Learning to ride a motorcycle is a challenge, but the rewards make it worth it. It's a good idea for a beginner biker to take motorcycle driving classes, especially if you are nervous or are not familiar with motorcycles. Not only will it make learning to ride a motorcycle easier, it will also give you some ideas on how to stay safe on the road.
Before you actually start riding a motorcycle, you have to get used to sitting on it and learning how to turn it on and shift gears. As you're learning to ride, you may find that you stall out occasionally, and being comfortable turning your bike on and shifting gears will help alleviate some of the panic that comes with stalling in the middle of an intersection.
Start by sitting on your motorcycle and learning where all of the controls are. Be sure that you can hold your bike up, something you'll need to be able to do at stop lights or when you're stopping. As you're learning the appropriate way to maintain control of your stopped bike, leave the kickstand down so that there's a backup plan in case you do find that you can't handle it. Keep in mind though, that if you drop your bike, your kickstand won't be able to catch it. It will really just help if the bike isn't far off from the kickstand in the first place.
Once you're able to hold your motorcycle up, learn how to turn it on. To do this, put the motorcycle into neutral and turn on the power and fuel switch, followed by the ignition. Pull out the choke and then push the ignition button. Let your motorcycle warm up for a few minutes, especially in colder weather, before you start to drive it.
Make sure you know where the gears are. Neutral is in between first and second gear. On a standard bike, first gear is below neutral while second, third, fourth and fifth gears are all above neutral. On a sports bike this is reversed.
Shifting gears on your motorcycle is similar to shifting gears on a car. You have to release a little clutch and give a little gas. Make sure that you don't downshift while you're driving at a high speed, as this could damage the engine. Instead, to slow down on a motorcycle, just use the brake.
Be comfortable with the rules of the road and the legal operation of a motorcycle before you head out. Always wear a helmet, even if it's not required by law. Be safe and wear a helmet.