Pink Paper on Ontario Offroad Motorcycle Trail Rides Warren Thaxter, November 2007 The Ontario organized commercial, non-competitive trail ride concept has evolved since 1986. At the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders (OFTR) Presidents Council in November of 2007 a ‘Pink Paper’ of Acceptable Trail Ride Practices/Standards was agreed upon by trail ride organizers. The trail ride sport has evolved into a product and any good product has standards that provide consistency and value to retain customers and attract new ones. Unlike motorcycle competition events which have an escalating scale of ability classes, a trail ride simply dumps all levels of rider into the same pool, so to that end an event classification has been established to explain the complexity and difficulty of the event, the severity of the expected terrain, the machine requirements, the legality of equipment and the ability level of the participant to partake in each individual event. EVENT DIFFICULTY or TRAIL RIDE CLASSIFICATION The length of the course shall be considered as well as the severity of the terrain when classifying an event. Expert/Aggressive/Skilled : 150 or more kilometres of primarily single-trail shall be classified as; Ride Level number 4/5 with number five being the most difficult of our Ontario terrain. Recreation: Up to 50 or so kilometres of mixed single-track and two-track trail: Ride Level 2/3 Dual Sport : 200 or more kilometres of primarily Ontario back-road and some two-track trail; Ride Level 3/4/5 Family Ride (suitable for children) - Up to 20 kilometres of wide single-track or two-track trail, maybe with repeatable laps; Ride Level 2/3 Guided Beginner Rides: Possibly consisting of loops of five kilometres with stops for lessons on technique; Ride Level # 1. TRAIL DIFFICULTY Determining the severity of terrain is somewhat difficult though all agree that any terrain which might challenge “Blair Sharpless” shall be considered a, Number Five . Trail Difficulty Number One, would be for the absolute beginner to our sport on their first dirt bike or first trail ride and maybe even without adequate riding equipment. Trail Difficulty Numbers 2, 3 and 4, would obviously fit between the 1 and 5 examples. Trail Series Coordinator: The OFTR will be the trail ride co-ordinating agency and all trail ride information shall be posted on the OFTR website. The OFTR website should be the medium for notifying the public of upcoming events and notification of all trail ride info. Pay Pal Entry System shall become the preferred means for entering these events. Entries: A standardized entry form will soon be devised which would recognize all sponsors/supporters and explain the entrecotes of each individual event. Entry fees are the business of the individual organizers and may vary from event to event depending on the different levels or ‘product’, supplied such as lunch/no lunch, commemorative items, charity event or for profit event. Event difficulty: Trail Ride events will be labelled as to the difficulty of the event as well as the severity of the terrain used. (See above) Insurance: Third party insurance, PL/PD is mandatory (Ontario Law) at all trail rides. GPS Guidance: GPS guidance is inevitable in our future and will be introduced to trail rides soon. This system will probably catch on quickly as motorcyclists tend to embrace most techno things related to motorcycles. The benefits of a GPS guided event are numerous and include. $ No arrows or fewer arrows eliminates days of work. $ The public doesn’t know about the event is coming through and will not be able to remove arrows and possibly spoil the event. $ Changes can be made right up to the start of the event without going out on the course. $ GPS guidance is probably much more precise than the average motorcycle odometer and route sheet, though a route sheet in conjunction with a GPS may also used at times when precise instruction is needed. Course Marking: In the foreseeable future paper arrows are the standard form of guidance for determining a trail ride route. The acceptable practice of style, colour and installation for arrows shall be as follows. COLOUR Orange Arrows shall be the guidance for the whole route or the main route which will be the shortest, easiest, most navigable and most direct route. Everything else will be optional. Pink Arrows shall be used for optional routes off of the ‘Main Route’. When an optional route returns to a main route both pink and orange arrows will be displayed so that it is known that both routes have become one. Information as to difficulty and length of optional routes shall be posted at the beginning of each option. Black on White arrows shall be used for the most difficult level five options for expert level riders. When this level five route merges both colour arrows will again be displayed so that the rider will know the routes have become one. Orange markers with a black “W” will denote: “Wrong Way”. When a rider encounters one of these arrows they should carefully retrace their tracks to the proper route. “W” arrows are usually within 100 metres after the desired turn. EZ markers: A new type of arrow is being designed which will simply have the letters “E” and “Z” displayed on the face. This marker will denote an area when it is imperative to go ‘slow’ and ‘easy’. ARROWING METHOD: Each arrow used will always give an order. The direction that an arrow is pointing will denote the meaning of that arrow. Eg: An arrow pointing upwards to 12:00 o’clock means the route goes straight or continues on or, yes, this is the way. An arrow pointing to 9:00 o’clock denotes a “left turn”. An arrow pointing to 3:00 o’clock denotes a “right