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For the Rest of Us
A guide for normal people


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OUTDOORS/SPORTS

HIKING, ETC.

Great Outdoors Recreation Page
http://www.gorp.com
This site doubles as the best meta-site (you'll find links to every imaginable outdoor recreation here, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing, hunting, birding and more) and as an excellent place to find practical, original material too. You'll find advice on places to go, itineraries, forums, maps, book reviews and more. The ads scattered throughout, however, are a mixed blessing at best.

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
http://patc.simplenet.com
If you're looking to plan local hikes, this ambitious if badly organized page will serve you well. It's loaded with material for beginners (detailed recommendations on local places to hike and backpack) and experts (reports on obscure trails, volunteer opportunities, back-country first aid, environmental activism).

Capital Hiking Club
http://www.teleport.com/~walking/chc.shtml
This modest page does little more than list the hikes and tours sponsored by this small nonprofit group. But people intimidated by hard-core outdoors types will find comfort and some useful options here.
-- Kevin McManus

BIKING

Bicycle Transit Authority
http://www.bikeinfo.com
This site is full of practical biking information, accessible to all levels of expertise, on everything from buying a new bicycle to tuning up an old one. The new rider trying to fix a flat or remove a back wheel can find detailed instructions in the Repair Shop; you can e-mail queries on more exotic problems to an in-house repair person. Looking to buy? Enter your cycling habits and price range and Bike Advisor kicks out a custom shopping list.

The Cyberider Cycling WWW Site
http://blueridge.infomkt.ibm.com/bikes
While horribly designed and plagued with broken links, this mega list of links, one of the richest concentrations of info for local cyclers, is worth perusing. Pedaler Steve Ciccarelli has gathered home pages for just about every area cycling club (some of which Steve maintains himself), biking newsgroups and write-ups of local rides.

Washington Area Bicyclist Association: D.C. Links
http://www.waba.org/ wabadocs/dcinfo.htm
A more concise version of the Cyberider Cycling site and a good place to start looking for local information.

Washington's Urban ATB Home page
http://www.his.com/~jmenzies/urbanatb
If you're new to the local biking scene, pop in here to download maps of the D.C. area's extensive biking trails.
-- Dan Pacheco

TENNIS

WTA Tour 1997
http://www.pcug.co.uk/~michaeld/wta.htm
For those who crave content, Michael Duffy's unofficial Women's Tennis Association site sets a standard. Against a background suggesting the lawns of Wimbledon, the page offers rankings, results, player info, tour schedules, winners, related Web sites and the tour's current stops. The official Corel WTA Tour site includes some biographical and historical background Duffy's site lacks, but the unofficial site offers year-to-date, cross-linked results for even the most obscure player.

ATP Tour Online
http://www.atptour.com
This official site of the men's tour, difficult to navigate and overloaded with graphics, was once most notable for its omissions and problems. But recent improvements have made it worthwhile. Unique offerings: complete tour rankings, year-to-date leaders in aces and other statistical categories and results from lower-level "challenger" tournaments.

Tennis Magazine Online
http://www.tennis.com
This site is geared largely to the weekend player, but fans of the pro game can find tour schedules, complete with TV times and thorough recaps of the past year's Grand Slam tournaments. The magazine's alliance with Marc Diamond, creator of the Universal Player Ratings, gives visitors access to Diamond's database of results from the current season, attractively packaged and conveniently accessible by player. Based on head-to-head results rather than tournament finishes, they offer a surprising view of the pecking order.

Meta-Site: Tennis Information
http://www.mindspring.com/~csmith/
The best list of tennis links on the Web is provided by Chris Smith, who maintains an excellent tennis FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file. From Smith's page you can visit megasites (Tennis Country, Tennis Worldwide) official tournament sites and tribute sites to players from Andre Agassi to Florencia Labat.
-- Bill Walsh

GOLF

PGA Tour Online
http://www.pgatour.com
The Professional Golfers Association, unfiltered and unembellished: schedules, scores, players and other facts about the tour.

iGolf
http://www.igolf.com
This fabulous site offers details, comment and other stuff PGA alone doesn't: the latest news from the PGA, LPGA and SPGA tours; archives of previous tours; a feature called "igolf Scorch" ranking, in which iGolf editors offer their take on hottest players; a "fantasy golf" game with weekly and seasonal winners; an online pro shop; and some big names from the professional golf world, including the popular Gary McCord.

