By Erick Wikum
The season of giving is upon us and for avid trail users, a safety-related item can make a great gift. Here are five safety-related gift ideas for your special someone.
1. A helmet is personal protective equipment (PPE) for your head. A wide range of types is available, from basic (which offer plenty of protection) to high tech (see this link). To be effective, a helmet must be properly fitted and correctly worn. Since Styrofoam breaks down over time, helmets should be replaced every several (e.g., three) years. Visit a local bike shop for help picking out an appropriate model and size for your gift recipient and to help your recipient adjust the helmet straps to fit.
2. Lights for walking, running and cycling allow trail users to see and be seen. Bike lights, white in the front and red in the rear, provide visibility not only as dusk approaches, but also in the shadows common to the tree-covered trail. Headlamps, reflective clothing and LED reflecting bands can be seen by other trail users and by drivers crossing the trail. Click this link for more information.
3. Hydration solutions including bottles, cages, hydration belts, vests or backpacks (see this link), provide convenient ways for trail users to carry sufficient fluids for their outings. Sports drink powders and fizzy tablets, when added to water, provide electrolytes, nutrients and flavoring with minimal calories.
4. A pack worn on the shoulders or waist can provide a convenient way for a trail user to carry his or her identification, cell phone, snacks, sunscreen and other essentials (see this link). Identification is indispensable in case a trail user experiences a personal health emergency. Having one’s cell phone to call for help, consult a map or report issues to the trail hotline (513-212-6958) is essential.
5. Outdoor clothing including jackets, vests, base layers, hats, headbands, gloves, footwear and socks can allow trail users to enjoy the trail in all but the most adverse of weather. Dressing properly and being prepared are among the keys to winter fun on the trail (see this link). Dressing in layers is recommended to provide thermal insulation and options to adjust for changing conditions. (Note that Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), which owns and manages the trail, does not clear the trail of snow or ice since doing so would suggest the trail is safe to use. During winter, users use the trail at their own risk.)
This year, consider giving your special someone a gift that will not only allow them to enjoy the Little Miami Scenic Trail, but will also keep them safe (and provide you with peace of mind). This year, give the gift of safety.