The Audax UK calendar currently contains around 500 events across the UK per year, managed by a team of events delegates on behalf of the Events Secretary. These events take many forms, from bare-bones ‘X rated’ events, with few facilities and commercial controls (where the rider obtains a receipt or similar proof of passage) and perhaps post their completed brevet cards home afterwards; to fully catered events, with village halls for controls offering food and sleep facilities staffed by volunteers.
Organisers retire, events come and go, and there are many areas of the country where Audax UK is under- represented (currently much of Wales, Scotland and Northern England), so Audax UK welcomes new organisers and events.
Audax UK (AUK) organises few events itself. Instead, most Audax UK calendar events are organised by individuals, clubs and CTC Member Groups, who agree to run these events according to Audax UK regulations. These regulations are in turn based on ride rules formulated by Audax Club Parisien (ACP), which are used internationally by the member countries of Les Randonneurs Mondiaux (LRM).
As well as maintaining ride regulations, Audax UK also keeps records of riders who successfully complete Audax UK events. To encourage this, Audax UK maintains award schemes for completing series of successful rides.
If you’re new to organising Audax UK events, you should read this guide, and keep a copy for reference. This will give you plenty of information about how to plan and organise your event. You should also:
- Read and familiarise yourself with Audax UK’s regulations, which can be found in the Regulations.
- You have to complete an organiser's application form.
This also applies if you are an existing organiser wishing to upgrade to longer distances.
Audax UK events are essentially non-competitive cycling events run over set distances, usually multiples of 100km.
If you want to organise a Permanent Event you should contact the Permanents Secretary.
Organising requirements; organiser grades; mentors; organiser responsibilities; insurance for organisers, etc.
To organise Audax UK events you need to be registered as an approved Audax UK organiser. To do this you will need to meet a few basic criteria:
• You must be over 18, resident in the UK and a member of Audax UK.
• You should be a member of AUK of at least a year's standing.
• Event details are entered and managed through the Audax UK Online Event Planner, so you will also need internet access to use this and e-mail to communicate with the Events Team.
• You should be familiar with all aspects of Audax UK calendar events of at least the distance you plan to organise. Ideally this will be through recent experience of riding at least two Audax UK calendar events of the relevant distance (or greater).
Audax UK also recommends that you have the backing of a local cycling club or Cycling UK (CTC) Member Group or another organisation to help with the organisation of your event.
Meeting these criteria does not guarantee that Audax UK will accept you as an organiser.
Audax UK at their discretion may consider your application even if you do not meet these criteria, for example if you are taking over an existing event with the backing of a good organising club, or if you have past experience of organising sports events.
Audax UK operates a grading scheme for organisers based on experience and length of events. There are currently 3 organising levels:
• Level 1: Calendar events up to and including 200km with experience of planning a route and controls.
• Level 2: Calendar events up to and including 600km.
• Level 3: Calendar events over 600km.
If you wish to organise an event above your current organiser grade you will need to follow the Upgrading Organisers process to upgrade to a higher grade.
To upgrade you must have successfully organised at your current grade for at least two consecutive seasons.
All new organisers and those upgrading to run a longer event at the next organising grade need a mentor.
Your mentor must be a current organiser who has experience of organising events at or above the organiser’s new
level for at least two consecutive seasons, and will be available to help and advise you:
• register your event in the on-line event planner;
• pick a good route and controls;
• carry out the risk assessment for your event;
• plan procedures at the start, finish and controls; and
• understand how the AUK system works.
You can suggest someone to be your mentor, or the Events Team will help you find someone to be your mentor if you prefer.
As ACP frequently says “brevets are not casual affairs”, and organisers have a duty of care (including certain legal responsibilities) to riders and helpers. By running an event you agree to:
• Comply with Audax UK rules and regulations, as published on the website
• Comply with the rules and procedures published in this Handbook
• Submit & register your events; results and validation fees promptly and in accordance with the required deadlines
• As an organiser you are acting as a representative of Audax UK so you must ensure your personal conduct and that of the event does not bring Audax UK into disrepute or cause reputational loss.
