GREENFIELD -- If learning to ride a motorcycle is on your bucket list, all you need to do is stop in one of the Harley-Davidson dealerships across southeast Wisconsin.
"I don't think there's a better way to celebrate freedom than behind a set of handlebars on two wheels and the wind in your face," said Greg Schreck, H-D Riding Academy Instructor.
For first-time riders like Dennis Dahl, sitting on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle is quite different from the life he is used to.
"Most of the ones look so big to me. It's scary," Dahl said.
But after 40 years of working, this newly retired cabinet maker from Michigan is looking for a new adventure.
"I've seen bikes on the road that pass me and I just think, 'What is that person experiencing that I am not?'" Dahl said.
That is what brought him to Milwaukee and the House of Harley-Davidson Riding Academy.
"People come here with the idea that they want to learn," Schreck said. "If you want to join the culture of H-D, this is a perfect place to start."
You start by re-learning the rules of the road. Before ever throwing a leg over a bike, students hit the classroom.
"Learning here is important to get the first steps to start you to think about; what is it going to be like when you're out there," Schreck said. "Applying the brakes is not just a process of grabbing the brakes and hope that you stop. It's a process you learn on how to stop correctly."
On the riding course, students learn to take on curves, make U-turns, weave, swerve and learn to deal with road debris. The Riding Academy teaches the riders how to feel comfortable while being committed to safety.
"I've always been told things about motorcycles that just weren't true," Dahl said.
"Many people think they know what motorcycle riding is and they think it's dangerous. There's no question that it's dangerous. But if you can have...a good strategy to manage that risk, that's why were here. That's why we're doing it," Schreck said.
After the 3-day course, Dahl successfully passed the road test and is that much closer to taking his inaugural ride as a licensed motorcycle rider.
Once Riding Academy students pass the road test and get the waiver, they still need to go to the DMV to take the written test for their learner's permit. When they pass that, they get their license to ride.