turn”. An arrow pointing to 6:00 o’clock is very important in that it requires a rider to slow and use caution and proceed carefully. More than one 6 o’clock arrow requires more caution. While on route arrows will occasionally be found pointing to 7:00 and 5:00 o’clock. These arrows indicate that an intersection is approaching with a (7 o’clock) left or a (5 o’clock) right turn. These arrows are aptly referred to as, Turn Indicators. After every turn or change of direction there shall be within 100 metres an arrow pointing to 12:00 o’clock. These are called ‘Confidence Arrows’ or, “yes, this is the correct way”. Occasionally a trail or route will slightly bear left or right but not enough to be considered an actual turn. Guidance for these situations shall be an arrow pointing to 11:00 o’clock (bear left) or 1:00 o’clock (bear right). Periodically trail rides will have two-way traffic on short sections of the route and on these occasions two arrows will be used together on the same tree or post in both the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. Prizes: The concept of awarding product prizes to participants of a trail ride will be continued but in the future many of the prizes may be awarded to those riders who pre- enter the event. Notification of the draws and prizes will be done via the OFTR Trail Ride website and email. Sweep the Course: At each trail ride there will be designated riders who will sweep the course or follow-after the riders to insure that no one broken down or in trouble. It is important that these riders follow as closely as possible to the last riders on route. These riders usually remove the arrows and effectively close the course. Therefore it is imperative that participants leave the start area promptly within 45 minutes after the riders meeting. Pie Plates / Signs / Maps Organizers will occasionally make use of pie plates or signs on the route, usually to explain optional routes. Some organizers will include maps of the route for the participants. Route Sheets. Route sheets are used exclusively for enduro competition and are occasionally used for trail rides. These route sheets often give turn by turn information and accumulative distance for the entire course. Organizers will advertise on the entry form if route sheet holders are necessary. SOUND LEVELS: Excessive noise has been the biggest enemy of our trail ride sport and quiet exhaust systems are mandatary for the trail rides. Trail Ride organizers usually conduct a sound check prior to the start of each event. The db noise level for 2008 shall be 94dba, out with a 2db allowance for atmospheric conditions. Riders with sound levels slightly over the maximum limits may be allowed to ride but their names will be recorded and such riders will be required to make improvements before the next organized ride. Riders with noise levels significently over the limit will have their entry refunded and will not be allowed to ride. Refuelling : The fuel range of the participants motorcycles will be a consideration when laying out a trail ride. Where gas stations are not handy to the course organizers will make refuelling arrangements such as a gas truck to meet riders on route. Green Plate acceptability: Each ride in the series will advise as to the required licencing of the motorcycles and if green/off-road license plates are acceptable. Legality of event: Securing the necessary land use permits and permissions will be the responsibility of the organizer. Legality of equipment: The legality of the motorcycles and related equipment are the responsibility of the participant/motorcycle owner. While the ride organizer will not scrutinize equipment neither will they turn a blind eye to “blatant misbehaviour”. Blatant misbehaviour might include; license plates missing or mis-mounted; too loud motorcycles; an absence of the basic equipment such as headlight, tail light, horn, mirror, DOT tires, etc. for trail rides using public roads. Those trail rides which can accommodate green plated motorcycles will also insist that plates be appropriately mounted and that all safety equipment such as fenders etc are properly mounted. Cancelling an event: Cancellation of an event shall be at the discretion of the promoter though if other than an inclement weather situation, cancellation will be done in time to properly notify potential and entered riders. Cancellation of an event because of weather should be a last minute choice and again should be at the discretion of the promoter. In the event of a cancellation consideration will be given to pre-entered riders such as the option of carrying the entry fee forward to another event by the same organizer or reimbursement of entry fee. Reserved parking for sponsors and OFTR: Sponsors and OFTR are an integral part of the trail ride series/sport and will have preferred parking at each event. Pre -Riders: At each trail ride there will be designated riders who will ride the course in advance of the first participants. These riders will have equipment and knowledge to repair or change a route if the need arrises. Sweep Riders/Roving Marshals: In addition to sweep riders the trail ride organizer will provide and identify Roving Marshals who will be scattered throughout the procession of riders to lend assistance as needed. Removing arrows: Organizers will remove the arrows and other marking after each event. Conflicting Dates: There is an increasing number of trail rides and a limited number of suitable days so on occasion there may be multiple trail rides on the same weekend, however these rides will usually be planned to each attract a different category of rider.
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