Do I need an IL Motorcycle Permit to take the class and how do I obtain one?

Yes! Yes! Yes!  You need a "M-Class Permit" and a drivers license to take ANY of our Basic Motorcycle Licensing Classes or Scooter Classes regardless of any experience.  Permits are only issued in person at YOUR local Secretary of State's office by appointment and you must have an IL Drivers License or IL State ID. Ride Chicago does not issue permits.  You can BOOK YOUR MOTORCYCLE PERMIT APPOINTMENT HERE. Select a facility and Make an Appointment for "License and ID Card Services."  Appointments can be made for an advanced date or same day, depending on facility.

You must have an M-Class Permit before attending our class, NO EXCEPTIONS.  It's very simple to obtain.  Simply take a $10, 15 question quiz at your local Secretary of State's office and you'll be given a permit the same day.  If you already have an "M Endorsement"  but haven't ridden in a while, you can simply sign up for a class and present your M-endorsed drivers license. Students will not be permitted to ride unless they have a permit! Regardless of any riding experience you might have, you must have a permit. Re-registration for not having a permit is $95.

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Do I automatically get a license by completing your class?

Unfortunately, not automatically.  Graduates of our course must take the IL Motorcycle Skills Test in order to get their license. Upon completing class, graduates are eligible to register for a separate Wednesday morning to take their test.  We offer Onsite Licensing every Wednesday during season at our Damen location.  A State of Illinois Examiner will conduct the test for you at our location and you get to use our motorcycle / gear again for it! You must successfully complete a training course prior to registering for Onsite Licensing and you must be a current season graduate of our training programs.

There is no testing in the rain.

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Can I participate in an Onsite Licensing Class if I'm not a Graduate of your course?

You must be a graduate of a Basic Motorcycle Licensing Class, Scooter Class, or Non-Graduate Private Lesson in order to test at our Damen Location. 

All current season graduates are welcome to participate in an Onsite Licensing Class during the current season they completed class.  Alumni of previous years must take a Refresher Class for Graduates or Private Lesson in order to be able to license with us. 

Please note: If you are registered for a class, you will be able to register for Onsite Licensing after you successfully complete your class!

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What if I am late, miss a class, need to reschedule or cancel?

Attendance is mandatory for all classes.  Our Basic Motorcycle Licensing Class kicks off with a virtual classroom session first followed by two riding sessions. Our Scooter Class is just a one day, hands-on course.  Missing class OR being late will automatically disqualify you, please be on time! No refunds will be issued. 

We understand things come up. However, if you miss a class for whatever reason OR need to reschedule with less than 7 days notice, motorcycle students pay a $95 fee to reschedule into a new class and scooter students pay a $45 fee. If you missed a class and need to reschedule, please email us at info@ridechicago.com so we can re-register you for $95.

If you need to cancel a registration with more than seven days notice you will receive a partial refund. There is a $95 non-refundable fee. If you need to cancel the registration with less than seven days notice, your entire tuition is forfeited.

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Where is the Damen (United Center) training location?

We offer our Basic Motorcycle Licensing Class at 118 S Damen Ave Chicago, IL 60612 near the United Center.  

There is free street parking on Monroe Ave. Please note: You CAN block any of the driveways on Monroe Ave.  There is also free street parking on Seeley Ave west of our location and on Adams Ave one block south. 

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Where do I park?

There is plenty of FREE street parking on Monroe Ave at Damen.  Please note that you CAN block any of the driveways on the south side of Monroe despite any traffic signs posted. Please avoid parking in the United Center Parking lot on the north side of the street.

There’s also free parking on Seeley Ave west of our lot and on Adams Ave south of our lot. 

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What's the Online Motorcycle Classroom and how long does it take to complete?

Motorcycle Students must complete the Online Classroom prior to attending their Riding Sessions. Scooter Students do not need to attend a classroom.  You can complete the Online Classroom without an IL Motorcycle Permit as you will only need it for the riding sessions.

The Online Classroom generally takes about 1-1/2 hours to complete, all at your own pace and on your time. NOTE: IF you registered for a Basic Licensing Class and DID NOT receive your Online Classroom Link in a welcome email we sent, please check your Spam folder as it may have gone there. 

All motorcycle courses will automatically include a link upon registering for the classroom so please check your email upon registering. 

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I want to learn how to ride but I'm new to all of this; can you give me an overview of how your classes work?

Absolutely!  At Ride Chicago, no experience is necessary.  We offer a Basic Motorcycle Licensing Class which covers necessary skills on how to operate a motorcycle AND what you would need to do in order to get your Motorcycle License.  This entire course will consist of a Classroom Session (virtual on your own schedule) and 2 separate hands on riding days.  Your only prerequisite is a Motorcycle Learner's Permit from your local Secretary of State's office.  You would need to take a $10, 15 question quiz on your own to obtain it. 

