Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Trans Iowa v14: Cue Sheet Holders

Old school cues (V3) and cue sheet holder- A sandwich baggie and a clip!
Continuing on with the series for Trans Iowa v14 Rookie advice, we will cover a question today about cue sheets. Also, I will discuss T.I.'s unique cues and at the end I have been authorized to announce a special offer to Trans Iowa riders. Again- If you have any great suggestions please leave them in the comments! Thanks for all the great suggestions left so far!

First let's get to this post's question!

"What is the best cue card holder you have found? Easy to use and easy to see cards"

Answer: In my humble opinion, that would be a Bar Yak Q:Pro. Why? Because this turnkey cue sheet holder encompasses everything all the good homemade ones have in a slick, good looking package. Plus the cues are held down in such a way that it takes a pretty severe wind to knock them off the clipboard. I've personally used a version of this cue sheet holder, (a modification of both the Q:Pro and Bar Yak's Expedition Complete system), on several occasions with zero troubles. In severe wind, I simply add a small bag clip, like you might find in a kitchen shop or grocery store, to tack down the loose end of my cue sheet baggie. If you were using laminated or card stock cues, you may not even have to do that. In Trans Iowa, your cues will be handed to you in a zip top sandwich bag, which I would recommend that you leave them in, or they may blow away, get damaged, or be destroyed if it is raining.

This is the cockpit of my Fargo Gen I as it was used for my DK My Way Century. The Bar Yak Q:Pro clipboard is front and center.
The Bar Yak Q:Pro
The Bar Yak Q: Pro was developed and is made by Joe Stiller, an ultra-distance cyclist, Trans Iowa Vet, and promoter of the Trans South Dakota race. Joe saw what many folks were using for cue sheet holders- all the home brew solutions good and bad- and he culled all the good ideas, added a few of his own, and has produced the Q:Pro cue sheet holder.

I have to say that it is a solution without peer. If you have to use cue sheets, this is a bomber way to get the job done without a lot of fuss, and it looks slick to boot. (Note- The clip comes covered in a carbon fiber sheet now to help cut down on glare.)

You certainly can come up with other solutions, but most will be less functional and poor copies of this one. I've seen old water bottles flattened out and affixed with a clip, I've seen cues dangling from key chain rings, and I've seen cues stuffed in bags of various types. Essentially, it comes down to how fast you want to get the route done. The Q:Pro will likely be one of the, if not the fastest ways to run through the cues without stopping. Weather will dictate some of this as well, since if it gets to be one of those gale force windy Trans Iowas, you may have to hang on to your sheets in one of your hands!

A Word About Trans Iowa Cue Sheets: I would be remiss if I also did not cover what the cues for Trans Iowa will be like here. It may affect your choices for cue sheet holders.

First of all, the cues are typically about 4" X 5", but they vary slightly sometimes. The last two years I've had them "professionally cut", so the sizes have been more uniform than in years past. The cues are made from a card stock, but it is maybe only what you would call "heavy paper". Suffice it to say that the cues sheet paper is delicate and that the ink will run at the slightest hint of moisture. Be aware and take care!

Genuine T.I.v13 cues in the baggie they were distributed in. This is what you can expect for v14.
Back when I chose this format for the cues, which was around T.I.v4, there weren't very many events and no one was sharing how they did things. I had the choice of using the typical "tulip" style cues, but I thought they were weird, so I went with what I thought was a more direct style. I found the template on an old randonneur site, so it wasn't something I made up. I borrowed it and made it my own, since basically all the other events subsequently went with the "tulip" style. Who knew back then how it would all go? I certainly did not, but now you know the "why" about the cues. As far as the "how they work" aspect, I rarely get any complaints about them. Apparently, as long as you can read them, they are just fine with 99% of the folks that have used them.

Note: I will do a long, detailed explanation post about navigation and the course later.

Now for the announcement! Bar Yak has once again agreed to be a sponsor of Trans Iowa! This is an awesome sponsor and Trans Iowa has benefited from  Bar Yak's kindness before. This time Bar Yak has promised us two Q:Pro set ups to be given away at Trans Iowa along with a special discount for Trans Iowa v14 riders. If your name is on the T.I.v14 roster, and if you want to get a Q: Pro cue sheet holder, you can avail yourself of a generous 10% discount and free shipping. Just make sure your name is on the roster which can be seen by clicking here.

Next: A discussion about tires. 

NOTE: Guitar Ted Productions was not bribed nor paid for the recommendation of the Bar Yak Q:Pro and Bar Yak is not receiving any special consideration for its sponsorship of Trans Iowa as a result of this post or the offer made solely on the decision of Bar Yak to extend the discount to Trans Iowa v14 riders. The discount and free shipping applies only to current roster spot holders on the Trans Iowa site. The discount may be revoked, changed, or the time it is offered may be set at the sole discretion of Bar Yak and its representatives.


Unknown said...

Another good option for cues is to use a map board designed for mountain bike orienteering. Search for "MTBO map board". For examples, see or Most variants include a plastic base with see through cover, and a pivoting base. These work especially well if you are out riding with a map, as you can rotate the map so that your direction of travel is always from you towards your front wheel. The rotation is less relevant if you're just reading printed cue sheets, but it does allow for dual usage.

jkruse said...

When I did TIV10, I used a cue sheet holder inspired by this design. Obviously not as refined as the BarYak, but this worked quite well for the race through wind and rain.