By Melissa Trevizo

If you are looking for adventure and ready to head out on the highway, look no further than San Jacinto College. 

As part of a national curriculum from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the San Jacinto College South Campus is offering a basic rider course. Students are certified over the course of a weekend.

“In the last few years, the laws on motorcycle licensure have changed,” said Woody McPike, motorcycle instructor. “Many of the motorcycle riders you saw out on the road even 10 years ago were probably not licensed, but now it is required by the state. To get your license you have to complete the basic rider course and receive a completion card.”

The basic rider course is just as it sounds. It was designed to educate riders who might not have ever touched a motorcycle before, including students from every age and economic spectrum. 

“It’s really cool to see the range of students in the class,” McPike said. “We get young eager riders and some who have been riding for years but need to be licensed.”

Students enrolled in the basic rider course are provided with a motorcycle to ride and protective gear, including helmet and gloves, and are required to wear pants, long sleeves, and shoes that cover the ankle as a precaution.

“Riding motorcycles is one of the most exhilarating and fun activities I can think of,” McPike said. “But we also have to be aware of the safety precautions and that when you get on the bike, you take on an extra responsibility for your own safety.”

McPike has seen a lot since becoming a motorcycle instructor 8 years ago. Now at 69, he has taken up adventure riding.

“I found myself retired, and my children were grown,” McPike said. “I’ve been a licensed rider since I was 17, and I’ve always loved it. Now, I go on road trips to all over the country and camp out. Being able to pull up to a national park and pitch a tent under the stars is indescribable.”

Mounting a motorcycle might be intimidating to some, but McPike thinks it comes down to attitude. 

“I’m proud to represent San Jacinto College and of how the motorcycle program has been allowed to develop,” McPike said. “If you approach riding with the right attitude, you can experience more joy and passion than you ever have before.” 

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