For long sleeves the temperature may influence you, but if it is not too hot I’d suggest something thicker than a tee shirt — perhaps a sweatshirt. These should keep you from getting too scraped up if you should go down during the class (the riding in the course is lower speeds in a big parking lot).
The long pants and over-the-ankle boots can also protect you from getting burned by the engine or exhaust if you should fall down. For my MSF class, I wore some old hiking boots, but any kind of boots (or high top leather sneakers) should work — though it should have a rubber sole with good grip rather than a smooth leather sole common on cowboy boots.
Gloves are also important as they can help you keep a good grip even if your hands get sweaty and gloves can also provide protection if you fall — as it is normal to try to reach out with your hands to break your fall. For my MSF class I bought some cheap rubber armored work gloves that I bought from a hardware store — and they did protect my hands the one time I dropped the bike. You can also get motorcycle gloves at reasonable prices from stores that sell motorcycling gear. While usually still more expensive than work gloves, they will usually have extra protection and are much more reasonably priced than motorcycle boots, motorcycle jackets or motorcycle pants — all of which are usually pretty expensive.
You should also bring a writing pen, your regular driver’s license (or other identification if you don’t have a license) and in states that require a motorcycle learner’s permit you should bring that too (check with your MSF site and your state DMV). Other things I suggest bringing are bottled water and sunscreen (for what is exposed under a helmet, and also you will stand around outside and the backs of your hands, neck and ears may get burned).
Please note that most MSF courses go on rain or shine, so if it is raining you will want to be prepared with waterproof pants and jacket (and gloves too).
MSF Basic RiderCourse 2 and Advanced RiderCourse
For the MSF Basic RiderCourse 2 and the MSF Advanced RiderCourse, everything said above applies and you will also need to bring your own motorcycle (unless your site rents them for these courses) your motorcycle license, and proof of motorcycle ownership and insurance.
I hope this is helpful in knowing what to bring to your MSF motorcycle course. Above all, come prepared to learn (even if you’ve been riding a while) and have fun!
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