Getting Started: MSF Safety Courses
Anyone can learn to ride a dirt bike providing they realize it's a sport just like any other and will require time and effort in order to become a proficient and safe rider. If you've never ridden a motorcyle before, consider taking one of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Safety Courses. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers two Basic Rider courses: the MSF Basic Rider Street Course (BRC) for street bikes, and the MSF Dirt Bike School. Even though you're interested in riding dirt bikes, the street course is also a good option especially if the Dirt Bike School isn't offered in your area.
A few advantages of the BRC Street Course are:
- the Basic Rider Street Course is offered in many more locations than the Dirt Bike School
- in most states the BRC waiver is accepted in lieu of a road test (but be sure to check with your State's DMV to be sure)
- a street license will allow you to ride dual-sport events, (enduros) which can expand your riding opportunities
- if you don't have a place to ride dirt bikes, you can gain some experience riding on pavement instead
- riding a street bike in a controlled environment is a good way to find out if you feel comfortable piloting a motorcycle - if you feel overwhelmed on the smooth pavement, off-road riding is probably not for you
The curriculum for the two classes is very similar, with the noted difference of much more classroom time with the street course due to the need to learn the many rules of the road in order to earn a motorcycle license upon successful completion of the course. The Basic Rider street course is usually held in a large paved parking lot using very small (125-250cc) bikes. The dirt bike school isn't usually held out on the trails - it's normally held in a large dirt lot or a small out of the way section of a motocross track, so you don't have to worry about having to cross water or climb over logs. The MSF Dirt Bike School also offers a more advanced Introduction to Trail Riding off-road course but it's not for total beginners.
For the total beginner dirt bike rider who has never ridden before and doesn't know how to use a clutch or shift gears, either one of the MSF safety courses is a great choice.
Here's a couple of trailers for the MSF Safety Courses: