Class sizes are small, and they fill up fast.

As a thick blanket of snow settles on everything I can see out my window, I’m naturally thinking about spring. Know what else it’s almost time for, though? MSF Basic RiderCourse signups! Spots fill up very quickly, so now is the time to find out when your local schools offering this course are opening their registration for 2020.

That goes double if your state is one that offers subsidized motorcycle safety class training to its residents. I remember signing up for the MSF course in Illinois several years back, and watching the available slots disappear practically right before my eyes as I madly refreshed my browser. Since different states and training facilities have different registration terms, head over to the MSF website and type in your ZIP code to find out specifics for your area.

Since it’s the middle of January, registration probably isn’t open yet—but in some places, it opens as early as the beginning of February each year. That’s why right now is a great time to find out exactly when registration opens in your area. Then you can mark it on your calendar and get ready to sign up! That’s the first step toward getting yourself some solid skills and theory training on the school’s bikes (not your bike!), which is the best part. If you're extra short or tall, don't worry—your school should have a bike that fits.

In some states, taking the MSF Basic RiderCourse may grant you a waiver on taking the motorcycle test at your local DMV. Additionally, you may want to talk to your moto insurance provider, because successfully passing the course may entitle you to a discount.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Basic RiderCourse will usually take your entire weekend, starting Friday evening right after work. Instructors are strict about being on time, so make sure you get there early if you’re serious about getting through the course. 

Friday is classroom theory, and you’ll start doing on-bike exercises bright and early Saturday morning. Here’s a complete course breakdown of what you’ll be learning. Don’t psych yourself out too much ahead of time, though—especially if you’re the type of person who learns best by doing rather than by reading about it. Getting your hands on the bike helps a lot.