The Events Team regularly monitors the performance of organisers and may downgrade or revoke your organiser status in the event of poor performance.
Audax UK provides organisers with public and employer’s liability insurance through their AUK membership. This cover also extends to volunteers helping with your events. More details on AUK’s insurance policies and the cover provided are available from the Secretary or Events Secretary.
If you’re organising an event on behalf of a Cycling UK (CTC) member group you will also be covered by Cycling UK’s organiser’s insurance policy. You will however need to ensure that you follow the Cycling UK’s procedures for registration of organisers and cycling events – Audax UK does not do this on your behalf. Contact your local Cycling UK member group secretary for more information. The current Cycling UK policy provides different levels of cover for Cycling UK member groups and affiliate groups, you should seek advice on this from Cycling UK.
Before you can organise your first event, you will need to register as an organiser with Audax UK. This ensures that Audax UK has exercised reasonable care in accepting organisers. To register as an organiser:
- Get in touch with the Events Secretary or your events delegate. They will send you the New/Returning/Upgrading Organisers Application Form, or you can download the form from the organising an audax page on the AUK website.
- Complete the Application Form. You can complete the form either electronically or by printing it. The form will ask you to provide:
- The name and AUK membership number of your mentor. A good starting point to finding a mentor is to ask an experienced local organiser. If you’re having difficulty, the Events Team will be able to advise you. However, it will be your responsibility to contact any prospective mentors and agree with them that they will mentor you.
- The name of a cycling club, CTC Member Group or other organisation that can vouch for your reliability. An official from this organisation will need to support your application.
- Outline details of your proposed event(s). If you’re planning a new event, you should take some time to plan your event (see the Planning section of this Handbook) before you submit your application. Applications without proposed event details will be rejected.
Taking over the running of an established event in your area is a good way to get started in organising and build up your skills and network of helpers. If you plan to do this you will need to provide details of the event(s), and your application should be accompanied by authorisation from the current organiser for you to run their event(s).
NOTE: Events of a distance of more than 200km are not usually accepted from a new organiser, although exceptions may be made. Please contact the Events Team.
- Information on your reasons for wanting to organise an Audax UK event, your previous experience and skills.Audax UK recommends that prospective organisers gain experience by helping with another organiser’s events (and preferably more than just doing the washing up!). Experience of organising other non-AUK events is also useful.
- Return the form to the Events Secretary or your events delegate. You can return the form either by post or electronically by email. If returning the form by email your application should be accompanied by email declarations from your Mentor and Club/Organising Body.
- The Events Team will consider your plans and experience and decide upon suitability to become an organiser. Please ensure you include a telephone number on your application form as you may be contacted for a short telephone interview
- If your application is accepted, your events delegate will set you up as a Level 1 (Provisional) organiser in the Online Event Planner, and create an outline event based on the details supplied on your application form.
For your first year of organising you will be assigned a provisional Organiser Grade. This will be reviewed after your first events and, if successfully organised with no issues you will be granted full organiser status.
If you wish to organise an event above your current organiser grade:
- Register your proposed event(s) in the Event Planner as normal. You will be prompted, and your events delegate will be notified that you need to upgrade your organiser grade. You may continue planning your event whilst you carry out the upgrading process.
- Download a copy of the New, Returning or Upgrading Organisers Application Form from the Organisers'
Documents page in the organisers' section of the AUK website. Complete and return the form as for a New Organiser.
Each time you organise an event for the first time at a higher grade you will need a mentor at that grade. Prospective Level 3 organisers should contact their regional delegate to find a suitable mentor.
- If your application is accepted, your events delegate will upgrade your organiser grade to the required level. As with a new organiser, your new grade will be provisional until after your event has been run successfully.
Existing organisers who have missed more than 2 seasons without organising an event will need to re- register as a returning organiser before organising further events. The process is the same as for a new organiser.
