
Offbeat
Rally Ideas
Written June 2012
My friend
Terry Rockhold and I were members of the Scioto Sports Car Club
during the 1970s, and we competed in the club’s rallies.
Terry was the driver and I was the navigator. We traveled down
Ohio's county roads while following a printed list of Route
Instructions. Because these were TSD (TimeSpeedDistance)
rallies, we had to stay precisely on schedule.
But
there’s more to a rally than that: There are usually a few
lettered Special Instructions, such as “Pause 2 minutes each
time you cross a divided highway,” that must be executed
throughout the event at each of the infrequent occasions when they apply.
I wondered
whether a rally could be designed using only Special
Instructions. As a joke, I typed up the page you see in the
blue box below.
Some
things you might wonder about: As a general rule in rallies,
gravel roads are considered nonexistent. SRIP means Sign
Reading In Part. The numbers in the left column are official
mileages starting from the “TEXACO” sign. Howie
Gorman played 13 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1937.
And Rathbone was a crossroads near the Scioto River 22 miles upstream
from Columbus, Ohio.
I placed
my starting point on Morse Road in Columbus, but don’t try to
follow the instructions from there or you’ll probably end up
far, far away.
THE
“AUTO” RALLY


SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
(note:
these do not
apply to the odometer check leg) 

A. 
At
each T at which there is a SRIP “HILLS”, turn left. 

B. 
At
all other T’s, turn right. 

C. 
At
each Y in Franklin County, Licking County, or Pickaway County, bear left. 

D. 
At
each Y in Delaware County or Fairfield County, bear right. 

E. 
After
each SRIP “COUNTRY CLUB”, turn right. 

F. 
At
each “STOP”, alternately increase average speed 10 per
cent and decrease average speed 10 per cent. 

G. 
At
each covered bridge, increase average speed 5 mph. 

H. 
At
each railroad crossing, pause 0.50 minute. 

I. 
All
gravel roads with twodigit route numbers exist. 


ROUTE INSTRUCTIONS 


Take
35 minutes to reach instruction #11. 

1. 
Leaving
starting line, turn right onto Morse Road. 
0.00 
2. 
Begin
odometer check leg at “TEXACO.” 
0.88 
3. 
Right
at traffic signal. 
2.15 
4. 
Left
onto Ridenour Road. 
3.99 
5. 
Bear
right after “WINDING ROAD”. 
4.62 
6. 
Left
onto 109. 
6.87 
7. 
Left. 
9.74 
8. 
Right
at T. 
11.12 
9. 
Second
left. 
11.80 
10. 
Left
at SRIP “HUDSON”. 
12.10 
11. 
End
odometer check leg at “NARROW BRIDGE”. Begin
applying special instructions listed above. Begin average speed
of 32.0 mph. Begin onemile free zone. 
97.68 
12. 
Turn
right into Howie Gorman’s Rathbone Ranch and await results. 

America
was in crisis during the winter of 197374. Gasoline was in
short supply, resulting in long lines at gas stations. Later,
when I moved from Ohio to Pennsylvania, I found that rationing had
been imposed: because I had an oddnumbered license plate, I
could visit a gas station only on oddnumbered days.
I was
still a member of the SSCC, but I wondered whether the club could
continue to waste gas on recreational pursuits. Could we enjoy
the competition of rallying if we were unable to drive our cars?
Maybe we could rally on bicycles. Not being a bicyclist
myself, I didn’t care for that idea, so I went even further and
speculated about rallying on foot.
As early
as December 1, 1973, I found a length of level sidewalk in Marion,
Ohio. I measured it at 62 feet 1½ inches and proceeded to
conduct a scientific experiment. Walking at different speeds, I
timed myself and counted my strides. A “slow,
deliberate walk” took 17½ strides, lasting 33
seconds. A “determined walk”
lengthened my stride; it took only 11½ strides, lasting 12 seconds.
I
developed algebraic formulas and extrapolated my results to obtain a
table of typical walking speeds. Because our nation was
supposedly converting to the metric system, the speeds below are in
meters per minute.

