Frank gives a good point about flying gliders as a basic start or cheaper way to get into flying. The Air Force Academy actually starts cadets in gliders.
A few cautions about glider lessons. Two of the three worst instructors I have met in over 30 years of flying were in gliders. One was a lady in Salida, Colorado, who was asked by the school owner to give me a checkout so that I could rent the glider and satisfy his insurance. The two place glider, Blanik, we were using for the checkout was not the one I would rent. i already had a glider rating, and had flown solo in an I-34 or 36 that I wanted to rent. Anyway, this women passed me, but she was so rude that I'd never fly with her again and I don't go to that school anymore. She started off with a doom and gloom attitude as we were starting to get in the plane. She seemed ok with the actual flying, the stalls and so on. Her big gripe was that I didn't talk on the radio enough. She concluded that I must not know how to do it and needed her advice. At that time, I had about 3000 hours, and both a commercial rating and instrument rating, I had flown airplanes over most of the U S as well as to the Bahamas and Canada, but she didn't think I knew how to talk on the radio. Most of the gliders I have flown don't even have radios, nor are they required. Salida is a small, uncontrolled airport out in the country with perhaps 3 powered flights a day. I had made a radio call on downwind, but not on base. I don't think this lady cared much for men, either. I wonder how many other students or renters she has been able to steer away from that school. It's too bad, the owner was a nice guy, but was so concerned about his insurance that it was hard for me to feel good there. I flew the I-36 a few times and moved on.
And this is not my only negative experience with glider instructors, it is just one of them. Another guy at Turf, north of Phoenix was so rude we asked to have him replaced. The owner admitted to me that the guy had a problem, and while he was ok for passenger rides, he could not or would not teach. . The next guy was very nice and I checked out and soloed their Grob 103 quickly.
I rent gliders and fly at Boulder, Co. which is a beautiful place and does a lot of rides and some instruction. Even there it can be difficult. They are more into rides, and they are nervous that a student is going to bend one of their glider so that it is not available for rides. They would not allow my college teenage Son to solo a 2-33 even after he had flown it solo elsewhere and did 2 execellent checkout flights.
I learned at Estrella, Az,, Az, Soaring, ( not Turf at Phoenix) and they were friendly and good instructors and not just into tourist rides. I soloed promptly and got me license there, and my Son soloed there and had no problems. You did not get the feeling they were just out to milk money out of you. I can' t say much for the desert atmosphere there, but there is good lift and if you go anytime other than winter, it is good prep for Iraq or maybe Helll.
Just like in any field,there are some nice folks in gliding. But I have found a number that are somewhere between eccentric and anti-social. They don't always welcome outsiders.
The glider really doesn't fly like a regular airplane, it is sluggish on the controls , but the spoiler make it
much easier to land. But getting a few hours, at least enough to solo can't hurt and may help later flying. It may not save that much money as you are paying for the tow plane, but it is also fun. I really like the old 2-33 as a basic trainer.