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you hear the roar of the engineS froM a diStance and you know they have arrived Maria, Margarita, and dinky Sitting SMart and proud on their beautiful beaStS, the harley-davidSon MotorcycleS. the trio Share with Cassey Oliveira their love for bikeS and their paSSion for riding.

ore a p HarLe illioN r y ider


Ladies, why do you love your bikes? "Bikes are more reliable than men," says Dinky, and the others snigger in agreement. Jokes apart, she continues: "My best time to commune with God is on the motorcycle, as you can't hear anybody else. It's only Him that I talk to on a long road trip." For Margarita, the Harley helps her connect with the elements of the universe. "Feeling the wind hit my face and sing to me; riding in the rain with its wet kisses dropping all over me; stopping on the side of the road to light a bonfire in the winter; seeing the shiny stars while riding in the evenings it's amazing!" Maria says it's the smell of freedom that she loves and that the bike bestows upon her. "It's just you controlling the horsepower; you feel stronger." Initially, Maria was a nervous wreck when it came to bike-riding. "I always wanted to ride a bike, but felt it was dangerous, especially with the traffic in Doha. It was only when my friend got a bike that I felt like getting one too. After much practice my fear

tipS for Maintaining bikeS


Check the tyre pressure. Make sure you have oil and gas in your tank. Regular services. When cleaning, don't use excessive water; the water here is aggressive towards metal. Start your engine frequently, otherwise the oil and grunge will settle at the bottom and pass through your engine when you start it after a long gap.

The three bikes that Margarita owns a 120 Suzuki, a 2009 Sportster XL Low and a 2011 Deluxe Classic only prove her passion for riding. A single mother of four, Margarita is an administrator at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also the Alliance Leader for the Qatar Professional Women Network.

Margarita Zuniga

Quick takeS
to ride or be ridden?
Dinky: I don't care as long as I am on a bike. Maria: To ride. I prefer having my own control. Margarita: To ride. I don't think I would ride pillion again.

r; k nge wor stro ated in ia n r Ma -domi pany de ma male nt com g, as a li n a ily h g in sult avel fam orkin g con oys tr ffe H.O.G of w erin enj Styof the lenges engine g, she ria art idin an ha l Mang a p s the c COWI, g and r ance. Bei enjoy nt at orkin atin d e L she ironm ides w and nv r. Bes riding e a k Qat sebac or h

Wear your protective gear boots, helmet, leather jacket and gloves. Don't underestimate the traffic. Always be alert, as most drivers don't realise the speed of the bike. When you are unsure of what the person ahead of you is doing on the road, go past him. Always carry water and a Swiss army knife with you.

thingS to reMeMber on the road

ride Safe

was defeated." Margarita too overcame her fear of bikeriding when she learnt that her younger sister was riding as well. "I realised that if my younger sister could ride, so could I. "It's easy now. I determine the speed and the right gear, plan the line through the corner and keep looking ahead as much as possible." "Riding a bike also depends on a person's attitude," adds Dinky. "There is something about a person's character that tells you if he/she can ride a motorbike." And she notes the same in Margarita and Maria the attitude of believing in oneself. "We all are strong women. To survive a motorbike you must be strong." Not just a bike; a lifestyle When the Harley owners group popularly termed H.O.G was first created in Qatar, it comprised merely 30 members, most of whom were expats. The family has now grown to nearly 150 members with many nationals joining in too. Since most live with their fami-

beSt harley MoMent

Dinky: Taking new riders one on one for a ride and teaching them the signals. Maria: When I take off my helmet only to find people surprised to see a lady biker. Margarita: When you take the lead, especially from a group of male bikers.

MeSSage to other ladieS

Dinky: Don't be afraid to ride. Your confidence will soar and your social life will take off. Maria: It just takes a step to put yourself out there and you will love it. Margarita: Don't fear the fear, just do it. Believe in yourself.

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To be a H.O.G. member visit the Ladies of Harley (LOH) Qatar page on Facebook or walk in to the Harley-Davidson showroom in Wakrah.

biking terMS
Sweeper:
The most experienced motorcyclist, who rides at the back of the group to oversee any danger.

road captain or lead bike:

A motorcyclist who rides at the front and relays information to the group via hand signals. He/she determines the group's direction, speed, choice of lane and formation.

grab a handful:
Speed up.

parade forMation:

A formation in which all the motorcyclists in a group ride two abreast.

Staggered forMation: dinky willoughby

Dinky doesn't own a car; she has been riding for 36 years and has never been without a bike. Working for Road & Dust Solutions, she has been educating people about protecting the environment and reducing dust when building roads. She calls herself a rebel.

A formation in which the lead bike rides on the left side of the track, the next bike on the right side of the track, the next bike in the left side of the track, and so on.

Single file:

A formation in which all the bikers ride on one side of a track.

hand SignalS

Point to the tank.

Stop

Left arm straight out, move uP and down.

Slow down

ready-toride
thumbs uP.

Left hand circLes in air above heLmet.

u-turn

finger above the heLmet, Pointing to the sky.

Single file forMation

index and LittLe finger above the heLmet, Pointing to the sky. aLso known as "hook 'em, horns" sign.

Staggered forMation

lies, the H.O.G. meets early Friday mornings for a group ride so that by 10 am everyone gets home. It's not just the Qatar Chapter; H.O.G members share a strong bond with their counterparts from every other country. Members meet up during international rallies just to ride together. The H.O.G. is also committed to spreading awareness through rallies for several causes Say No To Drugs, breast cancer awareness, autism, blood donations and fund-raising. Last year the group raised approximately $75,000 (QR273,000) from the region to support cancer awareness. Maria was always aware of the H.O.G. family, but never guessed its size. "I didn't know the fam-

ily would be large, friendly and helpful. I am happy to be a part of this huge network, being together and doing things together." "It's the only organisation that I know of where people of all ages, classes and communities are treated equally. The person next to me could be a millionaire and I would never even know it," adds Margarita. "It also doesn't matter which bike you own; anyone with a two-wheeler will start a conversation with you," says Dinky. "You would never see people in cars doing that." On bikes the trio have explored the many treasures of the country little towns on the outskirts of the city, military camps, a beautiful beach off Abu Samra road with no sand,

but only shells and herds of camels walking towards them. (Camels are frightened by the exhaust sound, they warn.) "Nothing can beat a really fast ride to set right a day that has gone completely wrong," says Dinky. Though most bikers like her are crazy for speed, Margarita and Maria share other preferences. For them it's about the attitude, the chrome, the metal, the sound and a connection with the universe's elements that their respective Harleys provide. The chat ends, helmets on, the engines roar and the trio are back to riding again, each content with her own Harley. It's hard to say, though, whether they chose their bikes or their bikes chose them!

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