Before Getting on a Motorcycle for the First Time, Try Riding a Moped

If you’re someone whose never ridden a motorcycle, such as myself, then it’s best to take it in baby steps. Motorbikes offer freedom, connecting the rider to the open road. But they can also be dangerous. So rather than hopping on a monstrously powerful motorbike, start with a simple moped.

Men Riding On Moped
Men Riding On Moped | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

What is a moped?

Excellent question! Mopeds are classified as two or three-wheeled vehicles with an engine displacement under 50cc. And chances are, the motor doesn’t produce more than two horsepower.

I can already tell you’ve lost interest, two horsepower is incredibly underwhelming. And it doesn’t help that most mopeds top out at 40 mph, 30 mph if you had a big lunch. But they’re perfect for beginners for a couple of reasons.

Reasons why you should start with a moped before riding a motorcycle

Woman Riding On Moped
Woman Riding On Moped | Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

RELATED: What Are the Differences Between a Moped, Scooter, and Motorcycle?

Mopeds are, essentially, motorized bikes. They’re not motorbikes, just bicycles with a little motor strapped to them. For that reason, they can be compared to riding a bike both in physical nature and legally.

The major reason you should start with a moped is that you don’t need a motorcycle license to ride one. While the laws vary by state, no matter where you live, you need some sort of endorsement or license to ride a motorcycle (which is anything that has a 50cc motor or larger). So don’t go out buying a motorbike before checking your state laws. But if you have a regular driver’s license, you can ride a moped.

Another reason mopeds are good is because they’re dirt cheap. You can find them for about a grand, which makes it more of a toy than a vehicle. Think of them like golf carts, only with mopeds, you can run around the city. Though you may not have to even buy a moped, as there are often ones available to rent for a day.

There may be moped tours available in a nearby major city

Revel Electric Moped Rideshare Service
Revel Electric Moped Rideshare Service In New York City | Lindsey Nicholson/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

I’m fairly close to Gettysburg Pennsylvania, give or take a state line, but there are moped tours offered for the area. Though, depending on the city, those moped rentals might be replaced by electric bicycles and scooters. An electric bike is still a great alternative, as it’s learning to ride at 20 or 30 mph without pedaling (and in city traffic).

However, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you can often rent mopeds for as little as $30 a day just to get a feel for them. Alternatively, you could spend $250-ish dollars for a Motorcycle Safety Course, which is more readily available. Taught by police officers, you’ll learn the basics of how to ride and get guidance from the pros.

Regardless of how you approach it, don’t just hop on a motorcycle and ride. Be sure to get some practice in, and do your research on what kinds of motorbikes will be best for you once you’re ready to ride. You may not need a crotch rocket, just a simple cruiser to see the sights and connect you to the tarmac. But however you ride, be sure to ride safe.

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