Arrows, Controls, ECEs, Permanents, BRM... the language of Randonneuring can sometimes be confusing to the newcomer.
This Glossary aims to explain the terminology commonly used. If something is missing or could be better explained, please let us know by completing the feedback form and we'll do our best to make it clearer. You can also use the search function at the top of the page to check whether information is elsewhere on the website.
Audax Club Parisien was the first Audax organisation and continues to organise and validate many events. Most of AUK's rules are derived from those of ACP.
Two ACP (Audax Club Parisien) awards are available to Audax UK members:
Both have separate validation requirements in additions to those of Audax UK
ACP (Audax Club Parisien) organises Paris-Brest-Paris, a 1200km event that takes place every four years with participants from all over the world. AUK was originally established to organise rides that British cyclists could complete in order to qualify for PBP.
The French for Arrival - it is the finish point of the event. It is also the the quarterly magazine available to members of Audax UK.
The magazine is full of news and information about events and includes articles written by Audax UK members.
Under Audax UK regulations all Calendar events must be published in the quarterly Arrivée magazine.
A team event based on the ACPs Flèche Vélocio
More details on the Special Events Page
"Bold" in Latin or "audacious" in French, Audax now has additional meanings:
Audax Event - a long distance, unsupported bike ride along a predetermined route that must be completed within its time limit. Minimum and maximum speeds apply. To obtain points, medals, badges and awards means that proof of passages is required for validation. Electric pedal assist machines may participate but are not eligible for awards.
Strictly speaking, an Audax is an event ridden by a group of riders, with a team captain, all riding together. Events undertaken by riders as individuals are Randonnees. However, the term "audax" is often used to describe randonnees as well.
Audax UK - the UK's long distance cycling club.
Audax Club Parisien (ACP) - the French governing body of Audax
Audax Altitude Award events offer and encourage participation in hilly events.
AAA points are allocated at a rate of one point for every thousand metres of climbing, rounded to the nearest quarter point.
An event with 2,124m of climbing is worth 2 AAA points, an event that does 2,125m of climbing is worth 2.25 AAA points.
The AAA rating is listed on both Calendar and Permanent Events
There are also a series of AAA Awards
The certificate or proof of passage that is date and time stamped at the beginning, during and end of the ride before being sent to the organiser for validation.
Brevet Cards are provided at the beginning of Calendar Events but need to be requested from organisers in advance for other events.
Please note that the organiser who provides the Brevet Card is also the organiser who validates the event. Not all Organisers validate virtual Brevet Cards although all Organisers validate paper Brevet Cards.
Brevet Populaire is a category of an event that is only validated by Audax UK.
They are usually shorter than 200km and often run to more relaxed speed limits set by the organiser (with a minimum of 10km/h) making them a great introduction to randonneuring.
Brevets de Randonneurs events are at any distance over 200km and are validated only by Audax UK.
Whilst not dissimilar in conduct to Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRM) events the speed limits are subtly different.
The maximum time allowed is based on the actual distance of the event and a minimum speed set by the organiser, usually 14.3km/h or 15km/h for events less than 600km.
Lower minimum speeds are allowed in the AUK Regulations for longer events.
Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux events are run all around the world. They fall under the standard set of rules laid down by Audax Club Parisien (ACP) which validates and records the rides.
Only BRM events may be used to qualify for events such as the Paris-Brest-Paris randonnee.
BRM events are at standard distances, with a maximum of 5% over distance, and the maximum time limits for each distance is:
Listings of BRM events are published at least eight months before the actual event date.
Each event uses controls (checkpoints) where riders will obtain some form of proof of passage to ensure the specified distance is ridden.
The distance between each controls will vary depending on the overall event distance but as a guide are:
Spacing between Full Controls
Number of Full Controls
Total Number of Controls (All Types)
30 – 50km
40 – 70km
50 – 75km
3 – 10
50 – 80km
4 – 12
50 – 100km
7 – 12
7 – 15
- Full Controls: Located in cafes, pubs or village halls, provide food, drink, shelter and toilets available to allow riders to rest, eat, drink and have their brevet card stamped, timed and signed. At the most basic, this will be a garage or shop.
- Free (unspecified) controls: Provide flexibility so the rider can choose where to obtain a timed receipt from a cafe, convenience store or ATM.
- Information Controls: Unmanned locations requiring an answer to a question to ensure the participant passes this point eg a question about a road sign at a junction. The participant can find out the answer only by riding to the junction.
- Secret Control: Similar to Information controls but their location/distance are not listed on the brevet card nor made known before the event. These may be used on mandatory route events to ensure riders are following the prescribed route.
Cycling UK (formerly the Cyclist Touring Club) is the leading Cycle Campaigning charity in the UK. CUK has championed the cause of cycling for more than 140 years, promotes all forms of cycling, protects the interests of existing and would-be cyclists, and inspires people across the UK to discover the joys of cycling. Many Audax rides are arranged by CUK local groups.
