Motor Away

As exciting as it may be to have the engine of your vehicle rumbling between your legs instead of safely tucked away under the hood, we'd like more between us and the road than a leather jacket and hard plastic helmet. Despite the many horrific car wrecks we've seen--twisted metal carcasses dusted with shattered glass--there's still something comforting about being shielded by metal panels, safety belts and air bags. Motorcyclists rave about the thrill, the gas mileage, the ease of finding a parking place; even gory descriptions of to-the-bone road rash, heads smashing like raw eggs and other paranoid "Red Asphalt" references haven't quelled our boyfriend's desire to become a biker.

If you're set on spending some scratch on a juiced-up two-wheeler, check out the wide range of vehicles available at the 24th Annual Cycle World International Motorcyle Show that's rolling through Dallas this weekend. You might have your heart set on a Yamaha V-Max--until you see the $30,000 custom 2005 Honda VTX1800 that's being given away to one fortunate attendee. And once you're done kicking the tires on the latest from BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Victory and many others, gawk in horror at the (let's hope) death-defying feats of the Ball of Steel stunt riders. If you can't stomach that kind of faith in centrifugal force, there are plenty of other exhibits, such as a display of vintage and classic motorcycles and the Kids Cycle Center, where young'uns can check out bikes "just like Mom's," but wee. The show, presented by Toyota Trucks, will also feature free motorcycle parking (while spaces last; car parking is $8) and a free gear check booth, so you don't have to lug around your pink glitter helmet.

Whichever kind of biker you are--we hear there are only two types: those who have crashed and those who are about to--we wish you well on your quest to brave subzero wind chills, tight corners and the danger of being smashed between two SUVs. And a personal note to our significant other: If your face ends up looking like corned beef hash, we're totally breaking up with you.

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Michelle Martinez