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GEAR & GADGETS

Products That Offer a Little Help for the Good Sport

March 05, 2000|JUDI DASH

Many vacationers like to participate in their favorite sport or other athletic activity during their travels. A new batch of products makes this a convenient and compact proposition. The following items may be available in area stores. Prices do not include shipping.

Spin cycle: Portable mini-bicycles are an attractive concept for travelers who want to take a trusty two-wheeler that can be stowed easily in a plane, boat, train or car trunk. Trouble is, most of these bikes are complicated to assemble and disassemble and can be messy when handling the greased chains.

The new Strida Bike eliminates those problems. The unusual triangular A-frame uses just three aluminum tubes and a few joints that fold in a few minutes to a compact 44 by 20 by 20 inches. The bike weighs 22 pounds, has a grease-free belt drive instead of chains, and can be locked through either the frame or wheels without removing any parts. The 16-inch wheels, single speed and upright seat design (the seat is on the rear slope of the triangle) do not make this a long-distance vehicle. But for short outings, the Strida Bike is convenient and manageable.

Strida portable bike is $379. Telephone (800) 787-4322, Internet http://www.strida.com.

Tool for tees: For the golfer who wants everything, the Victorinox Swiss Army Golf Tool makes a handy addition to the gear bag--and a certain conversation piece on the course. Along with the usual stainless steel blade, bottle opener, nail file, scissors, toothpick and tweezers, the 2 1/2-ounce Golf Tool also has a retractable divot repair tool and a removable ball marker. This little item may not improve your game, but it may give your act a little more class.

Victorinox Swiss Army Golf Tool is $39.95 at stores. Tel. (800) 442-2706, Internet http://www.swissarmy.com.

Putting around: Passionate golfers like to play a round wherever their travels take them. The Drive! CD-ROM provides detailed information on more than 17,000 public and private courses in the United States and Canada. The disc includes details on fees, rating, phone numbers and amenities, as well as a road atlas pinpointing each course, with directions for getting there. Take along a laptop with a CD-ROM drive and you can find the nearest course on the go. The program allows you to search for courses by name, location, fees, number of holes, and status as public or private. There's also information on the time of year each course is open, a course description, yardage, club-rental details and tee-time procedures. You can add personal evaluations of a specific course to the database for future reference.

Drive! CD-ROM is $29.95 from Green Grass Software Corp.; tel. (800) 562-4653, Internet http://www.greengrass.com.

Taking the bait: Like golfers, anglers relish having equipment on hand for impromptu outings. But a rod and reel are no small things to carry along--unless you're toting this compact set. The Executive Travel Pack features an Apollo spinning reel, ball-bearing drive, long-cast graphite spool and front disc drag with positive click adjustment and right/left retrieve. The 6 1/2-foot graphite rod disassembles to six pieces with ceramic guides. The components store in molded plastic compartments of the 18-by-10 1/2-by-3 1/2-inch travel case, which also contains a lure box.

Executive Travel Pack Fishing Rod (item Z15) is $129.95 from the Travel Tools Catalog; tel. (800) 586- 5676, Internet http://www.traveltools.com.

Wide, wide world: If you can't do the sport, watch it instead. Bushnell's Xtra-Wide 4-power binoculars catch the action with a panoramic 900-foot field of view at 1,000 yards--up to three times the viewing area of standard binoculars. I found the wide-angle lenses particularly useful for following stadium sports such as baseball, football and soccer. Or watch the whole orchestra in one glimpse. The focus-free binoculars weigh about 12 ounces and come with a hip-pack carry case and a wide neck strap.

Bushnell Xtra-Wide Binoculars are about $100 in stores; tel. (800) 423-3537, Internet http://www .bushnell.com.

Gear & Gadgets appears once a month.

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