Gail’s Harley Davidson: Our Motorcycle Riding Classes Are More Popular Than Ever!

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Gail’s Harley Davidson in Grandview has been offering their popular motorcycle riding classes for over 15 years. This year, however, it seems everyone is eager to hop on a bike. With a chuckle, owner Gail Harleychick says she’s never seen such a crush of humanity wanting to get their bike certification. “I have to say our classes are suddenly more sought after than ever,” she says. “We’re talking wait lists!”

A Built-In Riding Course
When Gail built her eponymous dealership 20 years ago, she designed a riding course right on the property. “There’s a giant parking lot attached to the lower tier of the dealership. That’s our rider academy,” she says. “Even from the very beginning, I think the reason our classes are always full is because we only allow eight people per class.” Small, intimate class sizes ensure plenty of one-on-one instruction from experienced, seasoned instructors. “Ninety percent of our instructors are retired or current police officers,” she says. “They have all been motorcycle cops. The nice thing about that is they want to ensure you are being 100 percent safe on the road. They’ve seen it all. They want to make absolutely sure you don’t become a statistic and that all your questions get answered.”

Three Days of Hands-On Learning
Gail says another reason people flock to her dealership to learn the nuances of riding bikes is, frankly, “You get to learn to ride on a Harley Davidson. We’re nothing if not accommodating. Everything is adjustable. We have different seat heights and handlebars, so you’ll be able to handle this motorcycle. It’s a 500 CC Harley Davidson—specifically built for riding classes.”

For three days, students toggle between coursework, testing, and of course, taking the bike for countless spins to learn the rules of the road. Classes are offered during the week, weekend, or in the evenings. Gail says convenience is key. Well, that and sheer demand. The $295 fee ensures graduates receive a certification to take to the local DMV. “Once you pass our class, you won’t have to take a DMV test—our trainers are certified in Kansas and Missouri.”

Gail on her dirt bike

Power To The People
Motorcycle riders will be the first to tell you there’s a camaraderie on the road. “The classes are designed to get more people out on the road safely and securely, but a lot of it is about empowering people,” she says. “Seeing that motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license makes you walk a little taller, be a little cooler.”

Several featured classes are women-only classes. It’s girl power ratcheted up to the Nth degree, Gail says. But she says women are rarely intimidated by men in co-ed classes. “Listen, men that take the course don’t know any more or any less than the women who take the course. When you start the class, you are equals,” she says. “You’re here to learn.”

Often Gail hears from women whose boyfriends or husbands have attempted to teach them how to ride. It usually doesn’t bode well for either party. “Learning to ride in a classroom is infinitely better than trying to learn from your husband or your dad or your brother,” she confirms. “All of the bad habits they’ve picked up over the years will be passed on to you. Trust me. Learn from a trainer who’s trained at training.” Gail will be the first to admit she takes her own course often as a refresher “to break myself of any bad habits I might have picked up—and there are plenty. It’s simply a lot safer to learn from a professional.”

Social Distancing 101
Gail’s classroom is—as she puts it—gigantic. So in an era of coronavirus culture, it’s easy to keep students distanced and safe. “We can easily put one student per table,” she says. “Plus, there’s automatic social distancing when you’re out on a bike.”

It’s not just her popular riding classes that have been packed. Gail says the showroom is starting to hop again now that pandemic restrictions have eased. “People want to escape life—especially after the last couple of months,” she says. “They want freedom, they want out of their house. Simply being on my bike has helped me get through this, that’s for sure.”

Friends For Life
Gail says people who come in to buy a Harley and have never ridden a motorcycle are often looking to break out of their shells. “They come in—unsure of themselves—and we teach them how riding a motorcycle makes you part of a club,” she says. “Students who graduate together often remain friends for years. Graduating classes always end up riding together. That’s pretty cool.”

Have a stressful job? You’re not alone. Gail says countless customers tell her they learned to ride so they can bike back and forth to work every day. “This year—more than ever—getting on your bike is a mini-vacation. You see people on their bike and they instantly wave at each other.”

The instructors at Gail’s Harley Davidson want to make it a memorable learning experience. She gives props and kudos to her trainers. “It’s kind of Driver’s Ed that you took in high school, but it’s only three days and way more fun,” she says, laughing. “Plus, once you graduate, you’re automatically part of the Gail’s Harley Davidson family.”