Taking a boat out for a test pedal | PostIndependent.com

Taking a boat out for a test pedal

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

HARVEY GAP – This could make my muscle car-loving dad cringe, but foot power prevails over horsepower.At least on the water, anyway.A couple of weeks ago, I went to Rifle Gap with my roommate, Susan, her boyfriend and his family for an afternoon at Rifle Gap. We had a festive pre-July Fourth picnic and rode ski-doos until afternoon rain showers chased us home.At one point during our ride around the gap, Susan was pretty sure I was trying to kill her. The screaming was my first indication.What can I say? I have a lead wrist.Last Saturday, I test drove a pedal kayak during Summit Canyon Mountaineering’s Hobie kayak and Mad River Canoe demo at Harvey Gap. There was a lot less rush of adrenaline, but I felt more in touch with nature.”That’s what Colorado’s all about,” said Cailen Hollenback, who also test drove a pedal kayak.Hollenback – a mother of three kids, ages 3, 6 and 8 – enjoyed her experience pedal kayaking because of its family-friendly appeal. The kayaks come as singles, or are available as family boats, with room for two pedalers and a small child or Rover.No room for Marmaduke here.”I love that it’s for kids, too,” Hollenback said. Hollenback also appreciated the workout.”Wait until you feel the stomach workout you’ll get,” she said.I felt the burn more in my legs, particularly in my quads. But, like the soreness in my forearms I feel after a tough tennis match, that’s the good kind of hurt.The beauty of boating in a pedal kayak is that the user controls the speed with the large muscles of the legs. For a girl with puny arms, this is key when trying to escape an unexpected rainstorm.They’re probably also fun for racing. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anyone well enough to challenge them to a contest. If my dad would have been there, the games would have been on.I was also able to point myself in the right direction with a kick-up rudder control easily manipulated with the turn of my wrist. I appreciated that, because the last time I tried to oar a raft, I was basically going in circles.I also liked the fact I was in a boat on the water and not strapped in with a spray skirt. I’m a wanna-be whitewater kayaker who hasn’t quite taken to river running because I know I’ll be swimming if I flip. If I flipped this kayak, at least I knew I wouldn’t be scrambling to wet exit.The pedal kayak was a quiet, smooth ride as opposed to a gas-powered, scream-inducing spin on the water. At one point, I actually had my hands clasped behind my head as I pedaled in whatever direction the Harvey Gap gods wanted to take me.Too bad the two drink holders were empty – maybe if I could afford the $1,450 price tag ($1,850 for the two-person model) they would throw in a drink cozy or two.”You could use it on a lake, the ocean, or a really deep, flat river,” said Mike Brin, a buyer for Summit Canyon Mountaineering. “We hope to rent them next summer.”In Colorado, Brin said Dillon Reservoir in Summit County rents pedal kayaks.Hobie kayaks come in pedal or paddle-powered models ranging in colors from Caribbean Blue to Red Hibiscus. There is room for fashion in outdoor sports, after all.Penguin fins are the inspiration behind the engineering of Hobie’s MirageDrive system. Underwater flippers are driven by alternating right-and-left steps – much like a step machine at the gym. Legs provide the power without splashing.”It’s just a lot of fun to be out there on the water – there’s not much more fun than that,” said Carl Moak, owner of Summit Canyon Mountaineering. “All these boats are great for flat water.”Flat water is more my speed, anyway.Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518aclark@postindependent.com

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