Similar story here. While many friends got bikes (and I'd be passenger whenever I could, ironically), all those family warnings took their toll. It didn't help that my dad was a personal injury attorney, and he explicitly told me that my college education was paid for by a motorcycle accident.
Anyway, a week and a half ago I took delivery of a 2003 Suzuki GZ 250, and a week ago I got my learners' permit.
Buying the bike was just one of a number of major changes I am making in my life. The biggest change is that I am moving to Guanajuato, México. Because of these changes, I've christened my bike, "The Mid-Life Crisis."
Because the move will be happening soon* I won't be able to attend the MSF course. I've bought the Proficient Motorcycling
book, and while it's no replacement for the safety course, I'm hoping it will fill in the major gaps in my knowledge. I'm also combing this forum and others for safety tips.
Speaking of which, does anyone have experience riding in México? Your stories, with ot without object lessons, would be appreciated!
* I'm going down mid July to find and rent a place as well as to attend the http://www.expresionencorto.com/
short film festival. The actual move will happen in August.