Wisconsin Harley-Davidson building training course
Could open as early as August

By Alex Nemec

July 11, 2018

 The riding course at Wisconsin Harley-Davidson in Oconomowoc is currently under construction and without any more delays, should be open sometime in August.
Alex Nemec/Freeman Staff

OCONOMOWOC — Wisconsin Harley-Davidson is in the process of building a new training course behind its building at 1280 Blue Ribbon Drive in Oconomowoc so people can learn how to ride right on site.

The Oconomowoc Harley-Davidson dealership has a riding academy that teaches new motorcyclists how to drive and how to be safe on a bike. Upon completion, students show are able to go to the DMV and get their motorcycle license specification.

Wisconsin Harley-Davidson Owner and General Manager Robert Moakley said the practice course used to be at the old YMCA.

“We were originally using the old YMCA on Silver Lake Street, but the city is in the process of selling that and so that is what drove us to move to this location,” he said.

Moakley said the course needs unobstructed space to work and that sort of space isn’t abundant in Oconomowoc.

“It’s very difficult to find,” Moakley said. “The range at the Y was what’s referred to as a modified range and it’s capable of handling only so many students. This was the only option to add a full size range for our riding academy program.”

After construction is done, Wisconsin Harley-Davidson will be the only dealership in metro Milwaukee with an on-site range training facility.

With the change from the YMCA, Moakley said the new course can accommodate 12 students per class rather than nine at the previous location. Currently the construction schedule is on pace for opening the first week of August.

However, Rising Academy Manager Judy Nowicki said the opening date is extremely tentative.

“That was based on it not raining every couple of days over the course of the last week, which I found out can be somewhat challenging for construction companies,” Moakley said.

Moakley said the construction company found a 10-foot deep vein of top soil they had to dig up.

“They had to dig it all out and fill it in so it wasn’t squishy and the asphalt stayed flat,” Moakley said.

She said the course will be open for former students who completed the course.

“Every instructor, every coach in class that I’ve ever seen or sat in tells these students at the end of class that ‘You’ve passed. You have your motorcycle endorsement. You know how to ride a bike around a parking lot. You need to practice more,’” Moakley said.

“We will make the range available off hours for students to practice as much as they want after they’ve taken the class and if they have passed it. We will allow them to borrow the training bike and hone in the skills before going on the road.”