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My wife and daughter took the basic MSF course here in VA to get their licenses. Before they went, I took them out on dirt bikes to get them used to hand clutches and basic bike handling. This gave them a tremendous advantage in the class.

The instructors here tell the students that the course is meant for those with at least SOME bike handling experience, and that rank novices are probably not going to pass.

Both of them were very positive about the course.

I had to take it myself last week as part of rider certification for the base where I work. I am also very positive about the course for beginners, but, again, some previous experience will be extremely helpful.

Here in VA, helmets are provided if you wish. Personally, I would go and get a cheapy from Wal-Mart or Pep Boys.

FWIW, I taught motorcycle safety in the Army before a formal certification for instructors was offered. The MSF was the MSC back then, IIRC.
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