[at-l] Measuring Wheels

Richard Mann yugrekih at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 15 06:32:11 CST 2007

"Jim Lynch" jplynch at crosslink.net asked:

Has anyone used a measuring wheel to measure distances on trails?  Any 
recommendations?  thnx!

Pittsia responds:

I have wheeled almost all of GA recently.  I will finish that up next month hopefully.  I have also wheeled PA from PenMar to Duncannon.  I have a few recommendations (some learned from Jim Owens, some learned from experience, some both):

1)  Use a wheel that has a large diameter, this makes things much easier in rough terrain.

2)  Do not use a wheel with anything electronic, the weather will kill it.

3)  Record measurements often, so you don't have to go back too far when you need to redo the last measurement.

4)  Record measurements at landmarks (signs, trees, roots, rocks, or a line scratched into the earth with the toe of your boot), so you know where to start when you need to redo the last measurement.

5)  Record the landmark where you end a session, so that you know exactly where to begin the next time.

6)  When recording your measurements, ignore the smaller units (just record the feet, not the inches - or just record the meter, not the fraction of meter).  Follow me here:  Over a series of measurements, statistically the smaller unit measurements will average (to 6 inches or .5 meter), so when you eventually record your measurements into your spreadsheet, add the 6 inches (or .5 meter) to each measurement.  If you don't understand what I am saying here, then record the smaller units and forget this.

7)  Carry extra writing utensils, so when you realize you dropped your pencil after the last measurement, you won't have to backtrack and find it.

8)  Use 50% rag paper notebooks so that rain or perspiration do not disintegrate the paper.

9)  Make rules and follow them.  Example:  Measure to the south side of all road crossing, that way if you ever have to return to remeasure, you will know where to start.  Or reset the odometer when the wheel is at a resting position (on it's kicksatnd), and record measurements only when the wheel is at the same resting position, that way you are assured that the act of lifting the wheel or reclining the wheel do not become part of the measurement.

10)  Set a routine (recline the wheel onto the kickstand, record the measurement into the book, double check the measurement, then, and only then, reset the odometer) and stay focused.  Having to go back and redo a measurement is a pain.

11) If distracted (another hiker, animal sighting, face plant, pizza), take a measurement immediately (follow your routine) and then tend to the distraction.

Pittsia Wheel-ovia

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