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CRITICAL MASS CYCLING
Remember in Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, when Rick Moranis' brother or whatever goes, "We have critical mass!" referring to the machine that would eventually shrink all the parents? It was in, like, every single trailer. There's no way to verify this, of course, but that line may have inspired what has become a nationwide monthly bike ride — Critical Mass! — with a devoted, lately somewhat controversial, chapter here in Cleveland. The last Friday of every month, grease up the old chains and pump up the old tires and convene on Public Square for a meandering, extemporized route (often through downtown and surrounding neighborhoods). Generally, there's brews and good fellowship at the ride's conclusion. It's a great way to build awareness of cycling and safety issues, and to connect with an impassioned group of regular riders who are eager to share the road. (Allard)
If you're really looking to get some adrenaline pumping through those veins, maybe this summer's the one to finally grow a pair and sky dive. AerOhio in Rittman offers two choices for beginners: a tandem dive, in which you dive with an instructor attached to you, or an advanced free fall, in which you dive alone with instructors by your side — the latter requires a longer class time and has a higher price tag than the former, but maybe the feeling of independence it yields is worth it (you'll look way more badass in the pictures). The price tag is hefty, though: $199 for a tandem jump and $299 for an advanced free fall, as well as an additional $109 if you want pictures or video of the affair. But aren't the rush and bragging rights worth it? (Dietz)
11679 Blough Rd., Rittman, 330-925-3483, aerohio.com.
If you and five friends or colleagues feel that deep-Australian competitive beach volleyball urge, you are encouraged to sign up for the Cleveland Plays summer volleyball league at Whiskey Island. Registration ends on July 10 for the July 14 start date and cost is $250 per team. Volleyball matches, though certainly physically demanding, tend to be less violent than soccer or football or basketball. And you're encouraged to drink beers between your 21-point battles, so things feel more social. These games are self-refereed and a blast for everyone. Grab a summertime ale and bump, set, spike your way to victory. If leagues aren't your thing, the sandy courts at Whiskey Island, Battery Park, Lakewood Park, and Mulberry's in the Flats are always a good bet for some impromptu v-ballin'. If you're a far eastsider, Deeker's Side Tracks bar and grill has quite a few nets set up as well. Don't get sand in your shoes! (Allard)
In the spirit of childhood, overwhelm yourself with nostalgia and fly a kite. This is a great one for those looking to avoid breaking the bank and who love the feeling of a nice breeze tickling one's face. You can find kites anywhere: Wal-Mart, Toys"R"Us or even Amazon. Kite flying works for a cutesy and cheap date as well; bring food and picnic while you're at it. If you find yourself needing others to share your newfound kite flying enthusiasm, the Ohio Society for the Elevation of Kites (or OSEK) has a schedule of events on its website. Get crafty and learn how to build your own kite at one of their workshops, then show off your masterful creation at their annual Cleveland International Kite Festival, on Sept. 6 and 7. (Dietz)
Who doesn't like shooting at things once in a while? Cleveland has lots of options for archery and gun ranges. Although these two activities are something you'll need your own equipment for (being that most are technically weapons for which you need the valid permits), they aren't hard to obtain if you've got a clean background and an interest. The Cleveland Archery Club provides a target range during the summer months in the Metroparks, located in Strongsville at the Albion Woods/Mill Stream Run Reservation. The public is welcome to practice as long as there isn't a Club event going on, but nonmembers are welcome to compete in events as well. If you want to step it up a notch, you can try the gun ranges around town. Generally, you need to be 21 or over (young ones must be with an adult) and shooting stalls rent for about $8 to 15 per hour. Two ranges that you don't have to drive too far for are B&T Shooting Supplies and Stonewall Gun Shop and Range. (Trenholme)
clevelandmetroparks.com; B&T Shooting Supplies, 3030 Grove Ave., Lorain, 440-277-5252, btshooting.com; Stonewall Gun Shop & Pistol Range, 100 Ken Mar Industrial Pkwy., Broadview Hts., 440-526-0029, stonewallrange.com.
So maybe you did know that you can go camping in Northeast Ohio, but maybe you need a reminder that whether you're in the back of an RV, roughing it with nothing but a tent, or looking for a cabin to rent in the remote wilderness, the Buckeye State is blessed with more Mother Nature than you could cover in a lifetime. Pack up a cooler with the requisite supplies, and enjoy a weekend (or week) outdoors doing whatever people do. Hike, sleep, build a fire, grill, fish, sleep some more — just forget about civilization for a bit.
Some of you have probably heard of geocaching, the GPS-based "real word treasure hunt" happening all around us. With more than two million total caches, there are endless hunts available in the Cleveland area. To play, log in to a free basic membership online, enter your postal code and select a "cache," or container, that you'd like to hunt. You'll get a set of GPS coordinates, then travel to that location and try to find the booty at the site. You sign a commemorative logbook, return the cache to where you found it, and then share your adventures on the web. The cool part is, you're welcome to take items if you replace them with items of equal or greater value. It's free, totally outdoorsy, original and big-time fun for anyone who did "orienteering" in the Science Olympiad back in grade school. Good luck not getting addicted to this interactive form of urban/suburban/rural exploration. (Allard)