Next step: California. The step after that: other states?

What does the International Motorcycle Show (IMS) want people who are interested in becoming new riders to do after they Discover The Ride? Two things, as it turns out. One is to check out their New to 2 video series to learn more about the basics of riding—at least, as much as anyone can without actually getting seat time. The other is to get that all-important seat time in a hands-on course called Next Steps.

IMS just announced that it’s teamed up with the Academy of Motorcycle Operation to offer an IMS-sponsored training course on October 19 and 20, 2019 at AMO’s location in Altadena, California. If you attended the 2018 IMS Long Beach show, and you also participated in the Discover The Ride course there, you’re officially invited to Next Steps to actually get hands-on training in operating a motorcycle over two days of class. The AMO course uses the CHP Motorcycle Training Course to teach new riders.

The IMS is sponsoring four course participants who will be compensated for attending the course. It’s also offering discounted tickets to the course for five additional participants. Breakfast and lunch will also be offered during the two-day event. To find out more information, contact Leah Boles at lboles@motorcycleshows.com. Registration is currently open, and will remain open until September 20, 2019. 

What IMS is doing is important in terms of making it easier for people interested in riding to learn new skills, get licensed, and get on some bikes. Even though it's starting fairly small, hopefully this initial session goes well enough that the IMS sees a reason to continue and expand it. The Discover The Ride program traveled across the country in the 2018/2019 shows and it would be great to see more than just potential new riders in the Long Beach area have an opportunity like this. After all, Next Steps is definitely better than no steps, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for its success.

People Who Want To Learn To Ride, But Aren’t In CA: Listen Up.

It’s worth noting that depending on where you live, quality motorcycle training—on the school’s bikes, even—may be easier to find than you think.  For example, the state of Illinois actually offers FREE motorcycle training that uses the MSF courses, through the Illinois Department of Transportation. This is a statewide program, not one that's available only in the Chicago area.

These courses are administered through regional centers throughout the state and the actual training takes place at community colleges. The Basic Rider Courses start Friday evening and run for a whole weekend. Instructors are strict; if you are late for the first session and miss roll call, you cannot attend the remainder of the class. Is it worth your time? Do you even have to ask?

The coolest part about this program is that once you make it through the entire weekend, you get a BRC completion card mailed to you. That's important because it waives the Illinois Secretary of State motorcycle endorsement test requirement.

In other words, by completing this course successfully, you can take that completion card to your local DMV and get that coveted "M" on your license. You still have to pay the DMV to have your license updated, but that’s a pretty great deal.

Other states may or may not have similar programs, so if you’re interested, it might be worth a little digging in your state’s DOT website.

Sources: IMS, IDOT