The Benchmark Outfitter equips customers with element-tested adventure gear, packing caravans with accessories ranging from sleeping bags to outdoor attire. Ladies surmount Mother Nature’s challenges enrobed in a cotton North Face logo tee ($20) and Patagonia lightweight bottoms ($45) with fast-drying, moisture-attacking polyester fabric. A men's multifunctional friction belt ($20) keeps pants in place and doubles as a lash strap during climbs or lasso during duels with wild cowboys. To lug all your gear with ease, fasten on a Burton Treble Yell pack ($34.95), which has room for a laptop, water, or drums full of trail mix. Adventures also find seasonal paraphernalia tucked within the shop’s confines, with skis for winter’s snows, tents for summer’s sun, and nets for spring’s leprechaun hunts.
The experts at West Chester Cyclery have been selling, maintaining, and unbreaking bikes since 1982, the year that enjoyed a short-lived fad of children flying their bikes across the surface of the moon. The cyclery's bike surgeons are well trained, friendly, and bike buffs themselves, so you can be sure that your trusty two-wheeled steed will be in good hands when it goes under the knife. The basic tune-up includes brake and gear adjustments, wheel truing, and a safety check to guarantee that most riders will be able to glide smoothly through downhill mountainside switchbacks and unriskily ramp over boiling tarpits. Most repairs can be completed within two or three days.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Mechanized towers stand along the shoreline of Wake Nation Cincinnati's 10-acre lake, steering riders across the water as they grip cables rather than lines attached to boats. Cruising clockwise from the cables, up to seven people at a time can wakeboard, water ski, kneeboard, or waterskate around the aquatic arena at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Wake Nation designed the main lake for everyone from beginners to elite-level riders, and peppered it with manmade obstacles and floating jumps, allowing boarders to zip along and pull off tricks that sometimes aren’t possible behind a boat. They also have a smaller practice lake for beginners and young riders from 5 years old and up.
Experienced staff members observe boarders at all times, supplying safety tips, training, and navigational advice for circumventing Poseidon’s rose bushes. Visitors can bring their own equipment, or rent or buy necessary gear from Wake Nation’s pro shop. A cast of instructors lead lessons and observe riders during freestyle riding, fun summer camps, and special events such as birthday parties.
A distributor of children's playground and sports equipment, Recreations Outlet has been fortifying playtime with safely constructed fun fixtures since 1990. The outlet houses an expansive show room brandishing apparatuses that parents can purchase and install at home, such as monkey towers, and fenced-in Springfree trampolines that keep kids in and competitive kangaroos out. In addition to its regular shopping hours, Recreations Outlet invites little ones to come test out the fun factor of its wares during open-play sessions or hosted birthday parties.
At Cincinnati Diving Center, the certified instructors take the art of diving seriously—from beginner’s sessions to rescue-diver courses, all training programs incorporate both classroom and in-water sessions to ensure complete preparation for frolics in the sea or the neighbor’s aquarium. The center also sells scuba and snorkeling gear for successful swims and coordinates group trips to the ocean to free divers from the stresses of vacation planning.