Audax rides, also known as randonneuring, is a form of long-distance cycling that originated in France in the late 19th century. Audax rides typically cover distances of 200 kilometres or more and are non-competitive events that focus on personal challenge and endurance rather than speed.
If you’re interested in taking part in audax rides, there are a few things you should know. Here’s everything you need to know about audax rides.
What is Audax Riding?
Audax riding is a long-distance cycling discipline where participants aim to complete a set distance within a specified time limit. Unlike traditional cycling races, audax rides are non-competitive and rely on self-sufficiency, self-navigation, and an independent time-keeping system.
The history of Audax riding dates back to 1897 when the first “Brevet de Randonneur” was organised in France. Over the years, audax riding has evolved into a global phenomenon with organized events taking place across the world.
How to Participate in an Audax Ride
Participating in an audax ride is relatively straightforward. You must register for the event, pay the entry fee, and turn up at the start line. All the events are listed on Audax UK’s website You’ll also need to ensure that your bicycle is in good working order and that you have all the necessary equipment, such as lights, a helmet, and spare inner tubes.
The route of the audax ride is pre-planned, and participants are required to follow it. The ride is typically divided into checkpoints, where riders have to get their brevet card stamped to prove that they’ve completed the route. At the end of the ride, riders are required to submit their brevet card as proof of completion.
Audax Ride Distances
Audax rides typically cover distances of 200km or more, with the most common distances being 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km, and 1000km. However, shorter distances are also available, such as 50km and 100km rides.
The duration of an audax ride varies depending on the distance. For example, a 200km ride typically takes between 8 and 13 hours to complete, while a 1000km ride can take up to 75 hours to complete. Probably the ultimate Audax is Paris-Brest-Paris, which runs up to 1200km in length. I’ve done a couple of Audaxes but never more than 200km myself.
Preparing for an Audax Ride
Preparing for an audax ride requires a combination of physical and mental preparation. You’ll need to be able to cycle long distances without feeling fatigued or experiencing pain. It’s also important to have a positive mental attitude and be prepared for the challenges that you may face during the ride.
In terms of training, you should start by building up your endurance gradually. Begin with shorter rides and gradually increase the distance over time. It’s also a good idea to incorporate some hill training into your routine to prepare for the climbs that you’ll encounter during the ride.
During the Audax Ride
During the ride, it’s important to pace yourself and avoid pushing too hard too early on. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re eating and drinking enough to maintain your energy levels. It’s recommended that you consume around 60g of carbohydrates per hour and drink around 500ml of fluid per hour.
You should also be prepared for changing weather conditions, and it’s a good idea to bring along extra layers of clothing in case the weather turns cold or wet. It’s also important to have a basic toolkit with you in case of any mechanical issues.
Audax riding is a challenging and rewarding discipline that requires a combination of physical and mental preparation. If you’re interested in taking part, start by building up your endurance gradually and make sure that you have all the necessary equipment. Remember to pace yourself during the ride, eat and drink enough, and you should have fun!