To Trailquest successfully, you need to have
your map in front of you
all times. This allows you to sneak a peak whilst riding along and
saves you stopping at every junction to take a creased map out of your
There are many varieties of map board from the bought professional
model to the home
made lash up, and each one has it's own features most appropriate to
mountain bike orienteer.
available to Purchase:
A brief search of the web reveals that 3 different
boards can be purchased online in the UK, these are the Miry Map Holder, the Polaris
Maptrap and the Silva Map Board
The Miry rotational map holder
needs no introduction, it
is the weapon of choice for Steve Heading, Andy Conn, John Houlihan and
Gary Thompson to name but 4 of the top UK riders. It is the rolls royce
of map boards and is reviewed very well by this Australian article.
Tried, tested and proven pedigree,
This is a classic 'you get what you
pay for' item.
Rotating the map will not appeal to all, but it is handy in MTBO where
you need to concentrate fully on going directly between set
one at a time.
Polaris Maptrap is a sprung folded piece
which grips a map up to 8mm thick. It is compact and therefore cannot
show much of a single sheet map at any time without it flapping about
in the wind. It is easy to swap your folded map around, probably with
only one hand or at least whilst riding no hands.
We don't have any experience of the Silva model, but it
appears to work in a similar manner to the Miry. It can be purchased
from the well respected orienteering equipment company Compass Point
Online. There is also a map
board available called the Windchill
which gets a review here
but is only available in Australia.
At EBOR events in Yorkshire, Steve Willis can be seen
selling map boards from the shop Karbitz. They are a rotating plastic
of approx. 7 inches and simply clip onto the handlebars just next to
stem. The map is held in by an elastic cross.
Making your own map
A cursory look around at any Trailquest event will
reveal a plethora of ways to mount a map on a bike, from the obvious to
the ingenious. Most are variations on the flat board theme with
different sizes, fastenings and materials. There are instructions on
Singletrack web site well worth a read on how to Build your
own Map Board. This is a cracking article and one which I myself
followed in detail to produce my first map board.
is a compromise between the board not overwhelming
and having as much map on view as possible. The fewer times you have to
re-shuffle it during an event the better and consequently, the less
time you will
loose. Mine has ended up at an overall size of 240mm wide and 280mm
is so that it will hold a folded OS map equally as well as an A4 TQ
of stationery clip can be used to attach the
elastic bands are a slightly less secure option but don't compromise
the polythene map bag's integrity. Also, the bottom corners of the map
board do need chamfering off, a lot! Otherwise
when you stand up and pedal out of the saddle, your knees will hit the
gets a good mention as it is handy stuff, but
there are alternatives. Lexan looks
and does the same but is a lot stronger, shatter proof, easier to drill
more expensive. The map board doesn't have to be
transparent, Barney's is made from wood laminate which works just as
If you choose to use the famous 'House For Sale' notice
board type corrugated plastic, this has strength in only one direction.
The answer is to thoroughly glue together 2 pieces with the second
piece running at 90 degrees to the first, resulting in a very light
and strong panel.
bars are tricky, but it should just be a matter of spacing the
board up from where it is mounted. Always wrap tape round your
handlebars where the tool clips grip, and replace it if it
You don't want steel chaffing carbon bars as the results could well be
catastrophic. Aluminium is harder, but you still want to avoid any
chaffing and metal scratching.
Do consider what would happen in an accident. Cable ties act as a weak
link and will hopefully snap and give way to save you 'knee capping'
yourself during a crash. Assuming you survive this then what? Have
spare cable ties taped to the bottom of the board so that you can
fasten things back together and proceed as before.
Getting the most out of
your map board:
best time to have a good study of the map is when
it's safest. This is probably when you are going up a tarmac hill, ie.
smooth surface and slow speed. Keep an eye on the edge of the road so
you don't drift across to the right. Beware of folding the map to hide
controls on the edge
of the event area which you then forget about and fail to collect.
more clips than you need to fasten the
map to the
map board. Inevitably they will get pulled off by foliage or knocked
off on a gate, and once they drop into long grass, you can't find them
for love nor money.
Keep air out of the map bag, it stays flat and works
much better this
way. In the rain, it is of utmost importance to stop water destroying
map, without your map, you are sunk.
You can still use lights, certain ones will
down on the handlebars. You can revert to using a helmet light or the
more creative approach is to make a new bracket to act as a piece of
handlebar below the map board. The lights will be harder to operate,
but don't be put off. Lumicycle
Halogens are shown in the picture.
Other options & map board
If you really don't want a rigid board on the
you could persevere with the waterproof map bag around your neck like
fell walkers use. It will swing about and get in the way, but
these are available from most outdoor pursuit type shops. A variation
on this theme is the REI
Bar Map Holder which is a flexible wallet that attaches to the
handlebars, probably best suited to touring, rather then Trailquesting.
It is available in both small and medium sizes.
This article is by no
means claiming to be definitive. if you know of any more products,
ideas or tips that may be of relevance, please share them with us all.... PA