Q. I want to ride a dirt bike, how do I get started?
A. Good choice! At it’s most basic, dirt bike riding falls into two different categories: on a motocross track or on trails. Either way you go (or hopefully you’ll try both) the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) Dirt Bike School www.dirtbikeschool.com is a great place to get started. They have instructors in nearly every state. MSF will put you in touch with a certified instructor (male or female) and they can supply you with a bike, gear, helmet, and all the equipment you’ll need for your first dirt bike experience. The school will go over the basic mechanics of riding a dirt bike in a safe and controlled environment. You learn how to start the bike, use the clutch and brakes, basics about turning and operating the bike. They usually supply a smaller bike to learn on with a smooth throttle. You can get group or one-on-one lessons. Another organization with a similar course and certified instructors is Train2Ride.com (which is taught by women). Also, down the line you can consider renting a bike for the day. Check the yellow pages for a shop or vacation/adventure company that rents bikes your area.
Once you are ready to get your own bike, you’ll need the following to get started:
- Dirt bike (see the How to Choose a Dirt Bike section of the site)
- Trailer, Truck, or Sport carrier (to transport the bike – unless you decide on a dual-sport bike that is street legal, see How to Choose a Dirt Bike section of the site)
- Gas Can
- Riding Pants – fortunately many companies make women’s specific gear for a better fit, but some find the men’s pants are still a better match for them.
- Motocross Boots
There are more options for protective gear (chest protectors, knee guards, kidney belts and so on) that you can look into. You’ll also need some bike maintenance items like gear oil and filter cleaner, and filter oil. If you are riding a race bike, you might want to pick up a spare plug and plug wrench, because in the beginning you may foal a plug and need to replace one. This is very easy simple thing to do, that the motorcycle shop can show you how to do yourself.
Next, you’ll need to do a little research to find out where the riding areas and motocross tracks are near you and find out what their schedules are (what days of the week they are open). The best place to find that information is at your local motorcycle/motocross shop and/or you could pick up a copy of Cycle News Magazine (at the motorcycle/motocross shop) to see ads for motocross tracks.
Motocross Tracks: Practice days at motocross tracks average about $ 15.00 a day. At some tracks you may need to join their insurance group. The annual fee is around $ 20.00. If you are riding alone, motocross tracks are a safer option then trail riding. If you ride alone, consider having medical information with you. Companies like Moto Medic make a waterproof pouch that can attaches to your bike with Velcro.
Trail Riding: Trail riding is usually free. You’ll need to get an Off-road vehicle registration. The registration will run about $ 10.00 annually. You’ll also need to have a spark arrestor on your bike (more details on How to Choose a Dirt Bike section) that can be purchased at most motorcycle/motocross shops.
Fill up on gas and you are on your way!