Returning organisers also need a mentor. Whilst you may be experienced at organising an event, Audax UK’s systems and processes continue to evolve and your mentor will help guide you through any new or changed processes.
Distance & Types of Event; Audax Altitude Award; Overseas Calendar Events; Scheduling Your Event – Choosing a Date; Start & Finish Points; Facilities; Event Fees & Entries; Budgeting and setting your entry fee; entry restrictions; late entries and EOLs; online entries; Risk Assessment & Contingency Planning
The first decision to be taken for any event will be that of distance. Audax UK events cover all distances from 50km to 600km+
If you’re planning a new event, we recommend starting with a 200km event. You may use shorter Populaire events (50, 100 & 150km) as supporting events to encourage novices. Remember the aim is to encourage riders to go on to longer events through the Randonneur 500, 1000 and Super Randonneur series.
If you’re running a longer event (300km+), running a shorter event alongside can help cover your costs. This can work particularly well on 400s and 600s where the finish will be used on the second day so there are few extra costs involved.
|Brevet Populaire (BP)||Audax UK sanctioned event of lesser distance and/or speed than the traditional BR. Distance: Can be any distance but most commonly used as shorter (<200km) supporting events. Speeds: At the organisers’ discretion. Minimum speed up to 15kph, maximum speed up to 30kph.|
|AUK Brevet de Randonneur (BR)||Audax UK sanctioned event equivalent to BRM standard but subject only to AUK regulations. Distance: Any distance over 200km Speeds: Minimum speed either 15kph or 14.3kph for events up to and including 600km. Lower speeds apply for longer distances. Maximum speed at the organisers’ discretion up to 30kph|
|ACP Brevet de Randonneur (BRM)||Audax UK and ACP sanctioned event. Subject to both AUK and ACP regulations. BRM events are also listed in the ACP international calendar. Distance: standard distances 200, 300, 400, 600 & 1000km. Routes should not be more than 5% over distance. Speeds: Minimum speed 15kph for events up to and including 600km; and 13 1/3kph for events of 1000km. Fixed maximum finishing times (200k 13h30; 300k 20h; 400k 27h; 600k 40h; 1000km 75h) – no extra time is allowed for over distance. Maximum speed at the organisers’ discretion up to 30kph.|
The Audax Altitude Award (AAA) encourages participation in hilly events and offers a challenge to regular long distance riders and also to those who do not wish to ride the longest events but who enjoy hard riding.
If you’re planning a hilly event then it may be eligible for AAA points. More advice on calculating the amount of climbing on your route and claiming AAA points can be found on the Audax UK website or by contacting the AAA man.
The agreement with Audax Club Parisien that allows Audax UK an exclusive right to promote cycling randonnées à allure libre is valid only in the United Kingdom. Other countries have their own audax/randonneur organisations. AUK organisers are only registered to run events in the UK.
Having decided on the distance of your event(s) your next priority will be to decide on the date. When choosing a date you should bear in mind the following:
- Audax UK requires that all events are published in the quarterly Arrivée magazine. BRM events additionally have to meet ACP’s publication schedule which normally requires events to be ready by 1st October in the year preceding the year you are organising the event. To meet the publication schedules and allow time for adequate organisation you should normally allow at least 8 months from first deciding to organise the event. New events will take longer, and major events might have even longer lead times.
- Avoid clashes with established classic events and other nearby events in the Audax UK calendar. The Events Planner allows you to view dates of past events and many events follow the same schedule year after year. The Events Team can provide advice and are responsible for managing the calendar so you may be asked to move your event to another date if the one you initially select is not suitable
- Other non-AUK cycling events such as sportives, reliability rides and charity events can all cause both
competition for entries and hazards on the road if you’re trying to share the same space at the same
time. Good places to check for other events include British Cycling (www.britishcycling.org.uk), Cyclosport (www.cyclosport.org), Cycling UK (http://www.cyclinguk.org/) and Cycling Weekly (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
- Availability of suitable start/finish and/or control venues. Many village halls, schools etc. can be booked up well in advance.
