Best Way to Fly: You may never want to land
Berkeley Hang Gliding Club
For climbers, getting down safely can be the tough part. Here, it's the only part. One of the last hang-gliding cooperatives left in the United States, this Berkeley club makes learning to fly a democratic endeavor. For a sport that can put you out more than $10,000 for equipment and lessons, the club offers an opportunity to learn for only $250 ($150 for students). Each fall, there's an introductory meeting and lottery for fifteen people to take lessons, which come in a series of three daylong classes. After these, participants are invited to join the co-op for $150 per semester ($100 for students), plus two required work days. Membership affords you the use of the club's equipment and participation in outings, which take place every weekend during the summer months. The instructors are certified through the national association, and they volunteer their teaching time, taking beginners to the Berkeley Marina and Ed Levin Park in Milpitas. Some of the outings include trips to the Owens River Valley, one of the premier gliding spots in the world. Sign up to receive more information at the co-op's Web site. You may just end up like the group's president, Scott Seebass, who went to a meeting as a Cal student fifteen years ago and has been flying ever since.