Category Archives: Moto Classes

I cannot overstate the benefits of rider training. Experience (time in the saddle) does not equate to skill level. Just because you’ve been riding a motorcycle for 10 years, does not mean you have 10 years of experience. In practice, you are more likely to have one year of experience 10 times, and who knows how many bad habits.

Working with good coaches to actively improve riding skills opens up the world of motorcycle riding and elevates enjoyment and safety in a way that’s hard to describe if you aren’t aware of how your lack of skills are limiting you. This was especially true for a street rider like me who wanted to start riding off road, but almost any rider has room for improvement. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know before I started taking classes, and now I can’t get enough. The better I get, the more fun I have, and the more I can safely enjoy (despite being a pretty slow learner).

I didn’t like dirt bike riding for a long time. My introduction to dual sport riding was difficult and a bit overwhelming. Going off pavement with a heavy plated bike made me nervous; I was always worried about how difficult the road would get. It was stressful, and not fun. I thought I wasn’t good at it, and it just wasn’t for me. A few good classes made all the difference. I may never be a really talented moto rider, but classes and working on some fundamentals made me good enough to go out and have a super fun time. I like off road riding so much now I only have one remaining street bike, and it sits for months because I’ve become so obsessed with dual sport and dirt bike riding. Taking classes (and making dirt bike friends) are responsible for this change.

The best way to learn to ride a motorcycle is on a small dirt bike, preferably as a child. Dirt riding will absolutely make you a better street rider. (Mysteriously, so many street riders (including myself for a regrettably long time) need to be convinced of that). Small bikes make better teachers, as their lack of mass compared to the rider magnifies every input. Heavy bikes mask a lot of sins.

While I didn’t get to start as a kid, taking moto riding skills classes as an adult is really elevating the enjoyment of my favorite hobby. My only regret is that I waited so long after the MSF course I took years ago when first learning to ride to take more classes. More improvement happens in one day in a class than in a year of riding as a hobby. Plus, it turns out that taking moto classes is good fun on its own, and has become another aspect of riding I look forward to. I’m a better and safer rider than ever, and seeing that progress over time is extremely rewarding.

Below is information and photos on most of the classes I’ve taken. I’ve yet to take one that I can’t recommend.

All Riders*:
Cornerspin – All riders should take this class. Probably multiple times. I can’t recommend this highly enough. (This class is not for beginners, have some seat time before going to this.)
*When I say “all” riders, I mean hobby riders who want to improve riding skills on street and/or dirt, not expert or advanced riders, professionals, or current or former racers.

Beginners – Learning to Ride:
I strongly recommend all new riders take MSF Riding Courses .
MSF Basic Rider course – “The best place to start once you’ve made the decision to ride”
MSF Dirt Bike School – I highly recommend this for beginning riders, regardless of the type of riding you want to do. If you are an adult beginner, make sure to arrange for an adults only class.

Off road:
GPMX Dirt Riding Class – Dirtbike training; I’ve taken this class twice, which is geared more toward novice skill level. I still learned quite a bit the second year I went. My current goal is to be a better dual sport rider; so I am looking for an opportunity to take the trail riding class. Beyond the specific GPMX course, riders of most skill levels will definitely learn something from Greg Pamart, and probably have a good time doing it.

MSF Trail Riding Courses – Do not let the “Introduction to” or small bikes put you off. The curriculum and techniques taught in ITR1 and ITR2 are excellent for those looking to improve their trail/dual sport/adventure riding. Novice (not beginner) to intermediate off road riders will find this class an excellent use of time, and surprisingly affordable for such a high quality course.

Street Courses:
Total Control – Street course. This improved my riding a lot more than I realized at the time. Excellent for sport bike riding, especially if you want to progress to track riding, I highly recommend taking this first. Its probably still useful for beginner track riders.

MotoMark1 – Street and Adventure Courses – Local to NC – I’ve trained with MotoMark1 twice as of 2020, (street courses only so far), and intend to go to more.

R2R Intro to Dual Sporting – A moto camping adventure

The first (hopefully annual) Ruts to Racelines – Intro to Dualsporting event in George Washington National Forest in VA was a fantastic way to spend a weekend. Part rider training, part ladies only adv/dual sport trip, lots of fun:) As … Continue reading

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What a difference a year makes. I took this GPMX dirt bike class a year ago, and just had such a good time, I signed up for it again this year. After the class last year, I bought my first … Continue reading

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20/20 Racing Academy

Oh look, more moto training (and, let’s be honest, general goofing around) with some friends from GPMX. This time, our instruction came from the excellent Ike De Jager of 20/20 Racing Academy, who led drills and trail riding at Outback … Continue reading

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Ruts to Racelines GPMX dirt class (South at NC Bike)

Well this was a fun weekend: Ruts to Racelines puts on a great moto training class. Initially, I signed up for the GPMX girls only class on Friday. Then a friend said she was going to Sundays co-ed class as … Continue reading

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MSF – Intro to Trail Riding

Despite not having any time lately for anything but work or house build related activities, I’m really glad we made time last weekend to travel to Georgia for another moto riding clinic. I’ve been pretty good about sticking to my … Continue reading

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Cornerspeed at VIR

It’s time to share another incredibly fun motorcycle experience: Kevin and I attended the Cornerspeed riding school recently, which is held on track at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Neither of us had ridden on a track before this school, and … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Ducati Monster 696, Moto Classes, Motorcycles | 3 Comments

MotoMark1 Maximum Control Level 1

A few years ago I set an informal goal to take one moto riding skills class every year. I started with Cornerspin in 2012 (which set the expectations mighty high for excellent moto riding class experiences, plus Kevin took that … Continue reading

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Total Control

Rode up to Northern VA this past weekend for a little motorcycle skills practice at Lee Parks’ Total Control Advanced Riding Course (TCARC). I figure “you can never know too much” is a pretty good attitude to have about most … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Ducati Monster 696, Moto Classes, Motorcycles, Ride Reports | 5 Comments


I thought about making the title of this post: “The more you know, the better it gets.”   or  “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” Both are bit cheesy, but true for me when it comes to riding … Continue reading

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