Safe Riding

MSF Basic RiderCourse – A Student’s Perspective

Written by  April 30, 2007

To get a student’s perspective on what it’s like to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic RiderCourse (BRC), I decided to interview a student who had recently completed the course. Terry completed her BRC on Sunday, April 29, and I conducted the following interview with her later that same day.

CC: Did you have any riding experience prior to taking the Basic RiderCourse (BRC)?
Terry:Yes, I rode dirt bikes, three-wheelers and ATVs when I was younger, but it’s been at least 20 years since I last rode.

CC: Had you taken any rider training courses prior to the BRC?
Terry: No, this is the first training course I’ve taken. My uncle taught me to ride dirt bikes when I was around 10 years old and rode until I was around 18, but it was just the basics and I learned more by trial and error.

CC: Why did you decide to take the BRC?
Terry: My boyfriend and many of my close friends ride. I recently purchased my own motorcycle and wanted to take the BRC as a refresher course and to be a safe rider for myself and others.

CC: At which rider training facility did you take the BRC?
Terry: I received my training at Rolling Wheels Training Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

CC: Why did you choose to take the BRC at this particular rider training facility?
Terry: They are the closest MSF training facility to where I live, and they came highly recommended.

CC: Who were your RiderCoaches, and how would you rate them on a scale of 1-4 (1-Poor, 2-Fair, 3-Good, 4-Excellent)?
Terry: My class had three RiderCoaches. Fred Mays was our classroom instructor and on a scale of 1-4, I would rate him a 5 on both classroom and range instruction. Marke Lane was one of our Range RiderCoaches and I would rate him a 5 on instruction and advising. Greg 'Demo' Parish was our other Range RiderCoach, and I would rate him a 5 on instruction and especially demos.

CC: How many students were in your class?
Terry: There were 12 students in my class.

CC: What percentage of the students in your class were male and female?
Terry: Our class was split 50/50 between men and women.

CC: What type of motorcycle did you ride during your BRC?
Terry: I rode a Suzuki GZ250, but they also had Honda Nighthawks, Suzuki DR200s, and a Kawasaki Eliminator dirt bike..

CC: Were you allowed to select the bike you wanted to ride or was it assigned to you by your RiderCoach?
Terry: They let us pick out the bike we wanted to ride and asked us to stand next to it so they could make sure it was a good match. Some of the bikes were narrower than others and the dirt bike was much taller than the small cruisers, so a gentleman with riding experience rode that one.

CC: What was the most challenging part of the BRC for you as a student?
Terry: For me, it was doing a figure 8 inside a 20’ x 60’ box that was painted on the range. It’s much harder than it looks.

CC: Did you pass the BRC the first time?
Terry: Yes, I passed the course and received a completion certificate, which is about the size of a business card.

CC: What was the most enjoyable part of your training experience?
Terry: I enjoyed the riding portion of the course the most; however, both the classroom and range portion of the course greatly enhanced my confidence in my ability to ride. It was also nice that everyone in our class got along great and we went to lunch together each day and celebrated everyone passing the course with dinner and drinks on the last day. Everyone really bonded and at the beginning of our classroom training our class was divided into three groups of four, and each group had to decide on a name for our group. We called ourselves Stars & Stripes, and the other two groups decided on Team Mojo and Cruisers. It was a great team building exercise.

CC: Would you recommend the BRC to others, and why?
Terry: Definitely! It teaches you to handle several different situations you’re likely to encounter on the street when you start riding, and it's a great refresher to reinforce what you already know.

CC: Do you have any tips for someone thinking about taking the BRC?
Terry: Don’t plan anything else during the days you are training. You need to be well rested and attentive each day because the riding portion of the training can really take a lot out of you. Therefore I suggest you go to bed early and not drink alcohol until your training class is over.

CC: Do you currently own your own motorcycle, and if so, what is the year, make and model? Terry: Yes, I recently purchased a 2005 Honda VTX 1300C.

CC: Are you concerned that it may be too big for your first bike?
Terry: No, I don’t think so. It is a big bike, but I’m fairly tall and the bike is well balanced. I was a little intimidated prior to taking my training class; however, I’m now very confident I can handle it.

CC: Where did you purchase your motorcycle?
Terry: I purchased it from an individual who my next door neighbor was trying to sell it for.

CC: Do you wear a DOT rated helmet, even if it is not required by law, and if so, why?
Terry: Yes, because they’re much safer.

CC: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your rider training experience or anything else in general?
Terry: All of the RiderCoaches were very informative, helpful, and wonderful to work with. I was nervous going into class, but everyone made me feel very comfortable and confident in my ability to ride. Fred is a great teacher and Greg is awesome with the 'demos!' I highly recommend Rolling Wheels Training Center for anyone who is interested in learning to ride or wants a refresher course to make them a better and safer rider.

Interview by Mike Schweder