Randonnee distances are measured in kilometres, reflecting the sport's French origins.
As a rough guide the distances equate to:
50 km = 32 miles
100 km = 62 miles
150 km = 93 miles
200 km = 124 miles
300 km = 186 miles
400 km = 249 miles
600 km = 373 miles
1000 km = 621 miles
Some events, to allow for inclusion of a particular scenic road or the avoidance of a busy one, may mean the actual distance of the event is a few kilometres longer than the Award distance. The actual distance is detailed in brackets on the Event Description page.
ECE is "Extended Calendar Event" - this option allows you to add extra kilometres to the official length of a Calendar Event.For example you can ride to the start from your home. More information here.
These awards aim to encourage and celebrate riders on fixed-wheel cycles, who ride such machines either for the additional challenge or because they appreciate the minimalist simplicity of them.
This section of Audax enjoys a dedicated and growing following.
Awards may be gained by completing Audax rides on fixed wheel bikes. A trophy is awarded to both the man and woman achieving the highest number of points in a season.
"Fleche" events (also called "Arrows" in the UK) is a 24 hour team event. The format was created by Audax Club Parisien - the Flèche Vélocio, in which teams head to the traditional Easter cycling rally in Provence (France). The main UK equivalent goes to York
A "Grimpeur" is a cyclist who specialises in climbing. In Audax terms, we recognise grimping via the Audax Altitude Award, where points are awarded based on the amount of climbing (and how concentrated the climbs are) on rides. We also have a Grimpeur medal for completion of selected (very hilly!) rides.
The Event Organiser will list the facilities available at an event on the Event Description page. The letter assigned is in bold and the facilities are abbreviated as follows:
A(1) Free/reasonably priced accommodation at the start or finish, (one night)
Bag drop facilities en route
Camping at or near the start
DIY event, no routesheet or gpx track provided
Some free food &/or drink provided at the start and/or finish or on the ride
GPS files available from organiser
Secur(ish) left luggage facilities at start
Mudguards not required
Free or reasonably priced car parking at start
Free or reasonably priced refreshments at start &/or finish
Toilets at start
X-rated 'shoestring' event, few or no facilities or AUK controllers
Youth Hostel at or near start
Sleeping facilities en route
Ordre des Cols Durs (Order of the Hard Climb)
Founded in 1960 to promote and encourage riding up and down mountain passes, not necessarily on randonnees.
Postal Finish events allow the organisers the flexibility to have an arrivée (finish control) that is unstaffed for all or part of the event hours. However:
- The completed Brevet Card must be returned to the organiser within 14 days.
- Once the cards have arrived with the Validator it is not possible to add any latecomers to the finish list
The Paris-Brest-Paris randonnee is the Blue Riband event of long-distance cycling worldwide. It is held every four years, towards the end of August.
Starting just west of Paris, the 1200km event crosses Normandy and Brittany to Brest, returning along largely the same route. The randonnee attracts more than 5,000 participants from all over the world.
Governed by ACP, the regulations require completion of qualifying BRM events.
PBP is also staged as a traditional (team) audax every five years.
An event along a predetermined route created by an Event Organiser and validated by Audax UK, available for you to ride when it suits you, on your own or with other members.More information here.
Les Randonneurs Mondiaux is the international body that validates and records brevets of 1200km or longer. AUK is the member representing the UK.
RM events are a minimum of 1200km (usually 90 hour time limit) or longer (time limit based on nominal distance and a minimum speed of 12km/h).
An award for those who complete at least one ride of 200km or longer in each of any 12 consecutive calendar months. Entrants may begin in any month of the year.
"X-Rated" events have no/very few manned controls, except at the start, and provide no refreshments or other support. You have to get proof of passage by collecting receipts (or using the E-Brevet app where permitted) and you may have to send your brevet card to the organiser on completion (a "postal" finish) because the organiser won't be there.
The Audax UK Year runs from 1st November to 31st October (of the following year)
The Audax UK Membership Year runs from 1st January to 31st December
The Audax Club Parisienne (ACP) Year runs from 1st November to 31st October (of the following year)
Years for Awards
The Brevet 2000 can be ridden over any period of time
The Brevet 3000 can be ridden over any period of time
The Brevet 4000 can be ridden over any period of time
The Brevet 5000 must be ridden within a four year period.
The Brevet 25000 must be ridden within a six year period.
Events prior to 1991 are not accepted.
The International Super Randonneur (ISR) can be ridden over any period of time.
The Ultra Randonneur 10 Super Randonneur series in different years.
The Randonneur 100,000 100,000km consisting of validated BR, BRM, ACP or RM events
Other Award Years:
The Grimpeur du Sud Award runs from 1st January to 31st December
The Mileater Year runs from 1st January to 31st December
The RRtY Year can start in any month but each RRtY event thereafter must be in the following month for the next 11 consecutive months.
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