Events such as car boot sales, football matches etc. or school or holiday traffic can have a significant influence on traffic volumes
You should look to decide on your date early, and once decided register your event in the Event Planner to
allow other organisers to see what you’re planning and avoid clashes.
Once you’ve decided on a date keep an eye on the planner to ensure that no other organisers inadvertently clash with your date. If a clash arises, you may need to negotiate with the other organiser and inform your events delegate of your actions. It is your responsibility to schedule your event to avoid clashes. The Events Team may decide not to publish clashing events unless you can show that you have reached an agreement with the other organiser(s).
Most events start on the outskirts of towns or, where facilities are available, in the countryside. This minimises the risk that your riders will have to cycle in heavy traffic. However, remember that a road that is busy during the day may be quiet when your riders are setting off or returning.
Here are a few suggestions of where to look for a base for your event.
- Car park – basic events often start in a car park, ideally with a public toilet and shops nearby. For a very basic “X rated” event you could have an un-manned, postal finish where the rider collects a receipt from a local business and posts the card back to the organiser. Ensure your riders have full instructions for including all proofs of passage, signing their cards, and a postal address.
- Your own home – convenient for long events with small fields and long finishing times
- Village/church halls and other venues for hire – there are thousands of halls in the UK, and in some areas competition is fierce for business. This means you might find one to hire for as little as £80. However, weekends can be popular, so it pays to book as far in advance as possible.
- Cafés or pubs – if you don’t want to cater yourself, or risk the outlay of hiring somewhere, then you might be able to bribe a local café to open early or close late for you. It’s usual but not mandatory to have the finish at the same point or very close to your start.
The base that you use for your event will determine what facilities you offer.
- Car parking – Ensure entrants are forewarned if you have limited parking facilities at the start. Give clear instructions about where to park and where not to park.
- Train station ‒ Let riders know if you have a nearby station, and check that your start time fits with the train timetable if possible.
- Toilets – Access to toilets should be provided if possible. Check whether public loos are open before the start time.
- Refreshments – It’s not vital to provide anything at the start, but more important at the finish. If catering yourself keep it simple, especially if you don’t have a food hygiene certificate. Remember to cater for vegetarian/vegan diets and to ask about food allergies.
- Luggage – It's helpful to offer a left-luggage facility if possible.
- Accommodation – if your event is 300km or longer, or in a remote part of the country you might want to consider offering accommodation for riders before and/or after the event to make an early morning start easier and encourage riders to rest before travelling home. Tell your riders if there are Travelodges or Premier Inns nearby.
CHILD PROTECTION: Please consult the Child Protection Policy (in appendix of this Handbook and also on the website) for guidance on sleeping facilities if you have any entrants under 18 years of age.
On events of 400km and over you may also want to consider providing sleeping facilities at one of your controls.
If you want to offer accommodation you will need to check with your hall trustees that they will allow this. You could ask riders to bring their own bedding.
Budgeting & Setting Your Entry Fee
Once the nature of your event and the facilities you will offer has been decided you will be able to prepare a budget and set an appropriate entry fee. Audax events should not be run to make a profit, but you will certainly want avoid making a loss. To calculate your entry fee you will need to consider the following expenditure:
• Audax UK registration, brevet card & validation charges.
• Hire of start/finish and control venues
• Catering at start/finish and/or controls
• Your own organiser’s expenses e.g. for route checking etc.
• Expenses for your helpers
• Printing route sheets etc.
• Donation to charity/club funds
Aim to set your entry fee to make a small surplus based on your expected number of entrants; and related to the costs of putting on your event and the facilities offered.
If you’re running your event to raise money for a charity make this clear in your event details and publicity.
If you’re providing facilities such as food and accommodation with your event you will have to choose whether to price these within your entry fee or not. An all-inclusive “no extras” will give you a higher entry fee, but frees up volunteers from having to collect money on the day; and also provides a measure of budgeting stability as all your money will be paid up front.