If a Scooter is more your speed, no problem! We offer a 1 day hands-on Scooter Training class that covers the basic operating skills necessary AND also gives you a in-depth look at the Illinois Motorcycle Licensing test.  There is no classroom needed as this class is all hands-on.  You would need a Motorcycle Learner's Permit from your local Secretary of State's office.  You would need to take a $10, 15 question quiz on your own to obtain it.  Please note: we only offer Onsite Licensing for M-Class Licenses.  If you are looking to train AND license with us, you need to obtain a Motorcycle Permit (M-Class Permit).

Once you have completed either of our training classes you are welcome to attend in Onsite Licensing session on a  separate Wednesday morning for $59.  You will be able to use a motorcycle or scooter, a helmet, and a pair of gloves as all of that is provided for both training and licensing.  An official Secretary of State Examiner will conduct the test for you at our training location, not at a DMV! 

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Do You Offer 3 Wheel Training?

Unfortunately not.  Ride Chicago only offers 2 Wheel Motorcycle or Scooter Training.

If you are looking to get your M-class license so you can ride a 3 wheeler like a Can-Am Ryker, we suggest you take our Scooter class. You can then take the M-class riding test with us on our 150cc scooters. You won't get any training from us on a 3 wheeler, but we can help you get your license so that you can legally ride your 3 wheeler.

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Do I need a motorcycle or scooter?

Nope! We provide each student with a motorcycle for the Basic Licensing Class or a scooter for the Scooter Training Class.   We have motorcycles of various styles up to 250cc's and scooters 150cc+

You must provide a IL Drivers License or IL State ID and an M-Class Permit along with Long denim pants,  Long sleeve shirt/jacket, and  Over the ankle shoes. We'll take care of the rest!

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Do I need a helmet and gloves?

Yes! Ride Chicago Motorcycle School provides all students with a Sanitized Full-Face Helmet and a pair of gloves in the Basic Motorcycle Licensing Class in Chicago and the Suburbs.  Please feel free to bring your own Full-Face, DOT approved Helmet to class.  You must bring a face covering if you are using our equipment.

Dress attire for your riding sessions are long sturdy pants, long sleeve shirt or jacket, and over the ankle shoes or boots.

Shorts, yoga pants, or dress shoes are not allowed and you will not be permitted to ride!

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How old do I need to be?

Students must be 18+ to attend class and be eligible for a separate Onsite Licensing day.  

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What size motorcycles do you use?

Ride Chicago Motorcycle Riding School provides motorcycles of all styles up to 250cc's.

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What if it rains?

Classes run rain or shine so if rain is in the forecast please bring your rain gear.  If rain is in the forecast and you don't show up, there is a $95 re-registration fee to reschedule for motorcycle students / $45 for scooter students. 

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What if I need more practice after my riding days? What if I fail my test?

Motorcycling takes patience and skill. If you need more training, we offer Private Lessons where you can work with an instructor  individually on any skills you need including state test practice.

If you do not pass your Motorcycle Licensing test, you are welcome to test again the following session for $59.

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What if I want more practice? Can I take the class again?

Yes! We offer multiple options for additional training. You could repeat an additional session for $95. 

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Do I get an insurance discount?

All Ride Chicago Motorcycle School  graduates receive Certificates of Completion.  Many insurance companies offer discounts to our graduates but please check with your provider.

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If I change my mind, can I get my money back?

A $95 administrative fee is non-refundable.  The remainder is only refunded if we are notified 7 calendar days prior to your class date.

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I want to take a scooter class, how do they work?

Scooter Classes are fun and easy with us!  You need an M - Class Permit from the Secretary of State to take our one day, hands-on course.  There is only one written test in Illinois for permits, regardless  if you are going to ride a scooter or motorcycle.  Our training location is 118 S Damen Ave Chicago, IL 60612 for scooter classes.  There is no classroom session to attend.  Class runs rain or shine and is typically 5 hours long.  Once you graduate, you are eligible to participate in an Onsite Licensing session on a separate day for $59 and take your test with our scooter.  There's plenty of street parking available, easy CTA access on Damen Ave. The tuition is $249 and includes our scooter, helmet, and gloves!

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What is a Class L vs a Class M License?

Class L License: Motor driven vehicles with engines of 149cc's or LESS

Class M License: Motor driven vehicles with engines of 150cc's or GREATER.

Here at Ride Chicago, you can ONLY take your licensing test on cycles that are 150cc or greater which enables you to acquire an " M- Class " license endorsement. The versatility of the M-Class License is you can ride motorcycles or scooters of any size!

