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RSS By: Grinnell Mutual,

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Reentry motorcycle riders start on the right foot with a rider course

Jul 15, 2014

Take the memories of riding a motorcycle from your younger days. Mix in some disposable income, some new-found free time, and an opportunity to ride again. What would you call this?

"Some people call it a mid-life crisis. We like to call it reentry," said Pete terHorst, spokesperson for the American Motorcyclist Association.

Often, the reentry rider rode in their teens or twenties, stopped riding because of obligations to his or her family or career, then had motivation to return to riding. Some reentry riders stowed their motorcycles in a shed or the back of a garage. Others were drawn back to riding by family, friends, or a shiny new bike at a dealership.

Learning fundamental riding skills with people like you

"If you haven’t ridden in over a decade, I daresay you’re rusty," said terHorst. "The motorcycling community welcomes back the reentry rider with courses tailored toward these enthusiasts. We know, in many cases, that they already have a motorcycle endorsement on their license. Rider training like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) curriculum helps them hone their skills or, if they never had the skills, to develop them properly in the first place."

In an MSF-approved course, riders learn about the fundamental skills needed for riding through a combination of classroom teaching and riding on a practice range, usually over one weekend. Riders learn key skills including accelerating, braking, cornering, shifting, and lane changes that will help them be confident, able riders on city streets and rural highways.

"Because reentry riders often take the class with people like them, people in their thirties, forties, and fifties who rode in their younger years, it’s a less threatening environment. They renew the pleasures of riding all over again," terHorst said.

Giving reentry riders tools for success

"In a reentry rider course, it’s fun to see riders have those light bulb moments out on a test range," said Matt Williams, senior claims adjuster at Grinnell Mutual. He became a riding instructor in 1999. "Some make incremental improvements in their riding, but for others, the changes are dramatic."

An additional benefit of taking a basic rider course for riders who do not have their motorcycle endorsement is that upon successful completion, participants receive a waiver from taking the state written and riding tests.

For more tips on how to enjoy motorcycling and other recreational activities safely, visit the Front Porch blog at

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