Smokin’ Harley-Davidson Riding Academy teaching the right way

"Bill Dotson greets me with a firm handshake and looks around Smokin’ Harley-Davidson in Winston-Salem for a quiet place we can talk. He motions me towards an empty office and we both grab a seat. Dotson, who many call “Brother Bill” from his days on the radio, settles back and gives me a big grin. He’s excited. Very excited. 

After some initial catching up, Dotson, Smokin’ Harley-Davidson Marketing Manager/Riding Academy Manager, is ready to justifiably boast. 

“This thing is going really well,” Dotson says and nods his head. “It’s selling out week after week and we are so proud to be doing our part in educating riders of any experience level. The only thing you need to know is how to ride a bicycle.” 

The “thing” Dotson is talking about is the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy being offered each week thru mid-December by the local dealership. 

“It is a three-day course to help anyone who may have been thinking about riding and wanting to be taught the proper way to ride,” he said. “The course includes a four-hour classroom session on Friday night and riding lessons on the course Saturday and Sunday. It offers people the chance to learn about riding and what it is like. Taking this course gives new and interested riders valuable information to make them better, safer and more educated while on the road.” 

To make sure students get the hands-on, close-up attention from instructors, the classes are limited to just six students per week. During the $295 weekend session, students get approximately 20 hours of tutorial and are provided with a Street 500 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. At the riding course, they receive training techniques on braking, controlling skids, turning, and obstacles. 

To take the class, all riders must provide a Department of Transportation approved helmet and full-fingered gloves. They must also wear long pants or jeans, a jacket or long-sleeve shirt, protective eyewear and over-the-ankle boots during the range training. 

Besides the valuable educational and safety knowledge gained, additional benefits with completing the course include insurance discounts offered from many carriers and only having to take the written test for motorcycle endorsement at the DMV. 

“I know there’s a lot of people who have always had riding in the back of their minds and for one reason or another put it off,” said Dotson. “This is an easy, safe way to get on a Harley-Davidson for two days and learn everything you want to know the right way and figure out if this is for you.” 

For more information on the Riding Academy course, email Bill at or call 336-722-3106. Smokin’ Harley-Davidson is   Mon.-Fri., 9am-6pm and Sun. 10am-4pm."

- Charles Womack

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