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What if I ride aggressively during class or don't comply with the instructions given?

Any student that is deemed to be a hazard to other students or themselves in class will automatically be disqualified from training and no refund will be issued.

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What if I show up without riding gear or the correct attire?

All students for either Motorcycle or Scooter classes must wear the appropriate attire regardless of the weather.  Students must wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt or jacket, and athletic shoes. 

Yoga pants, shorts, Crocs, or sandals are not allowed.  Without the proper gear you will not be able to participate in the riding sessions and no refunds will be issued.  Be smart and check the forecast for the time of season you are riding and dress accordingly.

Hiking boots or high top basketball shoes are recommended , dress shoes are not.  Please feel free to bring an extra set of gear in case you want to change out during riding sessions. Gentleman, avoid steel toe boots as they might hinder your ability to shift gears comfortably. Ladies, avoid boots with heels. 

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What if I do not live in Illinois?

Indiana and Wisconsin residents are welcomed!  You can take our class as long as you have a Motorcycle Permit from your home state and a drivers license.  Completing our course does not grant you a M-License in your home state. ONLY Illinois residents will be able to participate in our Onsite Licensing program.

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Know All Of This Information Before Your Riding Sessions - Class Summary


You must know all the information on this summary

BEFORE the riding session!


Six primary controls:     


Front brake lever


Rear brake pedal

Clutch lever

Gear shifter



Engine start procedure:




Engine cut-off switch



Gear Shift Pattern:  1 N 2‚ 3 4 5„

First gear is all the way down, and the rest are each one click up.  Neutral is a half-click up from first gear; or a half-click down from second gear.

Four Step Shifting Process:

  1. Roll off the throttle and squeeze in the clutch.
  2. Shift up with one firm click on the gearshifter.
  3. Release the clutch.
  4. Roll on the throttle to accelerate.

Roll off/ Squeeze -  Shift   -  Release - Roll On 

Three Step Stopping Process:    B - C - D

  1.   Apply both brakes
  2. C   Squeeze the clutch in (fully)
  3. D   Downshift


Counter-steering: Press Left- Go Left / Press Right- Go Right

Counter-steering is the act of turning a two-wheeled cycle in one direction by momentarily steering the front wheel in the opposite direction. At Ride Chicago we present you this skill while teaching “pressing.”  Pressing on the handlebars turns and controls the lean angle of the motorcycle while cornering.  The more you press, the further the bike leans.

To simplify this:  Press Left- Go Left / Press Right- Go Right

Swerving:  Is two consecutive counter steers. One is to avoid the road hazard, and the other is to straighten out your path of travel. Your body position while swerving should be straight up and down (perpendicular to the ground) while the motorcycle is doing the leaning.  Remember press right-go right, press left-go left

Proper Entry speed:  Is a speed that allows you to maintain or roll on the throttle all the way through the curve.

Slow/Look/Press (Push)/Roll: This is the proper cornering technique broken down. Slow: do all of your braking while the bike is in a straight line (before you enter the corner).  Look: turn your head and look through the corner…you should be looking toward your destination. Press: press on the handlebars in the direction you want to go. Roll: maintain or roll on the throttle throughout the turn to stabilize the bike.

Outside / Inside / Outside path of travel:  Allows you to corner faster and smoother because it shortens the path of travel, and enables you to see further through the turn.

Stalling:  If you stall while trying to start out, first check to make sure you are in first gear (press down on the shifter) with the clutch in.  Second, if and when you are in first, then ease the clutch out even slower. Remember about three seconds to ease out the clutch.

Riding Posture: Upright sitting position, head and eyes up, level with the horizon. You should always look ahead toward your destination. Make sure your arms are relaxed (elbows bent). Always have a wrist down position on the throttle, along with covering the clutch lever with all four fingers. Keep your knees in against the tank and your feet on the foot pegs while riding!

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How Do I Login To My Online Classroom?

Your first step is to FOLLOW THIS LINK or the one you received in your email upon registration and create a login with Thinkific.  The site will require you to "BUY THE COURSE" in order to access it but no worries there is no additional charge as you have already paid for it.

Once you are in, there is a menu to enter the separate components.  You can always pick up where you left off and you will also be able to log in again if you would like a refresher.

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Are you Hiring Motorcycle Instructors?

YES!  We are always looking to add new instructors to our team.  You must have a valid M License for at least 3 years and currently ride a motorcycle.  A high school diploma and a clean driving record is a must.  Please email your resume for consideration to info@ridechicago.com

We will also be holding several group interviews for the 2024 Season starting in March of 2024. Check our Facebook page for more info. Thanks!

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