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Whether you’re bicycling for family time, exercise or simply to take in the local ?scenery, Hilton Head Island offers no shortage of routes, paths and options.

The island boasts more than 50 miles of public bicycle paths, and the private communities contain many more (Sea Pines alone has 15 for your pedaling needs). The beach is rarely more than a few miles away, and at low tide offers so much space that you can feel like the place is yours alone. For these reasons and countless more (amenable weather, abundant sunshine) you can see why Hilton Head Island has carved out a reputation as an unofficial bikers’ mecca.

But these days, it’s a little more official.

There are a great many reasons no one wants me on a golf course. One of them is that I look ridiculous in purple.There are a great many reasons no one wants me on a golf course. One of them is that I look ridiculous in purple.

I should start by saying that with apologies to both my mom and Jim Furyk, I’ve never really been into golf. This is for one extremely simple, profound reason: I am terrible at golf. I am terrible at it in grave, hideous fashion. I am terrible at it in ways that make it so you can actually watch my 7-year-old lose respect for me in real time, in ways that should be sung about by Tom Waits, in ways that if our culture somehow celebrated the appearance of playing golf as though you’re being repeatedly jabbed in the brain with an electric toothbrush, I would be totally winning.

Frank BabelImmediately after relocating to Hilton Head Island, Frank Babel began looking for a cause.

“(Professionally), I traveled all the time, so it was hard to do community service,” said Babel. “When I retired here, I wanted to make a difference.” It didn’t take long to find that calling. An avid bicyclist, Babel has become one of the island’s foremost advocates for bicycling safety and awareness. He founded an advocacy group with local bike shop owners, has been elected to a statewide cycling coalition and works with numerous local government agencies on bikerelated projects. But his vision continues to grow.

horseback ridingIf you who grew up watching John Wayne or Clint Eastwood movies, some of your fondest memories are probably the final scene as the hero rides off into the sunset atop his horse. For those interested in trying horseback riding, don’t expect the same kind of grandeur, but instead, plenty of hard work, exercise and direction. The rewards, though, are even more satisfying than clearing a town full of bandits.

Many natives and visitors to Hilton Head Island, with its beautiful beaches and sea life, wouldn’t think of the Lowcountry as popular area for horseback riding. But numerous stables are available for both one-time visits and continuous lessons.

Lawton Stables, located within Sea Pines Plantation, offers hour-long Western style riding to the individual without previous riding experience. With some basic instructions, riders than take a tour through the trails in Sea Pines, cruising on a leisurely stroll atop their horses and taking in the scenery.

Banish workout boredomTired of the treadmill? Bored with your fitness routine? If you’re looking for a different way to get in shape, check out these “out of the box” workout offerings:

Not-Your-Average Boot Camp

If the words “boot camp” make you cringe, then personal trainer Jakkie Pidanick’s personalized workouts will be a pleasant surprise. She works with small groups and bases her programs on ability, rather than a set idea of what a boot camp “should” be. Pidanick incorporates sandbags, free weights, and even PVC pipes filled with water, and she doesn’t force her boot campers to follow an outline that doesn’t fit them. “People tend to give up on boot camps and other training programs because they struggle to keep up and get frustrated,” said Pidanick. “I make anything and everything work, so no one has to feel excluded.” For information, visit www.JakkiePidanick.com or call 338-5305.

Local kiteboarder Joe Vicars sets out to catch  some windLocal kiteboarder Joe Vicars sets out to catch some wind

On Oct. 3, 2008, Frenchman Sebastian Cattelan became the first sailor to break the 50 knot barrier by reaching 50.26 knots or almost 60 mph of wind-powered speed across the water. This record was previously held by sailboats, but Cattelan set the new record on a board with just a kite.

Speed is just one of the thrills that attract people to kiteboarding, an extreme water sport that is a hybrid of kiting, surfing and wakeboarding. There is no other sport in which you can achieve such speed or heights.

Water Sports Injury Prevention

Surfing

  • Bow bumpers or rounded front ends may prevent head and eye impact injuries.
  • Use caution in the shore break (small but powerful waves close to shore).
  • Chronic low back and shoulder pain are common. Cross training, flexibility and core strength help with these problems.
  • A leash can prevent your board from hitting others should you fall.