GolfWeb
http://www.golfweb.com
A sprawling, comprehensive site that serves both amateur players and those who follow the pros. For the latter, this site carries the latest stories and statistics from 24 tours worldwide, with story contributions from some of the most well-known sports writers. It is also has links to other golf sites in four regions around the world, in English and Japanese. For players, there are details on over 21,000 golf courses, a number of active discussion groups and golf instructions, hosted by golf announcer Peter Kostis. The Fantasy Golf Game allows one to compete against the rest of the online community for points that can be traded for golf equipment or vacations.
-- Nick Doan

WILD FLOWERS

Local Flora
http://adams.patriot.net/~eweidaw/wildflower.htm
Elissa Weidaw created this site, a quick-and-easy lowdown on two-dozen local wildflowers, for an Internet class at George Mason University. Professor Brad Cox was tough: All the students' first efforts at pages flunked because they weren't sufficiently "useful." Weidaw's second attempt for the class -- featuring photos of Bloodroot, Skunk Cabbage, Trillium and others -- nabbed her an A. Although limited in scope, the site is indeed useful.

National Wildflower Research Center
http://www.wildflower.org
Perpetual beautifier Lady Bird Johnson's National Wildflower Research Center home page may drawl a tad about the marvels of Texas bluebonnets, but those who've seen their violet-blue splendor will understand. Visitors can learn how to join the nonprofit, get updates on Texas blooms, tour bluebonnet sites and link to native plant organizations in almost every state.

Digital Library Project
http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/flowers
Just type in the common name of a flower into this UC/Berkeley site and within seconds up pop several enlargeable photos of the flower, with its scientific name and locations where it grows. Although the 2,000 species do not include all our East Coast flora, it appears to be the Web's best and most comprehensive wildflower database and photo index.

Meta-Site: Wildflowers
http://www.afternet.com/~tnr/wildflower/links.html
This site's links connect users to wildflowers on home pages created by universities, hobbyists, state and government agencies.
-- Barbara J. Saffir

GARDENING

The Farmers Almanac
http://almanac.com
This old ink-and-paper standby has actually been improved in its online version. The Gardening section offers the full text of the printed Gardener's Companion, a Q&A forum where you can ask advice of gardeners and farmers everywhere and one of the most unusual advice columns you're likely to find. All this plus the time honored sun-, moon- and planet-rise times, moon-phase charts, seasonal suggestions and the like. You can even personalize the page so it will greet you with your first name and link you to the Maryland/Virginia long-range weather forecast when you visit.

Virginia Cooperative Extension
http://www.ext.vt.edu:4040/eis/owa/docdb.getcat?cat=ir-ln
State university cooperative extension services have always been great resources; locally, this one's tops. The Monthly Gardening Tips, for example, are surprisingly extensive, useful and often unexpected. There are sections on Children's Gardening, Herbs, Indoor Gardening, Insects & Pesticides, Landscape Designs and Trees, all tailored to the region's climates.

Virtual Garden
http://vg.com
This Time-Life product is one of many multifaceted gardening resource sites. It's well designed, with access to lots of descriptive and how-to articles. It's notable for a database of plants searchable either by name or by environmental criteria: You can look up Zone 7 plants for deep shade that grow 6-12 inches tall and flower in moist soil. VG also offers gardening links searchable by keyword, to-do lists by zone, bulletin boards and live chat, virtual reality garden tours and lots of other neat stuff.

Meta-Sites: Gardens
We offer three favorite pages of Web links on gardening: Internet Resources for Gardeners, GardenNet's Guide to Internet Resources and The Gardening Launching Pad .
-- Alan S. Kay

BIRD WATCHING

Backyard Birding Page
http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/~tross/by/backyard.html
A service of the Baltimore Birding Club and maintained by Terry Ross, who works at the Baltimore public library, this site is a comprehensive guide to attracting and identifying birds in your yard. It offers lengthy descriptions of types of feeders and seeds, matches birds with food, tells you what type of landscaping to provide, contains recipes for bird treats, discusses nest box construction and even lists the 910 species of birds recorded in North America.

Peterson Online
http://www.petersononline.com
The late Roger Tory Peterson's field guides remain the book of choice for both beginning and advanced birders. This online guide, operated by publisher Houghton Mifflin, is full of plugs for the ink-and-paper guides. But it's also very informative, with an extensive calendar of birding events, a weekly identification challenge and lists of bird sightings from around the country provided by the National Birding Hotline Cooperative.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
http://www.ornith.cornell.edu
This academic center, dedicated to the study, appreciation and conservation of birds, offers serious birders the opportunity to participate in "citizen science" projects related to birds, along with plenty of other information.

Meta-Site: Birdlinks
http://www-stat.wharton.upenn.edu/~siler/birdlinks.html
This list of nearly 400 birding sites from around the globe is arranged both geographically and by subject. Many of the cryptic entries contain brief descriptions, a real time saver.
-- Carol Sottili

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