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Thread: Cue Sheets

  1. #1
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    Cue Sheets

    How do you all carry your cue sheets? I'm used to either riding where I know the route, or on a well marked group ride.

    Bob

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    I have a Topeak handlebar bag that has a clear plastic envelope that I put the cue sheets into. However, the envelope isn't as wide as a Letter or A4 size sheet of paper, and I either:

    a. Cut the sides of the sheets of paper to fit the envelope or

    b. If the cuesheets are issued before hand, and because the type is usually SO small, I transcribe it (either by computer or by hand) on to smallish notepad-sized paper.

    If you don't have a handlebar bag, then there are various ideas out there on using (bulldog) paper clips around shifter cables or fitted to the handlebars, and ziploc bags, or specially shaped spokes that fit to the handlebars, too.

    If you use a bag, arrange the paper inside so the leading edge on your handlebars is the bottom of the bag... that is, the opening is on the trailing edge -- that way, you won't get wind trying to open it, or worse, more rain than necessary working its way through.

    My handlebar bag arrangement is far from perfect. I have to fold cue sheets in half to fit them lengthways, and I cannot simply turn the envelope over when I get to the fold because it is held to the bag by a Velcro strip. The plastic envelope also severely reflects light unless the light is form a certain angle.

    The problem is a bit more annoying if there are a huge number of instructions over a short distance, say to get from the start to outside a city's limits, or worse, getting to the finish when you are tired and wet and cold and hungry! The problem is less so on rides that go straight out and straight back.

    I will probably experiment with using just a plain ziploc bag and paper clips this coming season. The ability to simply flip the envelope is a much more attractive idea.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I also have a plastic envelope on my handlebar bag which I use for my cue sheets. Mine is big enough so that if I print the cue sheets on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper with a 1" margin, I can cut the margin off and it will fit. However, it is definitely NOT waterproof so before I slide my cue sheets into the handlebar bag envelope, I put them in a ziploc baggie.

    That works all right, but can be a pain when I reach the end of the page ... it's not incredibly convenient to change pages while riding.

    Someone I know reprints and laminates his cue sheets, and then uses clips or something to attach them to his handlebar bag or something on the front of his bicycle. I am tempted to go that route myself for the PBP. I'm even tempted to put them together with some sort of ring attachment so I can flip them as I go along. I'll have to give it some more thought.

    Also, some events only issue their cue sheets in metric (such as the PBP), and others only issue them in miles. If you are used to one or the other, you may have to convert them yourself, or change your computer and get used to riding with the alternate method of measurement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammond9705
    How do you all carry your cue sheets?
    I got the CueClip after learning about it here.

    It has worked great for me so far.

    Tal.

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    I carry mine in my Garmin Etrex GPS unit.

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    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    I fold up the cue sheet so that all the calls between the relevant controles are visible, then place in a sandwich-sized zip-lock. Zip-lock resides in my jersey pocket and I pull it out from time-to-time to check it. Cue sheet gets re-folded at each controle to set it up for the next one.

    Somewhat related questions: what information do you like to see on the cue sheet that's been provided to you? Is there such a thing as too much information used to describe route information? I'm working on two, 200K permanents and would love to hear others' thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to cue sheet information, format, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus
    Somewhat related questions: what information do you like to see on the cue sheet that's been provided to you? Is there such a thing as too much information used to describe route information? I'm working on two, 200K permanents and would love to hear others' thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to cue sheet information, format, etc.
    COLUMN 1: Total Distance

    COLUMN 2: Interval Distance

    COLUMN 3: Action (Turn Left, Straight On, etc -- either in abbreviated form such as T/L, S/O or arrow form or spelled out fully)

    (COLUMN 4 - OPTIONAL): Road feature (junction, type, roundabout, driveway)

    COLUMN 5: Notes (signpost, Caution, Checkpoint, Climb Start, Township, plus, if Column 4 not used, road feature).

    Put other advisory information on a separate sheet or on the back of the instructions.

    You can use reverse colour/black/grey to highlight important things such as checkpoints. Less important but relevant notes should be in cells by themselves.

