Taking care of your golfing equipment

7 08 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from TourProGolfClubs

If you’re a regular golfer, then you’ll no doubt be well aware just how important it is to look after your equipment properly. After all, forking out for new golf clubs can be expensive – so it’s up to you to make sure you keep them in good condition. What’s more, there’s also the risk that your golf clubs may be stolen – so it might be a good idea to sign up for golf insurance with GolfCare, so that you’ve got that extra peace of mind. However, there are some steps you should take in order to ensure that your golf clubs are properly looked after. Here are a few suggestions you may wish to bear in mind.

According to About.com, looking after your golf clubs is likely to save you a significant amount of money in the long run. Firstly, you need to think about where you store your clubs. You might be tempted to leave them in the boot of your car or in your garage – but this could potentially be a problem when temperatures warm up. Although the head of the club and its shaft will be unaffected, the glues and resins used to hold the grip in place are likely to weaken. What’s more, prolonged exposure to humid condition can also increase the risk of rusting.

It might also be a good idea to use headcovers to protect your woods and putter, although you shouldn’t need them for your irons. Also, keep a towel attached to your bag and then use it to wipe down the face of the club after every shot. It’s important to make sure that dirt doesn’t start to harden on to the face of the club, so make sure you clean your club at least once every few rounds. In particular, you should always make sure you clean your clubs after playing a round in the rain. For best results, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and warm, soapy water to clean the face of a club. Once you’re done cleaning, wipe the face down using a towel.

Make sure you wipe your clubs’ grips down regularly using a damp cloth, and keep an eye out for any cracks, worn areas or shiny areas which might appear on your grips. When you see this sort of damage, it’s probably a reliable indicator that you need to invest in some new grips. Nicks, dents and splits can all start to appear in your clubs’ shafts over time, usually through being banged around. If you notice such flaws, you may want to think about buying replacement shafts.

A useful guide to golf club care from eBay also reminds us that keeping the heads of golf clubs free of dirt is a vital part of maintenance, and points out that different clubs will require different care. It may be worth opting for steel shafts as these are likely to be particularly durable – clubs can be susceptible to dents and nicks when being carried around in your bag, so it makes sense to pick clubs which offer a greater degree of resilience.





Off-road Riding, How To Stay Safe

3 04 2013

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Image from flickr creative commons via chaunceydavis818

Off-road riding is a fun and exhilarating sport but when practised without caution, there is the potential for a lot to go wrong and injury to happen. For that reason, it’s really important that you take heed of safety warnings and advice each time you take your bike off-road. That’s why I’ve come up with this handy guide on how to stay safe when taking your bicycle off-road. We’ll take a look at essential safety equipment that every cyclist should wear, before further discussing the merits of riding and how you can get involved in the sport.

When cycling off-road, it’s vital that you wear safety equipment such as a full-face helmet, cycling gloves and elbow and knee pads. It is also recommended that both trousers and a long sleeved top are worn for added protection. So why am I telling you all of this? No it’s not to be boring. Safety is of utmost importance, particularly when you’re involved in a dangerous sport such as off-road biking. A helmet is possibly the most important piece of safety equipment to wear as it will protect your head should you fall off your bike. The last thing you want is to injure your head as it can have lasting and potentially severe consequences. As for elbow and knee pads, it goes without saying that if you can protect yourself from nasty scrapes and cuts, you might as well; it’s not like you’re losing out on anything by wearing them.

The most popular form of off-road biking is with a BMX. These bikes are ideal for doing tricks and cool manoeuvres as they’re built with that purpose in mind. The sport was first popularised in Britain during the 1980s and was practised in skate parks and on dirt roads. However, it has come a long way from there and was introduced into the Olympic games in 2012. After the Games finished, the 400m BMX track was opened to the general public as part of the Velopark in the Olympic Park.

