The letters regarding last week's column about my first motorcycle ride were filled with admiration for my daring to attempt something new, admonishment for my choice of riding apparel and plenty of good advice for my future adventures as a "motorcycle mama":

"Just noticed your article about your first motorcycle ride and I wanted to commend you on your article and your ride. Far too many people see motorcycling as an automatic trip to the ER - with or without toe tag - completely sidestepping the fact that done correctly it's a cost-effective method for getting from point A to point B. And as you noted - it's also ` ... pretty darn cool!"'

- David Smith

"I am glad you have taken your first step into the world of motorcycling.

"While your choice to wear just a T-shirt and stretch pants, especially as a first-time rider, makes me a little concerned, it's still your choice.

"While not very popular with the `Harley crowd,' several companies offer mesh jackets that have armor in them and they are free flowing. The Joe Rocket Phoenix jacket is one that I like to use in the summer months, along with their mesh pants.

"Something to think about for that next ride. While chicks may dig scars, road rash is not at all attractive and also, from what I am told, it's quite painful."

- Robert Cuthbertson, Fontana

"The column on your first motorcycle ride was of great interest to me. My husband


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is restoring a 1974 Honda CB750. I, too, have never been on a motorcycle and he keeps telling me that when he is done we are going on a short trip.

"The idea excites me, but I am very apprehensive about it! Reading about how you took the plunge gives me the courage to do it as well. Fortunately my husband is a perfectionist when it comes to his vehicles and we won't be going anywhere until it is in perfect running condition. I have noticed also that a lot of couples in my age group (50+) are getting bikes! I guess it is because our children are grown and we have more time to do those things we could not when we are younger. Great column!"

- Theresa Gingg

"As a long-time motorcyclist I very much enjoyed your article sharing your reluctance, trepidation, and ultimate enjoyment of your first ride on a motorcycle. Regarding motorcycling: Generally there is an old saying to the effect that if I have to explain it, you won't understand it. That saying is not helpful - really the way to understand it is to experience it. This is what you have done. Bravo for you.

"I cringed when I saw your description of your riding clothes. You quickly came to the right conclusion about wearing good protection. Those of us who are wild about riding say, `ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time).' It's funny in a way; if you prepare yourself properly you never seem to need it. Good gear costs, but it is much cheaper than skin grafts.

"I hope that you will enjoy the road and everything you find along the way."

- Martin Hildreth

Michelle Pearl is a longtime traffic school instructor and the owner of InterActive! Traffic School Online (www.trafficinteractive.com). Send questions to drivetime@sbsun.com or write to DriveTime c/o The Sun, 4010 N. Georgia Blvd., San Bernardino, CA 92407. Some reader questions will be answered in print.