Some seek out Groove Life rings because they work the types of jobs that are notoriously hard on fingers (shop teachers, firemen, farmers, mechanics, etc.), others because they don’t want to lose their “real” wedding bands in the blue waters of the Caribbean while on honeymoon, and still others because, well, Groove silicone rings are cool.
But there’s another, untamed (some might even say savage) breed of Groove ring customer who wear our bands out of more than just occupational necessity and not solely because they look so fine (though that helps).
They wear them because no other piece of jewelry in existence can stand up to the amount of abuse wrought by what these gonzo units call “entertainment” and still remain comfortably, safely, dryly in place throughout.
We Feel You
It’s no coincidence that Groove Life rings are perfect for extreme recreation because they’ve been developed by us to be worn and purveyed by us: folks who live, work and play hard in the bounteous wilds of Alaska.
There is perhaps no better testing ground for “active rings” than our home state, but we’re about to give you a list of ways to amuse yourself in a number of places and ways (assuming you’re one of our ilk) while putting your Groove Life ring to the test.
- Spelunking (or caving): If you’ve followed a corny-joke-cracking tour guide through a rocky underground space with observation decks, handrails, and recessed lighting, chances are you’ve had a lovely tour of a sanitized, snooze-inducing version of what was once a proper cave.
If you’ve rappelled into dark crevasses with nothing but the light on your helmet to guide you, skinned your knees crawling under massive rock formations or squeezed through passages tight enough to make a rat claustrophobic, you may have been spelunking.
Where: Great caves exist all over the world, but for beginning spelunkers, some of the best recommended starting points include Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Ellison’s Cave in Georgia (U.S.), Great Blue Hole in Belize (scuba caving!) and El Capitan Cave right here in dear old Alaska.
Gear: This is really destination dependent, as caving excursions may or may not include rappelling, overnight stays, cooler temps, dampness and even submersion.
One thing most spelunkers can agree on is that you need a dependable light on your head (helmet or band, depending) and a durable pair of hiking boots with excellent tread. Make sure to get a checklist from your guide or tour company before you go and follow it to the letter. (Don’t forget your silicone ring.)
Need to know: Never. Spelunk. Alone. Experts never do and you shouldn’t either. Also, you should never go caving when:
- You don’t know who owns or is responsible for the cave
- You don’t have permission
- You haven’t told anyone where you’re going
- You’re not properly outfitted
- You’re a novice among novices without a guide
IMPORTANT: Caves are sensitive ecosystems unto themselves and should be treated with care and respect. When you go on your first few tours, your guides will discuss ways to minimize damage to natural formations and wildlife as you move through the cave.
- Rock Climbing: Judging from our attitude toward well-lit, guard-railed cavern strolls, you might expect us to make fun of indoor rock climbing, but we’re going to take a pass. While it may not be the danger-fraught adrenaline blitz that is outdoor climbing, it’s a great way to stay in shape and train for the real thing.
The Real Thing: If you’re a relatively fit person (important) and want to try your hand at climbing actual rocks, it’s essential to start out with a qualified guide. Whether you have killer formations right in your neighborhood or you’re going to make this a destination thing, it’s fairly easy to find a reputable guide that’s familiar with the area by poking around online.
- Non-restrictive, quick-dry clothing (pack appropriately for changing conditions)
- Rock climbing shoes (not sneakers, boots or sandals)
- Climbing helmet (suitable for climbing type)
- Chalk pouch
The rest of your gear will depend on your climb and may or may not be provided by your guide, so make sure you understand what to bring ahead of time. If you’re bouldering, crash pads are a good idea. For anything else, you may need:
- Climbing harness
- Pro (protection device normally used and placed by proficient sports climbers)
- Anything else your guide recommends
Need to know: We LOVE rock climbing at Groove Life and have righteously enjoyed using the sport to personally field test our bands, but even experienced climbers like us have to remember to:
- Stay aware of the risks; avoid overconfidence
- Climb with a partner (guide if beginner)
- Have a plan and back it up with clear communication
- Double-check EVERYTHING (knots, ropes, straps, carabiners, etc. . . . )
- Climb only where permitted
- Mountain Biking: Another one of our personal favorites, true mountain biking does call for a good measure of physical fitness, but utilizing well-traveled local trails and parks in the beginning is a good way to get yourself in shape for a greater challenge.
If you have your heart set on off-road, rugged-terrain, bone-jarring mountain biking, you need to invest in a good bike. And since they aren’t cheap, you don’t want it ending up like the free weights in the garage or the ab machine in the basement: Don't buy it if you’re not serious.
There are dozens of highly-recommended, breathtakingly beautiful mountain bike touring destinations around the world and most of them recommend you bring your own ride, although rentals are available.
Having your own bike is important because, if you’ve done your due diligence, you’ve:
- Done some research online, talked to experts and/or visited more than one bike shop
- Established what type of riding you’ll be doing (trail, cross-country, all-mountain, etc.)
- Chosen a bike with the correct wheel size, suspension, frame, brakes, and gears for the type of riding you’ll be doing
- Purchased a bike that fits you like a glove (preferably in an actual store, with the help of someone qualified)
Gear: Now that you’ve spent a nice chunk of change on your shiny new bike, it’s time to make sure you stay comfortable, not to mention alive, by shelling out some more for:
- Mountain bike helmet
- Mountain bike shoes
- Lightweight, moisture-wicking socks
- Lightweight, moisture-wicking, super-chic Groove Life ring (OK, not necessary, but should be)
- Shock-absorbent biking/cycling gloves
- Lycra, nylon, spandex or polyester (moisture wicking) clothing – Note: If you’re not comfortable in skin-tight clothing, no worries. There are several baggy, bike-appropriate options available. Remember, cotton is the devil when biking.
- Water bottle(s)
- Bike pack so you can bring nutritious, energy-boosting snacks (no, not cheesy poofs.)
Need to know: Even though it’s advisable to be smartly equipped for your ride, remember that your first priority is to have fun, so don’t take yourself too seriously. Nothing screams “Amateur!” more loudly than someone showing up in head-to-toe body armor for a scenic nature trail cruise. Be prepared, but only with what you need.
Here are some other quick tips to help you avoid looking like a newbie:
- Get good at using your front brakes
- Keep your weight back and stay loose
- Avoid watching your front tire
- Carry a spare tire and a few simple tools (that you know how to use)
- Understand bike terminology
- As in life, don’t pretend to understand things you don’t
We hope you’ve had as much fun reading this as we’ve had writing it and, even more important, that you’ve been inspired to take on a challenge or even revisit an old passion. Life should be as much about breaking out of your comfort zone as Groove Life rings are about awesomeness.
Available in “original” or “thin,” we’ve got your size, your color and your back (in terms of finger safety.) Groove Life silicone rings – stay cool, stay dry, stay safe.