Arrowing routes is not required

It is up to the ride leader if she or he wishes to arrow the routes.

If you wish to arrow any or all of your routes, it is more beneficial for the shorter routes to be well arrowed than the longer routes.

Please follow these historic guidelines for any arrowing you do.

*** Please note that arrowing is not allowed in the town of Boxford effective 07/30/2009 and Topsfield and Newbury are known to complain and paint over arrows  ***

When to arrow?

Plan to arrow 2-3 weeks before the ride to avoid wet weather at the last minute. Check the route the day before the ride if possible.

What type of paint should I use?

  • Use line marking paint designed for inverted (upside down) use. (Ex. Rust-Oleum Solvent-Base Precision Line Marking Paint or Dy-Mark Spray & Mark - both last longer than water base) You will probably need 2 or 3 cans for a typical Sunday ride.
  • Use a color that stands out. Avoid dark colors. Be aware of utility markings on the route and do not conflict with these markings in color and/or shape.
  • Use black paint to correct mistakes.
  • Be aware of communities that do not allow arrowing on the road or will allow only spray chalk. If in doubt, check with the ride coordinator.

Arrow shape and size

  • Use distinctive arrows. Check the route. Do not use an arrow design that can be mistaken for existing arrows. 
  • Be consistent in shape and size. Arrows should be no larger than 8 x 12. Large arrows irritate local communities.
  • Use an S (split) and an L (long) where routes split off. Do not be tempted to put these arrows very close to each other; give them about 3 or 4 feet.

Arrow placement

  • Use at least 3 arrows for each turn:
    • 1st arrow - 100 feet before a turn.
    • 2nd arrow - 10 feet before a turn.
    • 3rd arrow - 15 feet after the turn to confirm the action (further out for left turn).
  • Arrows should be about 12 - 24 from the edge of the road depending on conditions. Allow for parked cars, especially near churches and other public areas. Avoid placement in front of private driveways so you do not irritate residents.
  • Be consistent - do not place some arrows on the right side of the road, and some in the middle of the road.
  • When you encounter other arrows, place your arrows in close proximity to existing arrows.
  • Add extra arrows where there is shade caused by foliage. Arrows may be difficult to see in this light.

ARROW TO ALLOW RIDERS TO ANTICIPATE THE ACTION. This is especially true on fast downhills and for left turns where riders need advance notice to change lanes.

  • Arrows are most visible on the face of an upgrade. Arrows on a downgrade are difficult to see.
  • Place arrows before major intersections when the route goes straight thru.
  • On long stretches with no turns or intersections, place an arrow every few miles.
  • Arrow for both FAST and SLOW riders:
    • The 20+mph group usually rides in a pace line. They want to see arrows well before a turn due to speed and to be able to verbally notify other riders in the group.
    • Riders at 10-12 mph usually ride in small social groups. They will not usually look for arrows until they are close to the turn as speed is not a safety factor.


  • Don't paint arrows on asphalt seam sealer (they will disappear).
  • NEVER paint over another set of arrows!!!!