It's not every day that you get an opportunity to help propel a fifty-foot-long boat through the waters of the Alameda-Oakland Estuary (2400 Mariner Square Dr., Alameda). But the Alameda Dragon Flyers -- a part-recreational, part-competitive band of paddlers -- gives you the chance each Saturday with free introductions to the two-thousand-year-old Chinese sport of dragon boating. The weekly sessions are open to athletes of all abilities, and the first three are free -- after that, participants are asked to join the California Dragon Boat Association for a $50-$120 annual fee. 8:45-10:15 a.m. 510-521-7555 or AlamedaDragonFlyers.comfree
Running needn't be a solitary sport, and for the East Bay Front Runners it's a veritable social occasion. Camaraderie and friendship take first billing at the group's weekly runs, with fitness a close second and competition a non-issue. The club formed in 1984 to serve the entire LGBT community and is also open to friends, family, and supporters. The group meets at a different East Bay marina or waterfront each week and then proceeds to a nearby eatery for a group brunch. Guests and non-members welcome. Visit EastBayFrontRunners.org for weekly locations.free
City leaders have argued that Oakland needs a massive surveillance system to combat violent crime, but internal documents reveal that city staffers are also focused on tracking political protesters.