What makes a good cue sheet? Who knows? Everybody has their own ideas, so here are mine. Template cue sheets may be downloaded from CUE SHEETCOMP for those with cycle computers, and CUESHEETNOCOMP for those without cycle computers. If you don’t like them, don’t use them, or modify them, or if you really think you have a good idea, tell me and I will steal it.
Here is a list of things that have come to mind, or that I have seen in other cue sheets. I wish I knew the names of the original inventors, but I don’t, so here’s thanks to whomever you are.
- A lot of the time, a cue sheet is clipped at the top, which means that the top of the sheet should be uninteresting, or at least not used for directions. I put the ride leaders name and cell phone there, as something reasonably uninteresting. Some people clip the cue sheets from the side, which means more uninteresting stuff at the sides. I haven’t seen anyone clip from the bottom, but knowing the weirdoes that sometimes ride bicycles, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it done. I, myself, don’t worry too much about space at the bottom of the sheet.
- Bigger is better, as far as my aging eyes go, so I have tried to use the biggest type possible, and then bolded it to boot. You all know what big type means, don’t you? Sure you do, it means that the letters are bigger and that there are fewer of them on a line, which makes directions like “turn right at sleepy hollow churchlane road” difficult to fit in. I compromised on the COMPUTER sheet in order to allow more space, but stood firm for large type on the NO-COMPUTER sheet (I threw away the mileage column since it was good only for bragging).
- “Which way do I turn,” is a common cry from the pack, and so I thought it reasonable to place the turn direction in the first column. Some other column is scanned to locate the next turn, but I find that placing the direction in a later column moves it too far to the right for easy reading. Once I know which line of the sheet to read, I need a quick fix on the turn direction before my eye bounces off the line, and this seems easier to get if the turn direction is in the first column.
- Mileage is the key when one has a cycle computer. A glance at the computer and a quick scan of the cue sheet to locate the next turn does it. I put the mileage in the second column on these sheets and fixed the spreadsheet to print it to two decimal places, which is useful if the ride distances have been measured with a well calibrated cycle computer. See Computer for how I think this calibration should be done.
- Without a computer, road descriptions must be used to locate the next turn, these are placed in the third column of this sort of cue sheet.
- I put leg distances just before the road description column, since if it is too far to the right my eye has trouble sticking to the line when things get bouncy. There seem to be two preferences for the leg distances. Some cue sheets place the distance to the next turn on the same line as the current turn: saying for example, L for 3.1 miles. Others give the distance to the next turn on this line, so that an instruction will read R in 2.3 miles. It seems to me that the second form requires more looks, since I have to look once as I get to a turn in order to read the direction, and then I have to look again to find out how far it is to the next turn which is on the next line. With the first form, a single look tells me the turn direction and the distance to the next turn. I find that I use the leg distance to decide how long to wait before I look at the cue sheet again. If it is a very small number, I know that I have to keep sharp, but a large number tells me that I can relax and enjoy the ride for a while. By the way, the COMPUTER template automatically calculates leg distances for you.
- Alternating dark and light lines seem to help guide the eyes. I find three tones helpful. More than three seems confusing. Two tones help, but three is better I think.
- Legends for the symbols in the Dir column are shown at the foot of the ride sheet. I’d really appreciate help in expanding this list.
- The ride leader’s cell phone is listed which can help in keeping track of riders and avoiding problems.
- The back of the clue sheet may be used for club and safety rules.
|THE FIRST PAGE OF THE FOLDED COMPUTER CUE SHEET:
THE SECOND PAGE OF THE FOLDED COMPUTER CUE SHEET:
THE FIRST PAGE OF THE FOLDED NO-COMPUTER CUE SHEET: