What is Audax UK?
Audax United Kingdom (known as Audax UK or AUK) is the foremost long-distance cycling association in the UK, and the biggest in the world. It was established in 1976. AUK oversees the running of long-distance cycling events, and, using a system of timed checkpoints, validates and records every successful ride.
Can anybody ride Audax UK's events?
Although technically, AUK does not 'run' events - these are run by clubs or individuals under AUK's supervision.
When a non-member enters an event, there is a small additional fee over and above the usual entry fee, which gives the rider 'temporary membership' of AUK for the duration of the event. This is necessary for insurance reasons.
What do the words 'Randonnée' and 'Randonneur' mean?
'Randonnée' is a French word which loosely translates to 'ramble or 'long journey' - it's not really cycling-specific, but in AUK we take it to mean a long cycle ride.
A 'Randonneur' is a person who has completed a recognised 200 kilometre ride.
What does the word 'Brevet' mean?
It means 'certificate', more or less. So it's the card you carry, which gets stamped at controls and finally validated by AUK as proof of your ride.
The word is often also used to describe the event itself - ie, a certificated ride.
How long is 'long-distance'?
The 'classic' distances for AUK events are 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km. (200km is approximately 125 miles - kilometres are used because of AUK's close links with other similar organisations throughout the world, and particularly in France.) Most AUK events are either 200km or 100km.
However AUK aims to have something for everybody and events start from 50km (about 32 miles) and go all the way up to 1400km (about 875 miles), and even this is not the limit because there are set routes, known as 'Permanents', which span the length and breadth of the country and go up to 3200km.
How non-stop is 'non-stop'?
The maximum time allowed to complete the ride is measured from the time you set off, to the time you finish. There are no allowances for breaks, meals, rest, sleep or mechanical breakdown. So in practical terms this means you have to ride fast enough to generate your own time buffers, especially on the longer events where you will need to rest or even sleep for a while.
This is not as tough as it may sound, as the maximum time limits are quite generous, with this in mind.
What are AUK events like?
They 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 more.
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 their achievement.
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?
Every 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.
Successful 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?
Generally, 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.
Is it right that mudguards and lights are compulsory?
AUK's regulations used to require mudguards - but not any more. Some events may require mudguards, but that depends on the individual organiser. In the Calendar, the code M indicates that mudguards may be required. Otherwise, they are not required, though their use might be 'encouraged' by some organisers.
Lights are required by British law if you ride between the times of dusk and dawn. In practice this could happen on any of AUK's events except a few summer 200s and some shorter events.
How do I find out about events?
AUK's Calendar is online, at Calendar.
Some events are advertised in magazines such as Cycling Weekly and Cycletouring & Campaigning.
How do I enter an AUK event?
A standard Event Entry Form is available for download.
Entry must be made using this form or one that is textually similar, or the entry may be rejected. Entry fees vary from event to event, and are subject to a small surcharge for non-members.
Entry must be made in good time before the date of the event - if your entry is received less than 2 weeks before the start it may be rejected. Also several events have a limit on size of entry - so enter in good time to be sure of a place.
If I join AUK, what do I get for my membership fee?
Audax UK is a non-profit organisation and the bulk of your membership fee goes into production of the quarterly magazine. But in total -
A yearly Handbook and yearly hardcopy Calendar.
A quarterly A4 magazine, called Arrivée, packed with information, event updates, letters, stories and photographs.
Inclusion in the AUK Awards and Championships structure.
And the all-important 3rd-party insurance while participating in AUK events.
And the warm glow you get from belonging to the world's largest long-distance cycling club.
see also - AUK Membership FAQ
How do I join Audax UK?
There is a Membership Form available for download or to fill in online.
Send this with the fee as shown on that page, to AUK's Membership Secretary
What kind of bike is best for Audax?
The truth is, anything will do. But make sure it is roadworthy, well maintained and checked over before the start of any long ride.
The most popular type of bike is something at the 'fast' end of 'touring', and many UK manufacturers now offer bikes badged as 'Audax' or 'Randonneur', which will have quite a lot in common with a lightweight steel-framed club racing bike while retaining the necessary clearances and brazings for mudguards and a luggage rack.
Do Permanent rides count towards Awards and Championships?
Yes. The only proviso is, in the case of Championships, you cannot gain more points in Permanents than in Calendared Events.
So, if you gained 55 points in Permanents and 45 in Events, you would achieve the Randonneur 10000 award (100 points) but in Championship terms you would only have 90 points.
Do Overseas rides count towards Awards and Championships?
Yes, provided they are registered with the RM (Randonneurs Mondiaux, the world-wide randonneur movement). That is, they must appear in the Calendar published annually by Audax Club Parisien.
