Should we mark the Route?
My name is Randall, welcome to the RouteArrows BLOG! Before we get into a weekly discussion on route marking with RouteArrows or any of the many "event organizer" topics I plan to cover, let me first ask this question: Why should a cycling, (or walking or running) event mark their routes in the first place? Why not rely on a good ol' map, or route marshals? And with todays technology, a smart phone or a GPS? Are the perceived benefits of route marking (by both cyclist and organizers) worth the price in terms of money, time, energy, risk and headaches? As the inventor/creator or RouteArrows, I would obviously say yes, it's worth it and we should mark routes! Talking to both organizers and participants, some would answer: "We always do, It's expected!" And a few might say "It's a backup system, in case someone looses their map, besides, maps are a pain!" And still others would say "It's an opportunity to check on the roads, remove or fix any hazards right beforehand." These are all very good and important reasons to be sure. But I would offer another, less obvious reason: Freedom. Cycling is freedom. Freedom to explore the neighborhood, the county, the state, or the world. Cycling provides the freedom to challenge yourself, to appreciate the gift of life and to share it with friends. An organized event is usually the venue for us to gather with our fellow cyclists and to initiate others into this world. What cyclist doesn't remember their first cycling event, their first hundred mile "century" Mine was the Western Wheelers first Sequoia Century over forty years ago. It was on a borrowed ill fitting Gitane, no gloves, no cycling shorts or shoes, no helmet. The route went out to the Coast over the Santa Cruz Mountains and back and I suffered and I loved it! There are literally thousands of events available to recreational cyclists today, from weekly club rides to annual centuries to local and national fundraisers to fondos and multi-day tours. Those events that do a great job at providing a wonderful experience are the ones that strive to cover all the bases: scenery, challenge, fun, organization, cause, food, support and a safe, well chosen route with a good map and clear, easy to follow route markings! With the worries of navigation removed, we are free to enjoy all the gifts that those wonderful events have to offer. That is why a well marked route is so important.