Gait 
Meters
per
minute 
Centimeters
per
stride 
Strides
per
minute 

Wedding
processional 
13 
53 
24 

Slow,
deliberate walk 
32 
108 
30 

Approx.
slow rally walk 
60 
140 
43 

Saunter 
64 
142 
45 

Approx.
fast rally walk 
80 
160 
50 

Determined
walk 
97 
169 
57 

Fast
walk, hustling 
137 
185 
74 

Jog 
193 
225 
86 

Fourminute
mile 
402 
290 
139 

Champion
sprinter 
596 
322 
185 
What might
a pedestrian rally look like? I imagined my competitors
marching two by two through a level, scenic neighborhood. 

I selected
German Village, a historic district south of downtown Columbus, with
cobblestone streets and redbrick sidewalks and restaurants . . . 

including,
on Third Street, the newly established hamburger place Max &
Erma’s (which is now a chain). 

Although I
didn’t attempt actually laying out a course, I did make
preparations for doing so. I carefully traced a map of all the
streets in a square mile of the Village, from the corner of
Livingston Avenue and Ninth Street on the northwest to the corner of
Greenlawn Avenue and Front Street on the southeast.
And I drew
up a speculative set of General Instructions, parts of which are below.
INTRODUCTION.
Today, as pedestrians, you will participate in a simple TSD rally on
the sidewalks and crosswalks of German Village. It should be
completed in less than three hours, including a rest break in
Schiller Park approximately halfway through the event.
Das
Bürgersteigsammeln begins and ends at Deibel’s
Restaurant and Beer Garden, 200 Livingston Avenue, Columbus,
Ohio. Rallyists will enter as twoperson teams. The first
team will leave the starting line outside Deibel’s at 1:02
pm. The second will follow at 1:04 pm; the third, at 1:06 pm;
and so on.
Because
this rally uses a new and untried concept, it will be kept very
basic. There will be only two average speeds, there will be no
traps designed to lead you off course, and liberal use will be made
of official distances. If today’s Sidewalk Rally goes
well, future pedestrian rallies may be more ambitious.
EQUIPMENT.
Rally teams may not carry objects larger than two meters in any
dimension, such as tape measures. They may not use wheeled
devices, such as bicycles, roller skates, surveyor’s wheels, or
little red wagons. Nor may rally teams use radio transmitters
or receivers while on the course.
Practically
anything else is permitted, including pedometers, handoperated
counting devices, slide rules, mechanical calculators, electronic
calculators, rally tables, and umbrellas. We suggest that you
bring a wristwatch with a sweep second hand, a couple of pencils, and
a writing surface such as a clipboard.
PAVED
SURFACES. Paved surfaces are areas which are located outdoors,
surfaced with asphalt, concrete, macadam, cobblestones, or brick, and
maintained for use by the general public.
Paved
surfaces fall into three classifications. Sidewalks are
intended for the use of pedestrians; streets are intended for
the use of motor vehicles; and crosswalks are intended for
both. A crosswalk is the linear extension of a sidewalk across
a street. During this rally, you are to walk only on sidewalks
and crosswalks.
DEFINITIONS.
Crossturn:
First continue straight across a street by use of a crosswalk;
then, as soon as you have crossed the street, turn. The
direction of the turn will be specified; for example, “crossturn
left.”
After:
If directed to take an action “after” a sign or
landmark, you are first to walk past the sign or landmark for a
distance of at least ten meters. Then you are to take the
action at the next opportunity to do so. If you see a sign or
landmark, but the rally course will not take you within ten meters of
it, then that sign or landmark is not the one referred to in the
instruction. No careful measurements will be required to apply
these rules; either the distance will be obviously less than ten
meters, or it will be obviously more than ten meters.
Kopf
(or “head” in German): The head of whichever
rallyist is farther advanced along the rally course. At
checkpoints, the caller will call out “mark” when the Kopf
passes him, and the timer will read his clock.
AVERAGE
SPEEDS. Two average speeds will be used during this
rally. One is 60 meters per minute (MPM), which could be
described as a stroll or saunter; the other is 80 MPM, which is a
moderately brisk walk, but not fast.
Ordinary
TSD rally techniques can be used to calculate the correct time of
arrival of the rally team at each point where the official distance
is given. For calculations at intermediate points, you may find
it convenient to use another unit of length called the stride.
A stride is defined as the distance between two successive plantings
of a rallyist’s left foot as he walks. Clearly, the length
of the stride varies with speed, stature, physical condition,
emotional condition, and other factors. But counting strides is
about the only practical way to measure distance while walking the course.
A
practice area will be provided near the starting line. This is
a 40meter section of sidewalk. If you walk it in onehalf
minute, you’re traveling at a speed of 80 MPM; if you walk it in
40 seconds, you’re traveling at 60 MPM. Thus you can get a
“feel” for that speed. Additionally, you can count
your strides. You’ll find that 80 MPM translates to
roughly 50 strides per minute, while 60 MPM translates to roughly 43
strides per minute.
We
suggest that one member of each rally team be assigned no other
responsibility than keeping his strides of a consistent length and
counting them. He can make tally marks on his clipboard, or he
can use a mechanical counting device or some other method. The
other member of team uses these stridecounts to make timing
calculations, while also reading the instructions and keeping the
team on course.
SCORING.
Each leg will be scored by comparing the time it took you to walk
from one checkpoint to the next with the time it should have
taken you, based on the rallymaster’s accurate measurement of
the course using a surveyor’s wheel. 

