By Christine Graf
For the past 20 years, Adirondacks & Beyond Motorcycle Safety LLC, has been offering a variety of motorcycle courses for both beginners and experienced riders.
Owner Jeanne Dion purchased the business from Marc and Margie Connelly when they retired in 2021. Before that, she worked for the Connellys as a Motorcycle Safety Foundation certified RiderCoach.
Dion has been riding for about 20 years, and after learning the basics from her husband, she enrolled in a motorcycle course for beginners.
“I took the class within six months of him teaching me to ride,” she said. “I learned so many skills, and it just made riding much more enjoyable.”
A few years later, Dion was working as a civilian at the Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh when she became a RiderCoach for the motorcycle safety course that was offered there. After she and her husband relocated to the North Country, she continued to work for the military and became a RiderCoach at Adirondacks & Beyond Motorcycle Safety.
Nine years later, she purchased the business.
“We offer everything across the board—from classes for people who have never sat on a motorcycle to classes for riders to enhance their skills,” said Dion. “We provide the motorcycles, so if it’s just something you want to try out to see if motorcycle riding is something you want to do, the Basic Rider Course is a great course to take.”
After completing the two-day, 16-hour Basic Rider Course I, students are given a road test. Upon passing the test, the rider receives a license waiver that can be taken to any state Department of Motor Vehicles office. The waiver enables them to receive the Class M license endorsement. As part of the Basic Rider Course I, students must also complete an online course that takes approximately five hours.
“Not everyone passes the road test the first time,” said Dion. “Sometimes you need a little bit more practice. We offer a second chance for people to come back and take the test again if they don’t pass the first time.”
Adirondacks & Beyond Motorcycle Safety also offers classes for individuals who already have their motorcycle licenses. The classes are designed to enhance riding skills.
“We have an on-the-road class, we have an advanced rider class, and we are in the process of getting one for learning how to ride three wheels,” said Dion. “We’re also hoping to add a couple of other new classes as well.”
Classes take place at SUNY Canton and SUNY Queensbury from April until the end of September. They are taught by Dion or one of her 18 experienced RiderCoaches.
“Coaching is something you do because you love riding,” she said. “We have some really awesome coaches who love what they do.”
Adirondacks & Beyond Motorcycle Safety offers classes during the week and on weekends. Dion encourages even the most experienced of riders to consider taking one new class a year to enhance their skills.
“One of my coaches said something to me that hit hard and hit home with me. He said, ‘I’ll never understand why people will invest $20,000 on a bike, spend $5,000 on chrome, and hundreds more in gear but won’t invest $200 in themselves to become better riders and improve their chances of coming home at the end of the day,’” she said.
“Always invest in yourself through training and practice. It’s only $200, and it may help you in a situation for your muscle memory to kick in and to save you. Muscle memory kicks in when you are in a situation where you don’t have time to think about what you should do. It’s an automatic instinct, and in our classes, when you are on the motorcycle, we really work on your muscle memory.”
On April 29-30, Adirondacks & Beyond Motorcycle Safety will be hosting On the Road, a four-hour pilot course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
“For this class, two coaches will take six students out on the road. They will do about an hour-long ride, and they will stop along the way and talk about a ‘what if’ scenario. It’s a great way to start the season,” said Dion. “We offered it last year and it went very well. If it goes well again this year, we are hoping to be able to offer it once a month.”
According to Dion, there is always something new to learn when it comes to riding a motorcycle.
“Probably 98 percent of the time, people walk away after taking one of our courses and say, ‘Wow, I learned something new.’”
For more information, visit www.adkmc.com