    Typeface size is an issue, and more so when there are many, many instructions, because there is a perceived need to keep instructions to as few pages as possible. As I said in my earlier post, I will transcribe instructions if I need to on to twice as many sheets of paper so it makes them easier to read while I am riding, in the dark, while it is raining. Larger type is preferable in my opinion (and having regard to the average age of participants -- 49 for PBP in 2003)

    And check, check, check. I usually ride a route to do the intervals first and get it in to shape, then ride or maybe drive it to check the coherency of the route instructions, plus accessibility and condition of the route. In North America, there is a good system of pre-riding where those who do that get credit for it.

    Irrespective, it is VERY important to put yourself in the position of the rider, but not just any rider -- it has to be a rider from another state or country who has no idea of where they might be if they take just one wrong turn.

    While this requires a certain degree of additional detail, I have a list of rides where I was an interstate or overseas visitor, and the instructions were woefully inadequate because the organiser was too familiar with the route.

    Just one mistake or omission "because everyone knows that" can put a rider at unwarranted risk, or worse still, put them on the edge of making the next control before it closes.

    The latter hasn't happened to me -- yet. But it has been a close call on a couple of occasions, and I can tell you, the organiser would have one very annoyed randonneur to deal with if it did happen.

    Remember, too, you might have someone coming from a non-English-speaking country and you need to be clear on the keywords they will understand. You won't necessarily know on short rides who will turn up until the start and whether they can speak English, or even understand your version of English. This also means you need to have way more instructions printed off than you ever think you will need.

    If you are left-right challenged like I can be, double check every instruction *on site*. If you insist on using mapping software, be aware that you won't know the road conditions or construction going on and you still have to check the route. Mapping software also contains disclaimers for a reason.

    Oh, and don't hide vital little bits of information such as a TR under some other wordy, non-descript piece of information, like I had on a 400 last season that resulted in me missing the turn and adding another 15km to my distance.

    Be consistent in your descriptions of road features, signposting, etc. T-junctions are just that, not cross-roads (a slight failing in some instructions I have used).

    Don't use inkjet printers to print out instructions -- photocopy them, and if you have to mark something in another colour, go through with a marker pen.

    And include a map with the route marked in a coloured Sharpie pen as part of the instructions. It might not be needed at all, but if a participant does get lost, they at least have something to get them back on course (route instructions won't do that).

    If you can, also include a measured kilometre near the start that has been marked using the computer and bike that you use to recce the route and identify this in the pre-event material. Almost no organisers I know have done this, but it helps riders find out the error in their own computers compared with the instructions -- I've had 1200s where my computer has generally agreed, yet others where the computer has been 40 or 50km out.

    Let me know if you want me to post or send you a copy of the sorts of instructions I am talking about. including the ones with what are called tulips (directional arrows rather than words).

    Footnote: My first encounter with route instructions (route charts) was in rallying, and when you organise or participate in events associated iwith high-speed motor sport, people's live depend on attention to detail. Writing bike ride instructions for the general public also is an interesting challenge, and equally, their lives and enjoyment depend on the organiser's accuracy.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member tbdean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster
    I carry mine in my Garmin Etrex GPS unit.
    This gives you turn by turn directions? Can you describe your setup?

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    Some racer types use rubber bands to hold the ziplocked bag to their wrists. I use a handlebar-mounted map clip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus
    ISomewhat related questions: what information do you like to see on the cue sheet that's been provided to you?
    Put a key to any abbreviations at the start of your routesheet eg TL = turn left or traffic lights (as applicable). Abbreviations allow an increased text size which is useful, particularly at night and allow two columns of directions per side (taking up less handlebar room). One instruction = one line normally, although that can be a problem with very closely spaced instructions. Saying 1st or 2nd exit at roundabouts is more useful than 'straight on' or 'turn left'. Many riders like small diagrams of each junction, particularly if the geometry is unusual (eg: right turn but looks like straight on).

    A neat aid for lost randonneurs is the British practice of CAPITALISING the names of towns that you will be riding through next eg: L @ T SMALLVILLE (= turn left at T-junction, sign directs you to Smallville and you will be riding past the city limit sign) vs L @ TL Smallville (= turn left at traffic lights, sign directs you towards Smallville but you will not actually ride into Smallville). If necessary, a lost randonneur can get back on route by getting to the next capitalised town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbdean
    This gives you turn by turn directions? Can you describe your setup?
    Yeah sure does. I use the Garmin City Navigator map and draw out the route on the mapsource software that comes with it using the route feature. I then upload it to the GPS unit and there ya go. Easy as pie.

