Alpharetta, Ga., has plenty to choose from when looking for unique adventures, but there is one hidden gem that fills every daredevil with excitement: the expansive Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Campus. It is definitely a “must do” in Alpharetta, and having never been on a motorized bike before, it was time for me to cross “learn how to ride a dirt bike” off of my bucket list.
The state-of-the-art MSF facility is dedicated to expanding rider education and motorcycle safety opportunities. On any given day, you’ll find street bikers taking basic training, youngsters learning how to maneuver ATVs, groups team building, families learning the elements of dirt biking or, in our case, a class of first-time riders eager to learn. After signing up for the basic rider course, I felt a zing of excitement and recruited a friend (who also had never been on a bike before) to join me.
The day started off bright and early as we suited up with protective gear and learned basic hand signals and safety precautions. All training courses include motor safety gear from head to toe, certified coaches and CRF Honda dirt bikes. After we were properly geared up, we hopped on our bikes (already personalized with our names!) to learn basic skills and rules of the road. Before we knew it, our class of 10 was doing figure eights around orange cones and standing while make turns. I couldn’t believe it!
We continued the day doing some drills, and as each instructor gave the lesson, my classmates and I would look at each other with wide eyes as we tried to picture ourselves completing the tasks. The instructors would ensure us that we could do it and were enthusiastic and patient with us as we took the time to learn the drill. The instructors were phenomenal. They were patient and motivational as we weaved around the cones and tried our newly learned skills. After each round, we were greeted with high fives and congratulations. Needless to say, after about 20 drills, we were exhausted and ready to head home to relax. It was a fun-filled day, and we can’t wait to try another class at the campus.
Tips for your first day:
- Stay hydrated. The staff has a cooler filled with bottled water for you to have throughout the day. Make sure to use it.
- Eat breakfast before gearing up. You need a lot of energy.
- Be patient with yourself. Jumping on a bike for the first time isn’t easy. It sometimes took me longer to learn the skills than my classmates. I would get frustrated with myself at times, but I kept trying and eventually got the hang of things.
- Bring snacks and pack a lunch. You have a few breaks throughout the day and an hour for lunch. We packed our lunches, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby, so a quick outing to grab a bite would work, too.
- Don’t plan to head to the gym afterward. Pushing a 250-pound bike around and sweating under all that gear can wear you out. Plan to relax after your lesson (maybe even plan a trip to an Alpharetta spa).
- Have fun and enjoy the ride!
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation campus is located within the American Honda Complex at 1450 Morrison Parkway. For more information about the classes offered or the campus, visit www.offroad-training.org. For more information on where to find adventure and accommodations in Alpharetta, Ga., visit www.awesomealpharetta.com.