A: It’s not just California. Beginners like you face a Catch-22. “New riders are generally not going to be offered a test ride,” says Greg Guthrie, general sales manager of Huntington Beach Honda. “It’s nothing against you, it’s just that motorcycling is an acquired skill, like flying a plane. Take, for example, someone who comes in with a permit and a fresh MSF sticker. We love that person coming into our store to buy a bike, but it’s scary to send him out the door with the keys to a brand-new motorcycle.” After you have some miles under your belt, the trick is to show up looking like someone who’s ready to buy, and not someone just killing a few hours. If you arrive on a bike, with your own gear, and have a valid motorcycle license, odds are you’ll get the nod. Breeze in wearing flip-flops and a tank top, ask to borrow a helmet, and look sheepish when you’re asked for your license, and you’ll be shown the door.