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Bicycling Anecdotes and Tips

Dan Henrys

Dan Henry Road Signs
Photo: Tulsa Bicycling Club : Dan Henry Marking System

Painted on the road along bike courses, Dan Henrys are symbols that allow riders to follow established courses easily without a guide or a map. Maps are inconvenient and dangerous to use, and even when a guide is along, that person does not wish to ride in the front or bark orders the whole way.

Bicycle clubs usually mark all of their frequent, good routes with Dan Henrys. The signs are rather discreet if you aren’t following them; look around and you might find that great ride passes nearby! Jump on the trail!

Dan Henry markings are usually very clear. At least 10 inches in diameter and invariably neatly printed, they usually appear 100 to 150 feet before a turn, 20 feet before a turn, at the turn, and often even after the turn as confirmation. In case one stretch of road is part of more than one route, uniquely-modified Dan Henry signs are used for each path. One intersection may have 4 or 5 Dan Henrys, even if they all happen to be pointing the same way! For example, a “Breakfast Ride” in my area follows “B”s instead of circles since other rides in the area use circles. Before you set out, know the shape and color of your Dan Henry!

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2 Responses to “Dan Henrys”

  1. Do bicycle clubs need to get permission from county or township authorities before adding Dan Henry markings to the pavement?

    Are there stencils available to make these neatly, or are they typically done freehand with spray paint?

  2. Check local laws about graffiti and littering. You can often use chalk-based marking paints to get around these laws.
    Stencils are not practical, they saturate and tear. Do them freehand. Just practice on twenty or thirty marks before going out and laying them down. Circles are difficult to do freehand. It’s hard to learn to do the legs, too. You want to start at the edge of the circle and go out. If you start at the end of the leg and come towards the circle, you end up with confusing icons.
    Dan Henrys are a useful system but there are many others.


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