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CLASS HELPS WOMEN LEARN THEIR WAY AROUND TWO WHEELS ALL-FEMALE MOTORCYCLE LESSONS GIVE STUDENTS BREAK FROM MACHO ANTICS.

Byline: Charles F. Bostwick Staff Writer

ROSAMOND - Two months after her daughter was born, Jodi Horning was back out on a 150-mph Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle.

Horning sold her street Honda CBR-600 motorcycle a month ago - because it was too hard to go riding with her husband and an infant - then decided she missed riding too much.

``I just couldn't wait to get back on a bike,'' said the 38-year-old FedEx driver, whose husband and baby daughter accompanied her in the family motor home to Willow Springs International Raceway.

Horning was among some 50 women motorcyclists who took part Sunday in Glendale-based California Superbike School's women-only class, aiming to learn or brush up the skills to become better, more competent riders.

This was just the second time the 21-year-old school has had a class just for women - who are said to make up about one in 12 motorcycle riders and 30 percent of new motorcycle school students.

Retired professional racer Keith Code started the California Superbike School in 1980. Some 50,000 street riders and 15 U.S. Superbike champions have attended its classes, which have been held on four continents.

Women's classes have a different feel than coed classes, which tend to be predominantly male, said Code, who added that women are generally less competitive than men.

``They're not out there to beat the other guy. A guy gets on a motorcycle, and if he sees somebody is in front of him, he's going to try and catch him,'' Code said.

Horning, who was in the most advanced level of Sunday's class, has taken three previous courses in which it was usually her and another woman or two, plus 40 or so men.

``I was really excited about doing an all-women's class,'' Horning said.

Nancy Foote, a 43-year-old program director for a test publishing company, has been riding for 18 years and had long wanted to take a class, but waited until the first women-only class last September.

``I've kind of been a little intimidated with taking the classes with lots of guys who will think they have to be macho and have to go fast,'' Foote said.

Foote, who got introduced to motorcycles by riding on the back of a friend's BMW, found most of her women classmates were about her own skill level and attitude.

``I just had a really nice time,'' she said.

Riders pay $345 if they bring their own motorcycle, or $595 if they use one of the school's Kawasaki ZX-6Rs.

They get both lectures and track time, riding along with their instructors on the raceway's 1.7-mile, 14-turn Streets of Willow Springs course.

Besides riding standard sport motorcycles, the students ride bikes rigged specially for training.

One is a brake-training motorcycle equipped with metal outriggers, so a rider can lock up the front wheel without spilling the bike. Another is fitted with a fixed second set of handlebars, to teach a rider about steering a motorcycle by shifting his - or her - body weight.

The school specifically provides training in riding a motorcycle around corners.

``The only thing that gives anybody trouble is corners,'' Code said. ``Even a car that pulls out in front of you becomes a corner, doesn't it? ... We get the riders to experience quicker and quicker turning. Obviously, it's a huge safety issue for riding on the street.''

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3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color -- ran in AV edition only) Avid motorcyclist Jodi Horning takes a corner Sunday at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond.

(2 -- 3) Novice rider Debra Barton gets some personal instruction from Keith Code, founder of the California Superbike School, above. At right, Jodi Horning cradles daughter Alyssa, 2 1/2 months, between laps with Code's advanced class Sunday.

Gus Ruelas/Staff Photographer
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 25, 2001
Words:626
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