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My horizons have expanded since becoming a scooter girl. The other day I found myself eating skittles in the parking lot of a greasy spoon in the suburbs. It suddenly brought memories back of being in BFE Tennessee. The more I get to know the suburbs of the Twin Cities and even parts of Saint Paul, I see the less perfect side of this metropolis.

In order to continue to ride legally I need a motorcycle license (my paper permit expires eventually) so a friend and I signed up for the state sponsored motorcycle safety course. I saw this as a good opportunity to explore the heavier side of two-wheeled transportation. Recently I have been getting the urge to upgrade to a bit more power but the class squelched that desire.

Although it took me awhile to get used to the dangers of riding a scooter, it is nothing compared to an actual motorcycle. I was surprised at the difference a few hundred pounds can make. Previously I was worried about braking with a foot and a hand and using a clutch and shifting gears with my two other limbs (simultaneously!) but I proved a quick learn on that subject. The area that nearly killed me (don't worry - not literally) was cornering. I just didn't feel comfortable with the whole "lean", "counter balance" and rolling a throttle smoothly through a turn. Even the little 250 cc I was riding was a lot clunkier than my scooter (150 cc). The weight also makes a huge difference when you stop - although the brakes are better if the handles are straight a fast halt will throw your bike on the ground sideways. Balance is much more critical on a bike that isn't easily lifted. It isn't just the weight but also where it is located. My scooter is much more bottom heavy - meaning that it doesn't tip easy. The tires are smaller so the whole package is closer to the ground, making it much more stable.

Not that I didn't enjoy the additional cc's and I suppose I would eventually get used to cornering and stopping. Perhaps someday I'll decide to move from a scooter-girl to a biker-chick. But in the meantime I am happy to have started with my little ride. Now I just need to learn maintenance.

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