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Kidsday: Riding the Ripstik skateboard

The Ripstik ( is a fantastic way to get around. I got mine just this year, and I really like it. It is like a skateboard, except you don't have to use your feet to accelerate.

It is a little tricky when you first start because you have to gain your balance quickly. Riding the Ripstik takes a little getting used to, but once you do, it becomes really easy and fun to ride. Before you ride, you need the proper equipment. First, you need safety equipment, such as a helmet, but you can wear other protective gear if you like.

Then, you have to make sure you have a wide-open, flat stretch of land. Don't ride on grass -- it won't work. Also, make sure you are wearing sneakers.

Take a look at the Ripstik and you will see that the front of the board is the side that is slightly curved in. The instructions say this side should be lined up with your left foot. Your right foot should be on the back, the part of the board that has "Ripstik" written on it.

Make sure your feet are in the middle of each section, or you might slip off. Next, tilt your right foot forward, simultaneously tilting your left foot back. You should start moving.

Don't be surprised if you fall, because it is almost impossible to do this perfectly on the first try. In fact, I fell off many times before I was able to ride the Ripstik smoothly. Eventually, you should be able to put your left foot on the board, push off with your right foot and put your right foot back on the board, all while accelerating. The Ripstik is a great way to get around and get exercise. It's a fantastic form of transportation.

Riding dirt bikes with the quad squad

Almost every other weekend, I go to my house upstate, in Callicoon. There are lots of fun things to do up there, but one of the main things I like to do is ride dirt bikes and quads (four-wheelers). The first time I was on a quad was when I was 4. My dad was shipping our things to our house in Ireland. That summer, I went to Ireland to visit family and I rode the quad. I used to go there almost every summer when I was younger. The second summer I went,

I crashed the quad. For two years after that, I went only on the back of my dad's. By the time I was in second grade, my parents bought the house upstate.

My dad had his own quad that was too big for my brothers and me. One day, my dad said let's go look at smaller quads for us. My dad bought two more dirt bikes. I have been riding them ever since.

-- MICHAEL MURNANE/Kidsday Reporter

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