    Edit: Other cool things about it is that it gives "points of interest" so if I need to find the nearest LBS or store, I just punch it in and it guides me to it.

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    ld-cyclist prestonjb's Avatar
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    tbdean:

    I use a Garmin GPSMAP76CSx and yes it gives turn by turn directions. Knobster doesn't say if his etrex is the new "C" or "Cx" model but if it is then it works the same as my 76CSx.

    The CSx series is a fully auto-routing GPS just like the ones in cars. The C means "color screen" (which also seems to mean the unit will auto route). The S means sensors which are compass and altimeter. The 'x' means expandable memory. I put a 2Gig micro SD (transflash) card into the 76 and I can store the entire USA *or* western Europe in it.

    When I get the q-sheet for a ride I transfer it to the Garmin mapping sw (called City Navigator) and verify the route (it can be done on the gps itself but it takes longer)...

    Then I download the routes to the gps... Typically I save the ride into seperate routes from one control to the next. I mark each control with a way-point that I can easily see on the screen as I approach it.

    When the GPS is running it showes me a purple line over the road I am traveling and that is the course I am to follow. Pushing a button I get turn-by-turn directions that count down...

    The TURN BY TURN screen is different from a regular Qsheet in that it always shows you the distance to the next turn FROM WHERE YOU CURRENTLY are. This saves a lot of time because I just look and instantly know how far I am from the next turn.

    When approaching a turn the GPS will make a series of beeps... Typically around 0.1 miles from the turn... and show you a picture of the turn (you can see if it is a sharp left or a "Y" intersection or if it is a bunch of small streets so you will want to slow to get the right one...

    After a moment this screen goes back to your last chosen screen until you are around 200 feet from the turn and then it shows you the turn in detail again until you complete the turn.


    There is a learning curve with a GPS... I've been using this type since 2004 so it is very second nature to me...

    1) You must have current maps if the route is on new roads... If the maps are not avaiable then you must use "tracks" that you have to create and use the follow-the-bread-crumb method.
    2) You must know and watch the battery life. I use a car-kit adapter and a home made battery pack of AA batteries that gives me 4 days runtime.
    3) The GPS has lots of settings for car-truck-bicycle-pedeistiran---- amount of details, altimeter and compass settings and so on that can be overweloming...

    There is probably more but this could be a thread of itself.

    My "on-thread" comment is I at least carry a paper backup just incase the GPS quits on me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by hammond9705
    How do you all carry your cue sheets?
    Arkel MapCase "mounts to your handlebar in seconds. Attached simply with reinforced Velcro tabs, the clear window allows you to read maps up to 8 in. X 11in. It also contains two stow away pockets that you can access simply by flipping the mapcase over. It also converts into a handy fanny pack.

    Height/Width/Thickness (unit)
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    12 x 9 in.
    0.15 kg / 0.30 lbs.
    Black
    $ 21 US (each)"

    http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/map...asp?fl=1&site=
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    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    I second the CueClip. If it's going to rain I put the sheet in a Zipp Lock bag.
    Make mine a double!

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    Just another thought, The Octopus:

    If you have checkpoints up driveways, at road junctions, gas stations, or wherever, be specific as to which direction the rider must take OUT of them (eg, TL out of checkpoint, SO from checkpoint, TL and retrace route to X feature/junction). I've been caught out on rides where it has not been so obvious, and had to rely on going in circles waiting for someone who knew (that non-familiarity/familiarity thing again) or go back to the checkpoint and ask. If I am unsure, I am very leary of riding down a road unless the next instruction is 500 metres or less away to confirm my bearings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seamless
    Arkel MapCase "mounts to your handlebar in seconds. Attached simply with reinforced Velcro tabs, the clear window allows you to read maps up to 8 in. X 11in. It also contains two stow away pockets that you can access simply by flipping the mapcase over. It also converts into a handy fanny pack.

    Height/Width/Thickness (unit)
    30 x 25 cm
    12 x 9 in.
    0.15 kg / 0.30 lbs.
    Black
    $ 21 US (each)"

    http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/map...asp?fl=1&site=
    I used somthing simular to this but found it too long. While pedaling my knees would make contact with the case.

