Category Archives for "Equipment"

Road Bike vs Hybrid Bike: Which Should You Buy?

To the pure cyclist, a road bike may be the only way to travel, but for everyone else there is probably a little hybrid in there. Basically road bikes are built for long rides, from the design to the seat and and everything else.   A hybrid takes some aspects of a road bike and combines that with aspects of a mountain bike. Defining what a hybrid is does not always come easily though, as hybrids can be anywhere between the extremes of road touring bike and mountain trail bike.

While cycling purists may scoff at the hybrid, the main consideration should always be comfort and convenience. You need a bike that fits you, not one that fits anyone else.

While road bikes are great for long treks, you may also need a bike for commuting, fitness riding, or for attaching a child seat for family outings. That is where the hybrid comes in, combining some aspects of road bikes to make other types of uses convenient and comfortable.  In theory at least, a hybrid should combine the best of both worlds, though you do have to sacrifice some things to get other things in some cases. It is best to find the bike that best fits you and how you will be using the bike, regardless of any other consideration.

Here are some of the key difference between the two.

The handlebars are the most obvious difference. A hybrid has flatter handlebars, while a road bike has more curvature.  Braking is easier with a hybrid because of the shape of the handlebars. Some hybrids are now making the handlebars more ergonomic, and that may level out this difference.

Size and weight. Hybrids are a little smaller, but may weigh a little more. Road bikes are more focused on being light as possible for a longer haul. A hybrid may feel more responsive in turns because of ifs road bike heritage.

Gearing is lower on a hybrid.  Road bikes are geared for speed, while a hybrid takes some characteristics from mountain bikes and are more geared toward climbing and changing terrain.

Weight distribution. On a road bike you are in a more natural seated position and most of your weight is on the seat. On a mountain bike it is just the opposite, with weight more distributed.  A hybrid spreads out the weight distribution, giving you a little more control in turns, but keeping the speed advantages of a road bike.

Seat position. The seat height determines the position of the rider, and it influences how fast you can go. A road bike is more for speed, while a hybrid is more for comfort.

Tires, Narrow tires on road bikes promote speed on a smooth surface. Hybrid tires are a bit wider, and therefore not as fast. They do better with surfaces that are not as flat, and are more responsive to the road. Hybrid tires also offer better grip when the roads are wet.

The main advantage of a road bike is speed and endurance. You can cover a long distance in a hurry with a road bike. Everything about a road bike is designed around the need for speed and performance, even at the expense of comfort at times.

The main advantage of a hybrid is flexibility. If you want to ride on different surfaces, and want a more leisurely approach, a hybrid might be a better option. if you are also not necessarily going to be mountain biking, but want some options, a hybrid would be a better option. A hybrid can also carry more weight. You can carry more items more easily with a hybrid.

If you like to live in both the road and mountain bike worlds, but dont have a lot of cash, a hybrid would be a great option.

Renting vs Buying Snorkel Gear

Snorkeling the sparkling, blue waters of your favorite destination, in the company of beautiful reefs, rainbow colored fish, and other underwater aquatics, can be an exciting and life-altering experience. In fact, it is one of the main reasons many travelers go on vacation.

While preparing for your snorkeling excursion, you may wonder if is better to rent your snorkel gear once you arrive or to simply buy it. To help with your decision, take a look at some of the benefits and cons of both.

The benefits of renting snorkeling equipment:

The main benefit of renting snorkeling gear is that you don’t have to lug big, heavy equipment along with you on your trip. For instance, fins are especially large and can take up quite a bit of space in your luggage.

Another benefit of renting snorkeling gear vs buying it is that it comes at a cheaper price, which is especially beneficial for first time snorkelers who may never snorkel again, or often.

In addition, if you plan to take up snorkeling as a hobby, renting your gear provides the option to try out various equipment without paying a hefty price or being stuck with the wrong gear.

The cons of renting snorkeling equipment:

Though rental gear is sanitized often, the idea of using face masks and snorkels after someone else is enough to deter some people from renting. Furthermore, depending on the location and time of year, snorkel rentals may be busy, which means it might be harder to find a mask or other equipment that properly fits your face.

