The Outside Blog

Adventure : Fitness

Would You Run in a Hamster Wheel to Save the Earth?

Green_wheel_mockupA mockup of the Green Wheel. Photo: Nadim Inaty

Okay, you won't save the earth. But you will help it along a tiny bit.

Nadim Inaty, an industrial designer from Beirut, Lebanon, is developing a public treadmill that would essentially crowdsource electricity from runners. The concept, which Inaty has dubbed Green Wheel, converts kinetic energy produced by a runner inside what is essentially a hamster wheel into electricity.

A single runner could generate about 120 watts in a half hour. That's a minuscule amount of power. It could power a compact fluorescent light bulb for about five hours. Big deal. But if multiple wheels were installed throughout a city and they were regularly used, well, that would create more power, but still not that much. That's not really the point, however.

"There’s a huge lack of knowledge in our community and society about how much energy we consume and what it takes to produce it," says Inaty. The Green Wheel is a way to harvest small amounts of wasted energy, sure, but it's more symbolic than practical.

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Introducing Teemo, a New Adventure Fitness App

When former Outside Online Editor Megan Miller told me this past spring she was working on a new adventure fitness app called Teemo, I was curious. How would it work? Who would use it? How easy would it be? She revealed the app a couple of weeks ago and I've had a bit of time to play around with it.

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A Columbia Shirt That Gets Goosebumps to Keep You Cool


Columbia says that bare skin is no longer the coolest option on hot humid days. The company’s newest creation, clothes made with Omni-Freeze ZERO, is, they claim, even cooler.

ZERO has circles of a sweat-absorbing polymer that swell and turn blue like tiny ice packs when you start to drip. The mechanical reaction (not chemical, as in cooling fabrics that use minty xylitol to provide a chill) sucks heat away from your body as well as moisture. By the Outdoor Retailer show, test results should be in, showing whether or not the cooling properties of ZERO quantifiably enhance athlete performance.

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The USOC Announces Coaches of the Year

The United States Olympic Committee has announced its 2011 coaches of the year. Rick Bower, coach of the U.S. snowboarding halfpipe team, took home the top honor. In the past, that award has gone to prominent names, including cycling coach Chris Carmichael and soccer coach Bob Bradley. Neal Henderson of Apex Coaching in Boulder won the Doc Counsilman Science Award for his work to improve cycling performance. Here's a quick summary of the winners and their achievements, as lifted from the USOC press release.


Olympic Coach of the Year: Rick Bower
During his six seasons as coach of the U.S. snowboarding halfpipe team, Bower has played an integral role in advancing women’s snowboarding. In 2011, he led his athletes to 31 major event podiums and took snowboarding to new heights after helping Kelly Clark become the first female to land a 1080 in competition. This achievement, at the pinnacle of snowboarding events for the year, had a monumental influence on up-and-coming female athletes and the progression of women’s snowboarding. For his efforts, Bower was recognized as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association International Coach of the Year and USSA International Snowboarding Coach of the Year in 2011.

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Downhill Mountain Biking Injuries: By the Numbers

Shutterstock_3204886A little air. Photo: Shutterstock

What are the most common injuries for downhill mountain bikers? A new study published in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine takes a crack at answering that question by examining the cases from one emergency clinic near the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

The park has three lifts that offer access to 45 trails with more than 155 miles and 3,800 vertical feet of riding. Helmets are mandatory. Five-year-olds planning to hit the dirt can forget about it. The minimum age requirement is six. There are ramps that easily allow riders to jump eight feet in the air and soar distances of more than 10 feet. There are rocks and roots for rumbling over. All of these obstacles are also great, of course, for biting it.

When athletes injure themselves, they often head to the nearby Whistler Health Care Centre. "We chose Whistler for a host of reasons," says one of the study's authors, Dr. Mary Pat McKay of George Washington University. "But primarily because there is really only one local medical clinic; this made data collection fairly comprehensive."

The clinic gave McKay, lead author Zachary Ashwell, and colleagues injury data from the 2009 season—which ran from mid-May to mid-October. Those people who were airlifted out of the park or went home thinking things "weren't that bad" were not included in this study. In total, 910 cases were catalogued. Twelve of those visits were excluded from the results because the injuries did not come directly from riding—think bee stings. Here's what the remaining 898 cases revealed, by the numbers.

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Apr 23, 2014

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