Understanding the DIY options
The choice between:
- Traditional DIY (Validation with paper P-o-P, usually receipts & ATM slips)
- Validation by GPS – advisory route
- Validation by GPS – mandatory route
can be confusing to the newcomer, so let’s look at how a DIY ride is planned - and how the different options can be used to suit different circumstances:
Let’s say I want a 200km ride and I plan to ride from A to B to C to D to E and back to A.
The minimum rideable distance round that loop comes to just over 200km, and the shortest way between B and D is via C; so I can tell the organiser that I’m just going to use controls A-B-D-E-A. The DIY organiser checks that meets the 200km minimum distance and approves the entry.
All I need to do as a rider is provide proof to the organiser that I’ve been to all those places, in order, and within the time limit. I can do that with receipts from those places (a Traditional DIY) or by means of a recorded GPS track (advisory route).
I haven’t included C as a control so on the day I can choose to ride through C or go a different way, it doesn’t matter – it’s what we call an ‘advisory route’.
Now, let’s suppose that a dual carriageway has been built between B and D.
I still want to use the pleasant lanes that goes though village C (which will make my ride at least 200km), but the dual carriageway makes the ‘minimum rideable distance’ of A-B-D-E-A just less than 200 km.
I now need to prove that I have gone via C to make up the distance.
If I want to use the Traditional DIY option I’ll need to find an establishment at C where I can get a receipt. That’s not always possible, but if I have a GPS which records a track I can use GPS validation (advisory route). All I need to do different is to tell the organiser I will be riding A-B-C-D-E-A, and I don’t even need to stop in C, the GPS record will tell the organiser I’ve been there.
So what's Mandatory route all about ?
With increasing fast traffic on main roads it can be tough to create a safe, pleasant, route without adding either a lot of distance or an excessive numbers of controls – all of which I’d have to declare on the entry form, and the organiser would have to check I’ve been there. The alternative of mandatory routing which allows me to declare to the organiser, not just the controls, but exactly which roads I will ride for my 200km by means of a planned GPS track. This is what we call a mandatory route.
When I’ve ridden using precisely those roads I upload the recorded track direct to the website and the organiser who has some nifty software that enables him to compare the two (and check I didn’t sneakily jump on a train between D and E).
Simple? Well, there are some downsides to mandatory routing:
- If I can’t provide a complete track because my GPS unit failed my ride will not be validated.
- If a road I have as part of my mandatory route is closed I will have to get evidence to show the organiser to show why I had to divert and also I must return to the route as soon as possible, doing that can add quite bit of extra distance .
- If I get lost and deviate accidentally, I will have to return to the route at exactly the point I left it.