But you will have to take positive steps to claim them, ie you must inform the AUK Validation Secretary that you have done these rides, and give appropriate proof - because AUK does not automatically get notified of results by other organisations.
Do I have to claim for Awards and Championships?
Technically, no. AUK's results service on this website automatically tracks and lists who is eligible for what, on an annual basis. But you would be wise to claim, especially in the case of a Championship which appears to be a close-run thing, or if you don't agree with what you see on the website listings. There is a claim form in the Handbook and accessible from the online Results pages.
Obviously if you wish to purchase one of AUK's Award badges or medals, you would make the claim at the same time as ordering the badge with a suitable fee and SAE.
AUK's records are currently compiled on an annual basis. So in the case of those awards which can span more than one season, that is, most of the 'Brevet Series' and also the Ultra Randonneur, you must make a claim and substantiate it.
Can I be credited with events ridden before I joined AUK?
Yes, for events ridden within the same season (November 1st to October 31st) that you joined. These can count as usual for AUK's various Awards, but your eligibility for any Championships in that year might be contested by other members. You will need to claim for these events giving fullest possible details of Date, Start place etc of each one. There is a claim form in the Handbook and accessible from the online Results pages.
International Points - what does that mean?
On the current issue of brevet cards there is a set of 3 boxes on the back marked 'Register your international points - tick one box'. This refers to the records held by Audax Club Parisien. ACP can only store your name against one club, so you are asked for your preference - your Club, your CTC DA, or Audax UK. Many riders do not tick any box, in which case AUK allocates a preference, which is retained for the rest of the season. All this only applies to events marked as 'RM' in the Calendar - though the boxes are printed on all brevet cards.
I can get round a 200km in 9 hours - why should I carry lights?
Anything could happen to delay you. Serious equipment problems - stripped freewheel blocks are a favourite, or snapped cranks. People have been known to fall off, go to hospital, have stitches, carry on and still finish in time!
Minimal lighting, a small rear LED light and a modern compact front light, weighs very little and doesn't take much space. It's a sensible insurance.
Why does it take so long for my brevet card to be returned?
Your card has to scrutinised and validated by Audax UK.
First, the event organiser has to collect together all the cards at the end of an event, sort them into some sort of order, compile a results sheet and a financial returns sheet including payment to AUK for any medals and badges. All this is then securely parcelled and posted to AUK.
During the busiest part of the season, which is April and May, there could be 15 or more such packages arriving at AUK after each weekend.
At AUK, each card is individually scrutinised for missed or out of time controls. It is then awarded a unique Brevet Number, which is printed on a sticker and attached to the card. If the event is one of those which is labelled BRM in the Calendar, the results are now forwarded to Audax Club Parisien in France for another validation process. ACP generate their own Brevet Numbers and their own stickers which are attached to the cards.
Now the cards can be parcelled up along with the medals and badges and returned to the organiser. The organiser must now sort the cards into their individual sae's, checking each one for a medal or badge request and enclosing as necessary, and post them back to the riders.
This chain of events is laborious enough, but often what really slows things down is that one or other link in the chain will be on holiday.
How do I go about organising an event?
Generally, you need back-up in the form of a club or DA to help with the organisation. Individual organisers are discouraged by AUK, although there are a few. Then, talk to AUK's Event Secretary.
He/she has organiser packs to get you started and will advise on potential date clashes in your area.
How do I go about getting a Regulation changed?
You have to put a motion before the AGM, with a seconder. The AGM meets at the end of November, but the motion needs to be thought out MUCH earlier than this. In fact the signed and seconded motion needs to be in the hands of the AUK Secretary at least 56 days before the date of the meeting.
This is so that there is time to get it published in Arrivée before the meeting, so that members can read the motion and form a considered view before voting. If you are trying to get a difficult idea across to the membership, the Secretary will help with the formal wording of the motion, and you would also have the opportunity to write a paragraph or two explaining your ideas, in Arrivee.
Finally, you don't HAVE to attend the meeting, but if you want your motion to succeed, it helps!
I'm in dispute with an Organiser, what do I do?
Depending on what the problem is, correspond with either the AUK Secretary, the AUK Events Secretary or the AUK Validation Secretary. Expect any response to take some time, as it might be something that needs to be discussed by the Committee.
I'm in dispute with the Validation Secretary, what do I do?
VERY occasionally the Validation Secretary might refuse to ratify a ride for some reason. To be realistic, this is the end of the line - he has absolute authority. But you can try appealing to the Organiser of your ride who can then take it up with the AUK Secretary. It has been known to work. But usually it doesn't.
I'm in dispute with a fellow rider, what do I do?
It's a private matter although it may involve Audax UK if insurance is in question. In the worst cases of any dispute with fellow members or officials, there is a risk that you could lose your membership, as Audax has a clause requiring a member to be 'a person of goodwill'.