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RJ Dupre column: Ain't no biking mama!

'Tis the season of feeling alive and rejuvenated once again. We emerge from the heavy cocoon of winter and are ready to live every moment of summer. After sprucing up our homes and gardens, it is time for play. We throw ourselves into our favorite pastime, whether it is fishing, hiking, water sports, or more daring activities. One of them is the love of motorcycling. It is, for many, more than a distraction; it is a passion.

At our house, the arrival of good weather and the prospect of biking becomes a mission. For my mate, it is hours spent on the Internet, looking for parts or accessories for his bikes, lots of reading and researching in magazines, talking about it, and shining and polishing the chrome. And also going to the mechanic to check that everything is in working order. He gets the leathers out, cleans them, and, once all is prepared, he is on his way every chance he gets.

For many years I dreamt of having my own bike. I pictured myself as a seasoned rider, keeping up with the best of them. So last year, I purchased a small bike and listened for hours to my mate's instructions and warnings. I quickly discovered that it was not as simple as it appeared.

I decided to take a course to learn the ins and outs of riding. The first day went quite well. The instructors were patient and knowledgeable. As I performed the tasks, I thought to myself, "This is fun and really cool. With practice, I'll do just fine." Then came the second day. I handled the maneuvers quite decently, then catastrophe hit. I got totally confused when a series of instructions were given, I panicked, almost wiped out, and as I stopped, I was paralyzed by fear. The instructor took me aside, and spoke gently. He reminded me to never go out of my comfort zone. My legs were shaking and my heart was pounding and tears welled up. I knew, then that I had to admit defeat. I had to drop out of the class, and watched others complete the course.

My ego was hurt, and when I got home, I looked at my mate, and said, "Don't say anything. I am not cut out to be a biker." He respected my feelings, and a couple days later, I announced that I was more comfortable being the passenger than the rider. After all, I look pretty good on the back of a bike in my leathers, and my wild colored hair, I can enjoy the scenery, without the responsibility of the driving and still enjoy the incredible sense of freedom of riding the countryside.

So the moral of this story is that I ain't no biking Mama. I'll leave this title to the ladies who are out there riding their own "rig." My hats off to you, girls. Sometimes in life, you've got to accept your limitations, but still enjoy some of the fringe benefits. To all of you out there -- happy riding!