Plus 3 on MSF, Motorcycle Safety Foundation. When I did it there were two courses: 1) on their bike, usually a 125-something then 2) on your bike. Life saving. They teach things that don't make sense until you try them:
- use more front brake than rear brake
- push on your left handle bar to go left (counter steering)
- yes, it's easy to bunny hop over a landscaping railroad tie even on a larger road bike
- ride invisible: you are invisible always, no-one can see you, have a plan for each intersection... what if that guy pulls in front of me, what exactly will I do? Think this way all the time.
It's really fun. It's life changing if something goes wrong, but if you wear protection and ride a bit paranoid the odds are with you. On 100+ degree days I still wore my helmet, leather jacket, long jeans, boots covering my ankles and leather gloves. What the heck, you're going to sweat anyway, ain't so bad! Be safe!
I envy you evaluating and choosing what bike to ride... so many choices. My choice was used BMW's, had both the "boxers", horizontally opposed jugs and the faster K-bike 4-banger. The smallish 650 boxer was my favorite to ride... light weight, low center of gravity, good in the twisties. No-one steals them, cops don't ticket you because you get the benefit of the doubt being a safely dressed guy on a quiet, slow by comparison motorcycle. With factory hard bags on the back you can carry anything (takedown carbines included) and in the case of an accident, the hard bags and the motor's jugs that stick out make you feel like you're in a cocoon of sorts. (Consider though: "laying down" a bike to slow down rarely works... leather, metal and skin slide faster/further than brakes and tires.)
When child number two came along, I sold my bikes, but I still dream of riding (literally!) and hope to get back to it someday. Best wishes and if you take the plunge, please take the MSF classes, all that are available.