What is Audax?
Audax United Kingdom (AUK) is the internationally recognised long distance cycling association in the UK. Usually referred to as Audax UK or AUK, it was established in 1976. AUK oversees the running of long-distance cycling events in the UK, and, using a system of timed checkpoints, validates and records every successful ride. Audax UK is a non-profit organisation and provides its members with :
- A quarterly A4 magazine, called Arrivée, packed with information, event updates, letters, stories and photographs.
- A website, http://www.aukweb.net, giving up to date details of events and results.
- 3rd-party insurance for UK-based riders while participating in AUK events.
- The warm glow you get from belonging to the world’s largest long-distance cycling club.
- Inclusion in the AUK Awards and Championships structure.
Although a non-competitive cycling club, Audax UK recognises individual achievement by awarding trophies annually. The organisation operates a points scoring system where riders earn 1-point per every completed 100km. So, by completing a 200km randonnee you’ll earn 2-points. By completing a 600km randonnee, you’ll earn 6-points (note there are no points awarded for events less than 200km). There’s a separate points championship for climbing, known as the Audax Altitude Award (AAA).
Audax UK, unlike many other national cycling organizations, does not operate a rider category system. At the start of an event all riders normally start together and are par-equal. So a novice rider riding their first Audax event could be riding alongside a rider who has ridden countless PBPs and/or the London Edinburgh London. Checkout the website: http://www.aukweb.net for further information on Audax UK.
What is an event?
Audax UK Events are open to all cyclists. They are organised by cycling clubs, CTC local groups or individuals, to AUK regulations, which are based on those devised by Audax Club Parisien. For details of the conduct of events see the Ride Regulations pages. Calendared events are known as ‘randonnees’ (touring rides) and as such require no special training if you already cycle regularly. If you are new to cycling, check out the “Preparation for a Randonnée” on the AUK website and start with some of the shorter Brevets Populaires (BP). Likewise, if you are unused to hill climbing, avoid events with the higher Audax Altitude Award (AAA) ratings at first.
Any type of cycle can be ridden provided that it is fitted with lights when the event encompasses the hours of darkness. Note that flashing lights are not suitable for group riding. You should be able to carry safely sufficient equipment for an independent ride – tool kit, spares, cash, waterproof, bonk rations, drink, map. If you have, or can cheaply acquire, a roadworthy bike then the best policy is to ride events and start to dream of your ideal Audax machine. Experienced members, encountered on the road, are usually happy to discuss equipment. Cycling clothing varies, depending on the individual’s cycling background. Look for lightweight comfortable garments which breathe, don’t restrict movement, yet don’t flap, and are conspicuous on the road. Again, riding events and discussing clothing is the best guide.
ENTERING AN EVENT
To enter an event, send the organiser a completed signed entry form, cheque (made out to the organiser) for the entry fee (non-AUK members will need to add the temporary membership fee), and two C5 stamped addressed envelopes. Many events can also be entered online, with payment by credit or debit card through Paypal (in which case SAEs are not required). The organiser may set a deadline for entries and/or a limit on numbers, so whenever possible you should enter in advance, preferably at least two weeks before the event date. It takes time to order the correct number of brevet cards and arrange any catering, and some popular events sell out early. You will receive a route sheet and start details before the ride, either by post or electronically. Note that entry fees are not refundable.
ON THE DAY
Arrive in good time for the event, in order to locate the start and collect your brevet card. Facilities vary and you could face a draughty piece of waste ground, or a convenient café, or a hired sports hall with refreshments provided by the organiser.
ON THE RIDE
You may cycle in a group or on your own. You must visit the designated control points and obtain proof of passage. Controls may be at service stations, cafes, pubs or hired facilities, and may or may not be manned by a controller. You should obtain a signature, time and ink stamp on your card, or collect an ATM or till receipt showing the time and place. Sometimes you may have to record information at an Information Control – answering a simple question in your brevet card, so you need to carry a pencil or pen.
At the finish
Ensure your card is fully filled in, sign it and leave it with the finish controller. Some time later, your card will be returned, after it has been checked and recorded, with your validation sticker(s) appended along with any medals (optional).