  17. #17
    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    I do the "poor man's CueClip": a folding paper clip that's zip-tied to my stem. Yes, it's prone to rusting, but the total cost of the unit is something around the order of 20¢ - cheap enough to replace, and it holds the cue sheet nice and tight.

    I've also used two smaller clips on a brifter cable housing, but find that it slips a bit much for my tastes.

    And the ziploc baggie works wonders for keeping the cue sheets dry (though I don't go the baggie route too often - only on torrential rain days, as I find that it can make the sheet more difficult to read).
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by songfta
    And the ziploc baggie works wonders for keeping the cue sheets dry (though I don't go the baggie route too often - only on torrential rain days, as I find that it can make the sheet more difficult to read).
    Those days account for about 75% of my brevets and randonnees!! My ziploc baggie is a permanent fixture!

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seamless
    Arkel MapCase "mounts to your handlebar in seconds. Attached simply with reinforced Velcro tabs, the clear window allows you to read maps up to 8 in. X 11in. It also contains two stow away pockets that you can access simply by flipping the mapcase over. It also converts into a handy fanny pack.

    Height/Width/Thickness (unit)
    30 x 25 cm
    12 x 9 in.
    0.15 kg / 0.30 lbs.
    Black
    $ 21 US (each)"

    http://www.arkel-od.com/panniers/map...asp?fl=1&site=

    Thanks for posting that info ... I used to have two sources for those things, but both have quit selling them.

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    I "laminate" my cue sheet with clear packing tape. Then you can put it anywhere without it getting mucked up. Using a ziploc bag just doesn't do it for me. Depending on where I stash the cue sheet, my sweat can get through the bag and blur the instructions.

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    Thanks for all the advice. I ended up using the binder clips zip tied to the handlebars with the cue sheet in a zip loc bag. The binder clips held well, but I need to work on it a bit. First problem was that I printed the cue sheet a little too small. I could read it fine standing still, but it was hard to read while riding. The other issue was that I think it would work better if I could figure out how to mount the cue sheet in front of the handlebars rather then over the stem. Again it would make it easier to read while riding. I'm going to experiment with zip ties on the der cables.

    Or maybe just get a gps.

    Bob

  22. #22
    jcm
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    +1 on the CueClips. I use two: one opposing the other with a ziploc in between.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkatzir
    I got the CueClip after learning about it here.

    It has worked great for me so far.

    Tal.
    This works with small cue-sheets, but if you open it too much it flops around. Also, I find it works best when attached to the stem. I used electrical tape to keep it from sliding down the stem, and that does a good job of keeping the cue sheet stable.

  24. #24
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    I'm actually frustated with the map holders and cue clip type devices - in order to get a resonable layout for # of pages (and corresponding flips) the type was typically so small that it was hard to read at night or in the rain... and the Cycoactive cases are not waterproof - as I found on a brevet.

    I've debated GPS, and even hacking my iPOD Notes program for cue reading - but think the paper cue and maps will continue to be the simplest way to go... (although the new Garmin CSx units are appealing...)


    I'm in the process of making a scolling system - simple, light weight, with internal red LED for backlighting the paper at night. I'll print the provided cues and scroll them together, or reformat in a spreadsheet program and print on 1 continuous tape. No more flipping, waterproof, and simple. I'm working up simple tube system, and an easy way to mount it just in front of the stem, with or without my h-bar bag attached.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I'm in the process of making a scolling system - simple, light weight, with internal red LED for backlighting the paper at night. I'll print the provided cues and scroll them together, or reformat in a spreadsheet program and print on 1 continuous tape. No more flipping, waterproof, and simple. I'm working up simple tube system, and an easy way to mount it just in front of the stem, with or without my h-bar bag attached.
    A rider on BMB had this set-up. It was homemade, and didn't have the schwanky look of a commercial product, and it looked big and cumbersome on his handlebars, but closer inspection showed it to be a lightweight box, and he thought it worked extremely well. It would certainly give you the option of using larger print for notes and to not have to worry about manually flipping pages, laminated or not.
    Last edited by Rowan; 01-02-07 at 10:38 PM.
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