Do It For You
Advice #1 - Take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course.
Advice #2 - Ride about 1,000 miles then take the Advanced MSF Course.
Agree on other advice to find a mentor!
I started with a small 250...I then was very interested in a BMW R1100S or a K1200R - was told by many too much power for me - too big - go with a smaller bike...a 500CC. Mentor/Friend encouraged and supported riding a few different bikes. K1200R was heavy for me - but loved the ride. R1100S - couldn't stop grinning. Ruled out other (smaller) bikes quickly. I LOVE my R1100S, I handle it fine. I found going out on the track (via a highly organized group) helped me gain a great deal of confidence.
I think doing a dirt course (obviously not on the bike I have) would be beneficial. I see the comments about gravel and I get a very tense when I have to do a stop on dirt or gravel.
Oh last thing - HATE the "grooved pavement" - failing to trust the bike in a turn caused me to lay down the 250. Thanks to mentor taking me through it - even 2 up - and explaining the mechanics and don't tense up - they're not a problem now. :)
Go Girls! My husband rides, but I tease and say I want to ride with him not behind him. :)