The quality of rental gear can also be an issue, as some rental places do not typically keep up with the latest in snorkeling gear. In addition, rental gear can be pretty banged up or scratched from multiple uses.

Lastly, if there are no snorkel gear rentals near the area where you are staying or plan to snorkel, it could mean taking extra time to search for one.

The benefits of buying snorkeling equipment:

The main benefit of having your own snorkel gear is that it eliminates the hassle of searching for the right gear or rental shop once you reach your destination.

Furthermore, buying your own snorkel gear means having equipment that fits you properly. It also provides the option of searching different shops for a variety of equipment at a price that fits your budget. Many sporting good stores offer a variety of budget-friendly equipment, which is just perfect for families and non-hobbyist snorkelers.

Sanitation concerns will also be eliminated because you are the only user; therefore, you are in control of rather the equipment is properly sanitized or not.

Lastly, owning your own gear means you have the freedom and versatility to snorkel anywhere and anytime you’d like as opposed to having to rely on tour groups.

The cons of buying snorkeling equipment:

The biggest issue with buying snorkel gear is that it can be expensive, which can be a hassle if you’re only planning to snorkel once.

Additionally, carrying your gear with you on trips also means having less space in your luggage, which could be used to transport other items.

How to Get the Best of Both Worlds:

When it comes to obtaining snorkel equipment, experts suggest not limiting yourself to just one or the other. Instead, they suggest purchasing your own snorkel and mask from a local snorkel shop, since they are fairly light, and renting your fins once you arrive at your destination.

In addition, having your own mask and snorkel means having equipment that fits your face properly and eliminates the issue of sanitation, which will help give you a peace of mind while snorkeling.

Essential Snorkeling Gear

Water sports are extremely popular worldwide. In fact, when you think of water sports most people usually only think of skiing and swimming. There are others, of course, and one of the most fascinating and intriguing of these is the sport of snorkeling. Snorkeling is not like scuba diving because you are not going very deep you are mostly only going right beneath the surface of the water. You might go as deep as 6 or 8 feet or so but only for brief instances. Even though you usually don’t go that deep, snorkeling shows you some of the most amazing sights the oceans have to offer.

What Gear Do I Need?

Good snorkeling gear is essential for a good underwater experience. What you need first for this sport are a mask and a snorkel. The mask is, of course, the viewing device you wear over your face to see underwater. They come in many types and styles. Some are made with optical quality glass and some are made of plastic. Some of the masks have purge valves and some don’t. You can even get full face masks if you desire. Do some research on the various kinds available before you decide what you want to use.

The next device you need is a good snorkel. The snorkel is the device that lets you breathe air while your face is submerged in the water. Snorkels come in different sizes for adults and children. Like the masks, some have purge valves and some don’t. In some, the barrels are longer and there are even several designs with other features that make their use more comfortable for the user.

Swim Fins And A Vest

Swim Fins are worn on your feet to help make propelling you through the water much easier. There are two basic types of swim fins, the kind that attaches to your foot with a shoe type pocket and the kind that attaches to a half foot pocket and includes a heel strap. The kind that is best for you is generally more of a personal preference.

This now brings us to the snorkeling vest. Is a vest absolutely necessary? No, not really but a vest can be quite useful if you aren’t a strong swimmer and are especially good for children. The vest allows the wearer to inflate and deflate it to adjust their buoyancy in the water. This can be very useful if you are snorkeling and want to take a rest. You can also inflate your vest to relax just a bit. The vest can, however, hinder the user from free diving to depth.

Other Snorkeling Items

While none of these items are absolutely essential to the sport they can be quite handy. One is a form of skin protection. This can be a wetsuit or other lycra based or waterproof jumpsuit. These garments can be used as a form of thermal insulation and even as a sun guard to keep you from getting sunburn.

The other question that always arises is what kind of gear is the best to have? Though many people may think that the most expensive equipment is the best this is not necessarily true. With snorkeling gear the equipment should be comfortable to use and it should fit you exactly. Also take into account the materials the piece is made of. A poor quality material will affect the pieces durability, fit, and even its comfort. Also look at options that the piece has that may enhance its usefulness. Check if the piece has any replacement parts available and of course consider the price along with the other factors.