* HURT ALERT: Every so often it is fun to make the rounds of Washington area outdoors equipment stores to check out the new gear and, if the store has a display monitor set up, to watch clips from the new climbing and paddling videos.

Invariably there are carnage scenes -- someone falling off a boulder or getting bashed by rocks when upside down in a boat. It is much less fun when you're the person getting pounded, which is what happened to me Thursday when emptying my boat of water next to the Virginia chute on the Potomac River. One moment I was standing on a rock, kayak in hands, the next I was upended, feet cartoonishly in the air. The boat landed after I did. Moral of the story: Don't forget the basics (i.e., stand on dry rocks). You should learn this and much more at REI's "quick start" kayaking classes, which begin this morning and continue in July and August. The three-hour classes are run by an American Canoe Association-certified instructor, and equipment is provided. No paddling experience is needed. For more information and other class listings, visit www.rei.com and the Canoe, Kayak and Paddling Co. at www.ckapco.com.

* GEARHEADS: Hudson Trail Outfitters will host a bike swap on Saturday at its Rockville store. If you're going to sell a bike, show up by 9 a.m.; if you're buying, show up at 10 a.m. Bike company reps and other industry types will be on hand to answer questions throughout the day. Call 301-881-4955 or visit www.hudsontrail.com for details. . . .

The first of three events in the Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Race Series, which was rained out on June 6, was rescheduled for June 20 at Wakefield Park in Annandale. For schedules and registration information, visit .

* ON THE BASS TRACK: The Northern Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited next will meet on July 1 at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, 400 Center St. The featured speaker will be Capt. Tony Harding, who'll talk about fly-fishing for striped bass in salt and tidal waters. The talk starts at 7:30 p.m. A fly-tying demonstration begins at 6:45 p.m. Non-members are welcome. For details, visit www.nvatu.org.

-- John Mullen

mullenj@washpost.com