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Women on Wheels: Driving Change in Motorcycling


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We answer a question about American writers…

Play some songs that won the latest Country Music Awards…

And report about a group of female motorcycle riders.

Lady Bikers

Cookie, Badkat, Zoom and Legs.  These are names of some female motorcycle riders.  The sport has become increasingly popular among women.  Barbara Klein tells us more.

For many years, motorcycle riding was considered a male sport.  Women usually rode on the seat behind the men operating the two-wheeled vehicle.  Now more and more women are taking the front seat.

The Motorcycle Industry Council says more than twenty million people in the United States ride motorcycles.  The number of female motorcyclists has increased greatly over the past few years.  More than ten percent of motorcycle owners in the United States are women.

We spoke with Lisa Russell, Briggit Pope, Rayna Evans and Angela Meeks-Odom.  They are on the executive committee of Lady Sport Riders motorcycle club in Largo, Maryland.  They say they ride for more than fun.  They say it gives women a sense of freedom and control.  They also say safety is very important.  The risk of injury is high. So they wear protective clothing and equipment at all times, especially for the head.

In nineteen ninety-eight the number of female bikers rose sharply.  Lady Sport Riders began in nineteen ninety-nine in the Washington, D.C. area.  The women formed the organization to share their love of motorcycle riding.  They say female motorcycle clubs permit women to share a strong sisterhood. Like other motorcycle clubs, the members of Lady Sport Riders also help their community.

The group says it wanted to be more than just women who gathered to ride motorcycles.  So it organizes events that help national health organizations and women's shelters.  And it gives financial awards to students.

Female riders have helped change motorcycle culture.  The Motorcycle Industry Council says more than five years ago manufacturers began making equipment that makes riding more pleasant for women. Some bikes now have smaller, softer seats and controls that are easier to reach.  Modern clothes for riding look good and still provide protection.  In the past, women rode motorcycles that traveled at a moderate speed.  Now theirs are as powerful as the ones men ride.

Lady Sport Riders believe women have earned their place in the sport of motorcycle riding.  When speaking of male motorcyclists the members of the club say: "They Made the Game…We Came to Play!"

Contemporary American Writers

Our question this week comes from a listener who wants to know more about short stories by modern American writers.

The Special English program "American Stories" broadcasts stories by American writers every Saturday. The stories have been shortened and adapted into Special English by our writers.  Most of the stories were written long ago but are still popular today.  They include "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving and "Luck" by Mark Twain.  The public is permitted to use these stories freely.

We must get permission from the writer or the publisher to broadcast modern stories.  In recent years we have added more stories by modern writers to our "American Stories" program.  They include "Crazy Lady" by Jane Leslie, "Jacob Have I Loved" by Katherine Patterson and "Shiloh" by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  Each of these writers has won the Newbery Award.  It is the highest honor for a writer of books for young people in the United States.

"American Stories" also included a story by Joel Monture.  He writes Native American stories for young people.  Mr. Monture writes about children and young adults who must deal with the cultures of Native American traditions and the modern world.

Doreen Baingana is a short story writer who is also a Special English writer.  She was born in Uganda. Ms. Baingana has received many awards and honors for her book "Tropical Fish: Stories Out of Entebbe."

Several of Ms. Baingana's stories have been broadcast in Special English.  They include "Fallen Fruit" and "A Kind of Blue."  You can hear another story written by Doreen Baingana Saturday on the Special English program "American Stories."  We will tell the story "Lost and Found in Los Angeles."  Also, you can visit our Web site at voaspecialenglish.com to read and hear some other "American Stories."

CMA Awards

The Country Music Association presented its fortieth yearly awards last week at a ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee.  The organization honors great country music performers.  Katherine Cole tells us about some of the award winners this year.

KATHERINE COLE:

The Country Music Association Horizon Award goes to the best new country artist.  The winner was Carrie Underwood. She also won the female singer of the year award.  Here is the title song from her album, "Some Hearts."

Another big Country Music Association Award winner was the group Brooks and Dunn. They received four awards. One award was for the best two-person singing group. They won three more awards for the song "Believe."  It was named song of the year, single of the year and video of the year.  Here they are to sing it:

Perhaps the most important award given by the Country Music Association is called the entertainer of the year. That award went to singer Kenny Chesney.  We leave you now with Kenny Chesney singing his hit, "You Save Me."

I'm Doug Johnson.  I hope you enjoyed our program today.

This show was written by Lawan Davis and Nancy Steinbach.  Caty Weaver was the producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.


"American Mosaic" in VOA Special English
www.manythings.org/voa/america

Source: Women on Wheels: Driving Change in Motorcycling
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