The Long Distance Cycling Ethos
Not a race, not a tour, not a sportive, not a fun ride per se — but nevertheless a ride for fun!, for companionship, for a real sense of achievement and of course — it’s challenging!
Brevet Randonneur Mondiaux (BRM)
Standard distances for a ‘Brevet Randonneur Mondiaux’ (BRM) are 200; 300; 400; 600; and 1000 kms (yet to be ridden in SA) which have to be ridden at an average speed between 15/30 kph from start to finish and between Controls; which are set up to help participants stay on course and maintain the average speed. Controls are usually between 40 and 80kms apart and are usually situated where a break can be taken and refreshment obtained. A medal is awarded at the successful completion of an event (Randonnee) which also records the distance.
The significant feature of these events, in other words the ETHOS, is the self supporting nature of the ride. Support can be given at Controls but not in between, other than from among the participants or received fortuitously e.g. passersby such as other cyclists do-gooders or even a well placed cycle shop or garage!
Any form of Human Powered Vehicle is permissible, although handlebar extensions are disallowed and, in SA, helmets are a legal requirement. No Helmet, No Ride!
For security reasons in SA participants may be ‘shadowed’ which means keeping the riders in view at a distance and the only support allowed is in case of accident, emergency or withdrawal, cycling repairs are not considered under the foregoing situations as the requirement is adherence to the ethos of self support. Shadowing is a concession to the situation in SA and must not be abused: it does not countenance following closely behind the riders nor does it allow illuminating the road ahead during the hours of darkness.
Aurasan is affiliated to the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) who created Randonneurs Mondiaux in 1983 to facilitate participation in the Audax concept and ethos and also participation in the four yearly Paris-Brest-Paris ultra long distance Randonnee; the next riding of which is in 2015. ACP/RM have rules and protocols to which we subscribe and adhere; which in turn allow us to qualify and participate in P-B-P.
At the end of 2013 there were 41 countries in the ACP/BRM family including, among others: USA, UK, Russia, China, Japan and of course France. Points are awarded on the basis of number of events and number of participants. Japan headed the international list with 19823 points followed by the USA and Brazil, France, the home country, finished in 6th place with 6744 points; South Africa with 464 points featured in 30th place.
In terms of Club organisation of events as opposed to Country. South Africa, Aurasan ranked 91st out of 373 clubs. Cresta Wheelers featured in 354th position.
Randonnee Populaire (RP)
These are events shorter than 200kms but are nevertheless run along the same lines and receive similar awards to their ‘big brothers.’
The How-To of Randonneuring
RUSA = Randonneurs USA
Magazine articles from Ride
All of these articles were written by Edward Thomlinson and published in the Ride Magazine, ride.co.za. The files are in PDF format – if you cannot open them, simply download the original and free reader at get.adobe.com/reader.
- Bitten by the Bug – How Audax came to South Africa – March 2011
- The Audax Randonneur Path to Paris-Brest-Paris – April/May 2006
- Audax – by Edward Thomlinson – June 2006
- Getting your head & body around riding a 300km Audax – July 2006
- Who rides Audax events – September 2006
- Riding a 600km Audax? – November 2006
- Audax Randonneurs – Nature or Nurture – April/May 2011