What is Audax
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
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 does the word 'Audax' mean?
It's Latin for 'bold', and was first used in the context of
endurance sports towards the end of the 19th century.
What do the words 'Randonnée' and
'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
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
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.
More information here...