I'd like to share some good news in amongst the tales of falls and drops, perhaps to remove a bit of gloom. I had an absolutely brilliant afternoon today. At two o'clock I was sitting at the RTA office in Albury awaiting my second riding test, my first having been a big fat failure because I botched my blinkers. This time I was determined that I wouldn't be riding home with an L plate affixed to the bike. The tester was the same one who failed me a week and a half ago but I was glad to see him, better the devil you know. The test was completely unexciting, as I was hoping for, right up until I locked up the back brake a little during the emergency stop. I backed off the rear and re-applied it, confident that the small skid wouldn't count against me. Thankfully that was the case and after a quick photo session, with glorious helmet hair, I had my unrestricted license. I pointed the little suzuki in the direction of the local Ducati dealership, my heart racing. This is what I've been waiting for since my wife agreed to let me get a bike, a ride out on a Ducati, the bike that's been my dream for a long time. This was a real moment of truth for me, I've had all of the anxious thoughts that people get when thinking about bigger bikes, what if I simply could not manage to ride my dream bike? Jumping onto the S2R was a bit confronting at first, not only was I going from a 250 to an 800cc V-Twin I was also riding something other than a cruiser for the first time. I found the foot-pegs, brake and gear lever without too much trouble and got ready to set off. I was completely unprepared for how tall the gearing would be on the Duke, this combined with a much heavier clutch meant that the first few blocks away from the dealership was a festival of stalls. A little bit of adjustment to what I was doing and all was well as I headed towards the open road. Riding on the highway on the Ducati was fantastic; the sounds, smells and the entire experience were just so good I grinned like a loon the whole time. As I overcame my initial trepidation and began to relax the bike just got easier to ride. The power came on smoothly and predictably, dispelling any fears I had about it being scary. The ride was comfortable, although an old thigh injury reminded me that a few stretches won't go astray if I'm to adopt this new seating position. The Duke handled easily, even when it started to rain half way through the ride. I think I'm in love. All my plans of dispassionately test riding a whole range of bike have all but gone out the window as the Ducati was everything that I'd hoped it would be. Now I just need to decide between red and black. So even on a cold, wet, windy day motorcycling dreams can come true.