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Course Measurement and Certification Procedures

Equipment Needed

  1. Jones Course Measuring Device. The Jones Counter is attached to the front wheel of the bicycle and displays “counts” proportional to the number of wheel revolutions. The original Jones Counters were designed so 20 counts = one revolution. Later models had different gear ratios, including 30 counts/revolution and 23.63636… (=260/11) counts/revolution, which is also the ratio of the latest “JR” model Jones Counter. In all versions, a “count” represents approximately 7 to 10 centimeters (3 to 4 inches) on the ground. The “JR” model counter is available at Additional information about acceptable counters can be found on the USATF website at Additional Tools.
  2. Bicycle. A good "ten-speed" (or higher-speed) bike with high pressure tires is best, but any bicycle you are comfortable riding is OK. Refer to the section on "Use of the Calibrated Bicycle" for instructions on how to attach the Jones Counter to your bicycle.
  3. Steel Tape. A 30 meter/100 foot steel tape is best, but a 15 meter/50 foot tape is OK. The steel tape is used to lay out the calibration course and to make adjustments to the course.
  4. Spring Scale. A spring scale, capable of a 50 newton (5 kilograms-force or 11 pounds-force) pull, is needed for the steel tape to be under proper tension. The spring scale need not be a precision instrument; the inexpensive variety sold at sporting goods stores for use by fishermen is OK.
  5. Thermometer. Use a small thermometer to take temperature readings so that steel tape measurements can be corrected for temperature.
  6. Notebook and Pencils. A small notebook easy to use while cycling and several pencils or pens are needed to record data and to sketch the more complicated sections of the course.
  7. Pocket Calculator. A small pocket calculator is useful in determining the counts needed for specific splits and for metric/English conversions. Use a calculator that carries at least 8 significant digits. Note: the built-in metric conversions in some inexpensive calculators are not sufficiently accurate; if in doubt, use the exact conversions in Appendix E.
  8. Lumber Crayon or Chalk. Used for temporary pavement markings.
  9. Nails & Hammer. Used for making permanent course marks.
  10. Spray Paint. For temporary course markings and to supplement permanent course marks.
  11. Masking Tape. Masking tape is used for temporary marks while laying out the calibration course.
  12. Bike Tools. In the case of a flat front tire, you must recalibrate before resuming measurement.
  13. Safety Equipment. A safety vest and helmet should be worn. Adorn your bicycle with reflective strips and reflectors in the front and rear, as well as wheel reflectors.

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