What are AUK events like?
are NOT races. People ride them more in the spirit of an event like the
London Marathon, everyone riding to their own limitations with the
primary objective to just 'get round'. These events suit everyone,
clubmen, time-trialists, recreational riders, cycletourists, 'born
again' cyclists, young and old, male and female. And you'll see all
sorts of machines - bikes, tandems, trikes, recumbents, and occasionally
even stranger things ...
Size of entry varies greatly but is
typically around 100 starters. Small local events may have just a
handful of riders while a few popular events attract 200 starters or
The routes typically feature a few fast main roads and a lot
of quiet, scenic lanes. Many events are quite hilly, some are extremely
hilly, and even the flatter ones usually have one or two challenging
climbs. Some events are noted for the quality of home-cooked food and
tender loving care supplied along the way. But most are not -
self-sufficiency is a highly-regarded quality in AUK.
On the same
theme, 'support' - for example a following car - is very much frowned
upon. There are maximum and minimum time limits, which are designed to
suit everyone from the fittest of recreational riders, to more
occasional riders who have plenty of determination. Each rider carries a
'brevet card' which is stamped at intermediate checkpoints and at the
finish, and which is later returned to the rider as a certificate of
The success rate on these events is very high - probably only about 10% fail to finish.
What do I get to show for it all?
ride completed within the time limit is held by AUK to be an achievment
and is recorded as such in AUK's permanent archives. The original
brevet card is stamped and numbered by AUK and returned to the rider. On
some events, marked in the Calendar as 'RM', the records are also held
in the archives of Audax Club Parisien (or ACP), which is the world's
oldest-established long-distance cycling organisation. On these events
the card is also stamped and numbered by ACP before return.
riders are entitled to buy AUK's cloth badges and metal medallions for
the various standard distances, and some big events have special
versions of these as well.
AUK also runs an Awards structure for
various combinations of events. For example, someone who rides a 200, a
300, a 400 and a 600km in the same season becomes a 'Super Randonneur'
and a list of these elite is published every year in the Handbook. At
another level, someone who rides 10x100km events over any period of
time, gains a 'Brevet 1000'.
AUK also runs a Championship structure,
for the riders covering the greatest total distances in events during
the year, with various categories including Juniors, Veterans, Trikes
and so on. You need to have plenty of spare time on your hands to be in
the running for these though - the record so far is 28,700 - equivalent
to 144 200km rides in a year, or nearly 3 per week, summer and winter!
If can't finish for some reason, what happens? Do I get picked up?
no. Do not expect a 'sag waggon' on these events, unless the organiser
has said otherwise. Nor can you expect the finish, or any intermediate
control, to be manned after the closing time as printed in your brevet
card. You would be expected to make your own way back to your transport
or directly home. It is common courtesy though, to get a message to the
organiser if you possibly can.