Long distance cycling in the UK is supported and organised by Audax UK, and run by volunteers around the country. The primary challenge of an audax is to cover a long distance by bicycle, routes are not sign-posted and riders are expected to be self-sufficient. This means following a route sheet themselves, avoiding getting lost, managing any mechanical problems and looking after their own needs for food and drink. Riders are required to pass through check points known as controls. These control points are in place to ensure that the minimum distance is covered and evidence is required at each control, either by gaining a “proof of passage” such as a stamp in a cafe, till receipt, cash machine receipt, or by answering the predefined question on the Brevet card. The Brevet card is the document used to collect evidence the distance was completed.
Audax events are not races, to make this clear there are minimum and maximum speeds. Unlike races, riders who suffer a puncture or other mechanical problem are likely to be offered help by fellow riders. Riders may be in groups, may form temporary alliances or may spend the day alone! Medals can be bought for completing the event, showing the distance covered and all successful riders names are recorded on the Audax UK website, unranked and without times.
Brevet Populaire events (under 200km) are designed to introduce new riders to long distance cycling and the experience of being self-sufficient on the road, while also meeting the requirements to provide evidence. The minimum and maximum speeds for the Spring into the Dales Audax event is 12kph to 24kph, and these speeds are total average speeds not moving average speeds.
Brevet de Randonneur events are internationally recognised long distance rides, covering at least 200km. Speed limits for these events are slightly higher at 15kph to 30kph. Completing one of these events will qualify the rider as a “Randonneur” in the eyes of the long distance cycling community. Remember that these speeds include any time stationary.
All riders, whatever event they are on, are expected to ride within the law, obey the Highway Code. Riders are not racing. Riders should only take on these events if they are confident in their physical fitness, health and that their bicycle is mechanically sound. No advice is given by the organiser on rider health or on the mechanical suitability of the rider’s bicycle. Riders must have third party insurance, through membership of AUK/CTC or by having temporary membership for the event duration, at £2 per person. Riders must have completed a registration form, preferably online beforehand.
Entry on the line is possible, but we hope you will enter before hand so we to help us plan food and refreshments
Route sheet directions are in shorthand to make them easier to read while riding. A key to the shorthand is provided, for example, “SO@R” means, “Straight on at Roundabout” and “L@T sp GRASSINGTON” means “Left at T-junction signposted Grassington”. If a place name is in CAPITALS it means the rider will pass through that place. Total distance to the instruction is shown, so riders would benefit from some form of cycle computer giving speed, time and distance.
General Safety Advice and Common Sense
Out in the countryside there are very few shops or places to eat, so riders should remember to take with them the food and drink they might need. It is also wise to carry appropriate clothing, tools and spares; and know how to use them. It is pointless having a puncture repair kit and tyre levers if you have no idea how to remove your wheel and tyre.
The South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and Ribble Valley have working farmland so there may be tractors on the road, there may be mud. Riders will certainly see sheep grazing by the side of the road, and often wandering into the road with no notice. There are cattle grids and on occasion these can require care due to weather or damage. Care should be taken when riding in the moors because round any corner might be all of the above hazards! Calderdale and the surrounding areas are wonderful cycling country but riders should exercise a degree of caution even if they feel they know the roads.