I wrote
down other suggestions of how the course should be laid out.
Each half of the rally should be between 3,500 and 5,500 meters with
a rest break of at least 20 minutes in the middle; the total distance
should be between 8 and 10 kilometers. Whenever the rally
course crossed a heavilytraveled street, the crossing should be made
at a traffic light, and a pause of at least one minute should be
included. No checkpoint should be set up within 100 meters
after crossing a street. Checkpoints should not be located in
front of private homes, nor where they might impede the movements of
“civilians” in any way.
I imagined
that if my rally partner and I walked this event, we might calculate
our speeds this way.
It’s
decided that Tom’s stride will be used as the standard.
Using a pocket electronic calculator, Terry converts Tom’s 51
strides per minute to a figure of 0.01961 minutes per stride.
Leaving
each checkpoint (including the starting line), Tom starts counting
his strides. His particular method of counting involves humming
to himself an extended musical scale, doremifasolatidoremi,
humming one note each time his left foot falls. He’s
practiced this so he can do it almost automatically. Each time
he reaches the top of the scale, Tom makes a tally mark on a sheet on
his clipboard and then starts humming the scale all over again.
Since there are ten notes in Tom’s extended scale, each tally
mark represents ten strides.
Terry,
meanwhile, reads the instructions and determines where to turn.
He also tries to check Tom’s speed. Any time Tom makes a
tally mark, Terry can perform a check by first reading his wristwatch
as Tom makes the mark. Say the watch reads 2:03:17, and Tom had
just made his 17th mark since the last checkpoint. Terry knows
they left that checkpoint at exactly 2:00:00, so it’s taken 3
minutes and 17 seconds to come this far; that’s 3.28 minutes,
expressed as a decimal. How long should it have taken to
travel this far? Well, using the calculator, Tom’s 170
strides times 0.01961 minutes per stride gives an answer of 3.33
minutes. It did take 3.28 minutes, it should have taken 3.33,
so Tom needs to slow down by .05 minute. 
Months
later, during the noon hour of October 27, 1974, I conducted further
experiments on the sidewalk outside my Pennsylvania apartment.
I walked uphill and downhill about an eighth of a mile between a sign
and a fire alarm box, tallying my strides, trying to maintain a
consistent pace of 50 strides per minute. Since my stride
length at this speed was about 1.6 meters, I thought about getting
rid of the metric conversions by defining 1.6 meters as the official
unit of distance and calling it one “glub.” No kidding.
But that
was as far as it went. Our nation’s conversion to the
metric system failed for lack of interest ... gasoline became readily
available again ... and the idea of the Sidewalk Rally never got
beyond the concept stage. You might say it sank in the
Scioto. Glub, glub.
At right:
Umbrella Girl Fountain in German Village’s Schiller Park


