If you have ever looked longingly upon a motorcycle as it whizzed by, you might have been bitten by the bike bug and didn’t even know it.

If you have always dreamed of getting on two wheels but didn’t know how to go about it, you have been bitten by the bike bug.

If you are contemplating a perfect time to do it, the answer is now!

With spring-like weather manifesting itself and more and more motorcycles appearing on the roads, it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing.

But where do you start? How do you go about it and what steps do you need to go through?

Over the next few weeks, we will feature a four-part series on motorcycling. It will cover everything from schools, to gear to buying a bike and more. As I said, there’s no better time than now to embrace your inner motorcyclist and have the time of your life.

Take the Test

In order to get your learner’s license in BC, you will need to take the ICBC Motorcycle Knowledge Test. To attain the handbook that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with, you can either download it from the ICBC website, or visit a branch in person to pick up a hard copy.

After you have studied it from end to end, you’ll need to take and pass the test at an ICBC branch, which will then give you your “L.”

Visit www.icbc.com and type in “motorcycle” into the search bar. That is the easiest way to get you to the pages you’ll need to work with.

After Getting Your “L” Permit

There are two steps in acquiring your full motorcycle license. First, you’ll have to pass the Motorcycle Skills Test portion of the process. Then you’ll have your full road test.

Riding Training

I absolutely, 100 per cent without-a-doubt recommend going to a professional school to learn how to ride. I’m not saying your bff who has selflessly volunteered to teach you everything you need to know about riding isn’t qualified or unfit for the task, but they might not be a “teacher.” Sure they have the skills, but can they communicate effectively the points that you need to be safe?

If yes, then go for it.

But professional schools have professional teachers. They also know the ICBC system and will teach you above and beyond what you’ll need to execute in order to start riding on your own. And more importantly, to be safe!

They will also help build your confidence and try and help you eradicate bad habits that you may or may not know you are forming.

Granted, most courses aren’t cheap. But you’re worth it and so is your safety. Check out regional schools or save up to come to the Lower Mainland. I wouldn’t have done my license any other way.

Some schools to check out are: Pacific Riding School, V-Twin Motorcycle School, the Justice Institute of BC, High Gear Motorcycle Training (private lessons) and more.

You don’t have to start on the Road

Many of the top road racers in the world didn’t start on the pavement. They started in the dirt. Why? Because it teaches you how to control a bike in less than ideal traction environments. Also, if you fall, it doesn’t hurt as much!

You can certainly get your feet wet when it comes to learning clutch and brake control on a “softer” surface, too.

Furthermore, you don’t need a learner’s permit if you are riding off road.

When and if you want to transition to the street riding, you’ll need it for that.

Check out Popkum Motor Park’s Lessons/Training (www.popkummotorpark.com) program for all ages, as well as the BC Off Road Motorcycle Association’s website (www.bcorma.ca) for upcoming MSF Dirt Bike Schools. Another perk to starting to build your bike confidence on the dirt, training programs aren’t as expensive.

So, this is me, the little white angel on your shoulder whispering, “Go on, get on two wheels!” But remember, safety is paramount. Take the test, go to school and thank me later.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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