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If a truism of the New Economy is that dot-coms aren’t like any other business, Cybergold.com may have found the perfect vice president of legal affairs. Jim Sowers definitely is not like any other attorney. On the face of it, he’s like many lawyers who bridge the gap between technology and law. He knows mergers and acquisitions. (Last week his company merged with Mypoints.com.) He has hands-on lawyering experience — including antitrust work for the Department of Justice on the 1995 Microsoft consent decree. And like many tech lawyers, he’s an accomplished Web master in his spare time. Not that he has much spare time. In addition to being a world-class, world-music DJ, playing drums in various bands from here to Trinidad and Tobago, and holding the title as San Francisco’s “King of Carnaval 2000,” in November of 1996 he somehow found the time to hop on his motorcycle and ride 14,000 miles to the end of South America proper, Tierra del Fuego. And he’ll be taking it to another level in a few months with a ride from Capetown to Cairo. For the South American journey, Sowers signed on with Jason Martin and four other fast friends who had the drive to make the trek. After garnering some corporate sponsors and setting up a Web site to document their trip and raise money for the American Cancer Society and Save the Children, they hit the road and headed south. Armed with a laptop, a satellite phone and a digital camera, they bridged continents. Despite becoming split up from one another and worn down from the grueling trek, they managed to keep a unique Web travelogue, meet some friendly and accommodating natives, and — against long odds — finish the ride. “I went into the trip without a sense of danger or even knowing that it could be dangerous,” Sowers says. “I guess I didn’t know enough to be scared. It was a tremendous experience, and I met some amazing people along the way. Some of the best people.” There were some rough spots on the road, though. In Panama, the group found out that the ferry that was supposed to take them to Colombia had gone out of business. Not ones to be easily dissuaded, they dismantled their bikes, packed them in crates and flew them to Ecuador. At one particularly sticky point, Sowers was almost arrested and thrown in jail by the Peruvian police for a Christmas Eve fender bender. Solution: a painful $150, no-judge-no-jury payment for a broken taillight. All in all, though, Sowers feels that the trip was one of the best experiences of his life. “I’ve lived great adventures. My advice to people is to go where your heart takes you. People don’t realize how rich we really are in this country, how many opportunities we have.” After 71 days of riding, he finally made it as far south as any road goes. He had planned to sell his bike at the end of the ride and hightail it back to the States. Unfortunately, he found that the local authorities made it hard to sell anything without an extensive trail of paperwork to back up the sale. So, he shipped the bike, and himself, back home. When the bike finally arrived two months later, he put it back together, started it up and decided that he wasn’t quite ready to part with it. On the contrary, he’s going to ride that same bike across Africa. Slated to begin Oct. 15, Sowers’ next adventure will also be a charitable one. “I’m hoping that we can raise some money for African charities,” he says. He knows it won’t be easy, and he acknowledges that a trip through Africa could be the toughest thing he might ever face. “The animals can kill you. The food can kill you. The water can kill you. It’s a different ride.” Joining him on the trip will be his friend Stephanie Decurnex, who also happens to be the former girlfriend of his good friend and riding partner Jason. Soon after returning from the South American trip, Jason tragically drowned. The Web site travelogue from the first trip, located at http://www.moonride.org/, is dedicated to Jason, and it’s still up and running strong. Sowers and Decurnex are hoping to add streaming video for the African trip and perhaps even have schoolchildren follow their trip via the Internet. For such a plugged-in and culturally motivated DJ/Webhead/biker/dot-com lawyer, Sowers still self-deprecatingly describes himself as “jack-of-all-trades, master of none.” But he also says he’s “happy as can be.” “I definitely don’t regret any of the adventures I never took. I’ve taken them. And I’m going to keep on taking them.”

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