So why is BMX so good for you? As with any sport, it gets your adrenalin pumping and your heart racing which means that it burns calories. In fact, the effort of riding a BMX bike at speed for just an hour can burn approximately 610 calories. The sport is known for increasing endurance, developing physical coordination and improving muscle strength, as well as helping with weight loss.

Pedalling a BMX bike helps to strengthen and tone various leg muscles, while muscle mass in the biceps and triceps is increased when lifting the handlebars to perform tricks. It doesn’t just have physical merits however; whether practising to compete in races or performing tricks, BMX biking gives the rider boosted self-discipline, motivation, self-esteem and confidence.

Not only that, but group training sessions can encourage younger cyclists to develop and improve communication skills and learn how to work well as a team.

If you’re thinking about learning BMX biking as a beginner, you’ll need to master the basics first before you are able to compete amongst the more advanced riders. There are many YouTube videos with tips and advice for mastering the basics and they can teach you how to perform some of the simpler tricks to get you started.

Once you start to become a little more advanced and confident with the tricks, you may wish to set yourself a bit of a challenge. Tom Allen spent several years travelling through some 30 plus countries with his mountain bike, so he’s more than qualified to dish out advice. He offers 10 tips for those wanting to complete their first off-road cycling trip. As well as giving the cyclist practical and helpful advice, he also reminds people to have fun too. My particular favourite is the final tip which he entitles ‘enjoy’, as I think it serves as a good reminder that you should be able to have enjoyment and pleasure from a sport as well as pushing yourself to the limits.

For those wanting to take part in BMX biking competitions, there are several events that take place up and down the UK as well as in various countries around the world. A low-cost way to be able to take part in so many competitions is to buy cheap tents to stay in, saving you a fortune on expensive accommodation. What’s more, you’ll be able to get in some handy last-minute practise on nearby trails.





How to stay accessible when away in the great outdoors

4 02 2013

If you like to make the most of the countryside and enjoy getting out and about in forests, mountains and wilderness, then remembering to stay safe has to be one of your top priorities. Taking precautions and making sure that you remain safe is a great idea and the only sensible option.

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This image via Flickr creative commons from bobcat123

Even if you are planning to enjoy a day out in the British great outdoors as opposed to the Blue Ridge Mountains then it still pays to make sure there is someone who knows where you are going. It is important to always check the weather before venturing out, but also remember that the weather in the UK can change very quickly and what at one moment is a bright sunny day can turn into a cold, misty and dangerous environment in a matter of moments. If something does go wrong then you are always going to be in a much better position if someone knows where you have gone. Staying in contact, staying accessible, is always worth remembering.

Many of us have come to rely on mobile phones these days and are used to having access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While this is great when you’re in a city or some other urban environment, it is easy to forget that mobile reception is not consistent across the UK and so it pays to think about the other ways that you can stay in touch. Getting to the top of a mountain and discovering that the valleys on either side are blocking the signal from antennas is not great when you have no other way of communicating with the outside world.

One option to consider is investing in a set of walkie talkies that will allow you to remain in contact with a base or, alternatively, with other walkers within your group who are out at the same time. Long-range walkie talkies or personal mobile radios allow people to communicate across an area of several kilometres and can provide a means of communication in inhospitable terrain that traditional mobile phones are not able to cope with. Also remember that dedicated outdoor radios are always going to be tougher and more durable than your average smartphone and, even if they do become damaged, are likely to cost far less to replace.

Another important thing to remember is the European international emergency number – 112. Regardless of what country you are in across Europe you will be able to call this number free of charge from any landline or mobile phone. What’s more, 112 is recognised in other countries around the world, including north America where it redirects to 911 and Australia where it redirects to 000.

Even if you are unable to take a communications device with you, it always pays to let someone else know where you are going. That might be a member of your family, but it could just as easily be the person who runs the accommodation where you’re staying on holiday. If you’ve booked accommodation through a vacation rentals firm then perhaps consider visiting a nearby pub where staff will be able to raise the alarm should you fail to return after a certain period of time. It might seem like you’re being over cautious but safety should always come first.