CRW Arrow Policy has Changed

By: 
CRW Board

Back in the day, CRW had an answering machine set up in someone’s house. To learn about upcoming rides, you called the phone, on a seven digit number, and listened to the recording so you’d know what rides were coming up. We now have a website where rides can be posted and updated with a few clicks.

Rides always had cue sheets that were created by the ride leader by hand, after carefully laying out the route on a paper map and hoping there weren’t any errors. If you go back far enough, the cue sheets were in the telltale blue ink of a mimeograph machine. We now have “RidewithGPS” that spits them out, with multiple options for formatting.

That cue sheet once sat in a plastic map case on your handlebars. It’s been replaced by a cellphone with an app or an overpriced but highly addictive Garmin. The cellphone app is free to all CRW club members.

Oh, and Wheelpeople appeared in your mailbox once a month, arriving via snail mail. Eventually we moved to a PDF and now onto an email format.

CRW has always moved forward when technology is available to do the job better and more easily. It’s time to take the same approach with arrows.

Why?

  • Arrowing is a tremendous amount of work and takes a lot of volunteer hours.
  • Arrowing can only be done when the roads are dry. If it’s windy, you’ll end up with spray paint on your bike and cleats plus an undiscernible paint splotch instead of an arrow.
  • Arrows disappear when disgruntled community members black them out, the local DPW tears up or paves the road, or someone parks over them.
  • Many towns no longer allow us to arrow their roads or require special permission before we are allowed to do so.
  • Too many arrows for different rides using the same roads can be confusing to follow.
  • Spray paint is environmentally unfriendly.
  • There’s a better way.

CRW has embraced RidewithGPS and it’s a great way to create and follow a route. There’s a free app for your phone and we’ll teach you how to use it. You can always print a cue sheet and links are available on all ride listings. Many of our club rides have a ride leader that will take a group at a specified pace. It’s a great way to meet other riders and let someone else handle the navigation. Finally, those volunteer hours used for arrowing can be redirected to other initiatives in the club.

Effective in January 2020, CRW will no longer be arrowing rides, including centuries. Arrowing may still be done at the discretion of the ride leader.
 

 

Comments

This policy change makes me very sad. Though I place respectably on the annual mileage lists, I'm too slow a rider for CRW group rides. So I head out from wherever I am and when I find ride arrows, I follow them. It's really fun having no idea where they'll take you, but knowing it will be a fun ride because some Wheelperson thought this was a good way to go. I'm still working through the arrows on one intersection in Acton with about a dozen different arrows. So many choices! I'm sad that my summer fun will be harder to come by due to this new policy. Fortunately other area clubs haven't yet done away with arrows, so I can still follow those and the arrows for various charity rides. Some CRW leaders will probably also keep arrowing. Much thanks to those who do!

I like you I love to ride but I am also too slow for group rides. I’ve always enjoyed the arrows but I guess it’s time to learn how to use my phone. And to remember to bring an extra battery

I personally think this is a great idea for CRW, for all rides except centuries. NVP, Granite State Wheelmen, and other organizations still arrow for these special rides as there are many riders that are not members of the club. As for the other weekend rides, NVP has not arrowed weekend rides for several years now and was one of the first clubs to embrace RideWithGPS. This has aided us immensely in retaining ride leaders and attracting new ride leaders. I led a few rides for CRW and I will agree with you that arrowing was a giant pain, especially if you had multiple routes. Ride leaders would sometimes have to rely on friends to help finish up arrowing, especially if there was a spell of bad weather in the days leading up to ride date. I also applaud you with doing away with cue sheets. At NVP we have been phasing these out as well. We used to print out about a dozen sheets for each route, and end up passing out less than a handful. This was a waste of paper and expensive printer ink. We now tell people that cue sheets may not be available and to print off their own if they want one. It is the ride leader's discretion as to whether or not to bring a few just in case. It should be noted that the new Garmins and the Wahoo Roam now have a feature to get you back on the route track if you make a wrong turn. Of course not everyone has these newer GPS units but in a few years that will change as well. I would like to say if I wasn't the Activities Chair for NVP (Responsible for the rides and ride leaders) I would be willing to lead some rides for CRW. However, I will welcome any CRW members to come over to NVP to see how our system works. Regards . A.J. Gemperline
Mike Barry's picture

Thank you very much! I haven't led a Sunday ride in 20+ years because I just don't have an extra day+ to arrow the route. Plus the last time I arrowed a "special" ride I got hassled by the town police. This is respectful of our volunteer's time and with the apps, phones, and GPS units available today arrowing really isn't needed anyway. And if leaders feel strongly about arrowing rides, they are still free to do it. Now I can leader a Sunday ride again!