Whatever you do, make it clear to prospective entrants what they’re getting for the entry fee – an important part of rider satisfaction is perceived value for money and events with excessive entry fees will gain a bad reputation.
Audax UK events are in principle open to all who wish to take part. However, you may wish to consider a maximum limit on the number of starters. This may be down to the limitations of your start/finish venue, car parking capacity, control venues, roads used on your route (especially early on) or simply the number of helpers you have available.
Don’t be afraid to set an entry limit if you can only handle a certain number of riders – having more riders than you can cope with will only lead to bad feelings with riders, your controls and quite likely the local residents too.
Any entry restrictions you choose to impose must be fair and transparent.
Late Entries & Entries on the Line (on the Day)
The traditional advice for Audax UK events was that entries should be received two weeks in advance of the event to allow you time to order Brevet cards and organise catering. But nowadays, with most entries being online, riders are increasingly entering events later, particularly for shorter events. It’s up to you to decide when your cut-off date for entries will be, but make it clear in your event details.
If you accept EOLs then you might need extra helpers and time at the start to process their entries. You may want to charge extra to cover postage and dissuade such entries (and a nice round amount saves having to rustle up change for the inevitable £20 note!). We strongly recommend that you discourage unknown riders entering on the line as such riders may not be adequately prepared and unaware of the risks involved; particularly if they are receiving the event details and route sheet at the start.
3.5.4 Online Entries
The traditional way of entering Audax UK events was by post, with an entry form, cheque and 2 SAEs. However nearly all organisers are now offering online entries. This makes it easier for both organiser and entrant.
Audax UK offers organisers an integrated online entry system, available to all entrants, whether Audax UK members or not. This system pays you directly and populates your Start/Finish List.
To use the AUK online entry system you’ll need your own PayPal or Stripe (a new system being rolled out during 2022) account to receive your entry fees. A Premier account is recommended (rather than a Personal account) so you can receive payments by credit & debit cards as well as Paypal balance transfers.
If you accept online entries this way, you’ll need to budget for postage for return of the rider’s Brevet card if you’re not doing instant validation at the finish, plus PayPal’s transaction processing fees.
There is an option for organisers to select whether they wish to accept postal and/or online entries. You obviously have to accept at least one form of entry so people can actually enter your event! Remember that some riders may only be prepared to enter using only online or postal so you may potentially be reducing the number of riders who enter your event.
Planning Your Route
What makes a good route; Timing; Basic route shapes.
Where to place controls – controlling for route integrity, rest & refreshment; types of controls – full controls, free controls, information controls & checkpoints
Verifying Your Route
Actual distance; route integrity & shortest distance; physical verification.
Getting Your Route Approved
Route approval process & guidelines; minor route changes.
Writing your route sheet; checking your route sheet.
Planning Your Route
Whilst there are many factors which contribute to a great event, a good route is fundamental. Designing a route for an Audax event is not always easy and can be daunting at first as you have to balance sometimes conflicting demands.
There is no single magic formula that describes the ideal route, but the sections below give some guidelines to help you on your way.
- It’s always good to plan an event in an area that you know well. Your local knowledge will help you decide which roads are best to cycle along, and when they are likely to be quiet. You’ll also know where the best views are.
- If you’re starting out, keep things simple. Start with an “out and back” or “circuit”
- Plan your route with potential control locations in mind from the outset. Designing a route and then attempting to fit controls to it afterwards rarely works well.
What Makes a Good Route?
Audax routes need to meet a number of requirements, some of which are more important than others. The ideal route would meet all of these requirements, but in most parts of the UK you will have to make compromises e.g. Easy navigation and good road surfaces are often sacrificed to avoid traffic.
MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS: YOUR ROUTE MUST
- Comply with Audax UK rules on distance and controls (see “Getting your Route Approved”).
PRIMARY REQUIREMENTS: YOUR ROUTE SHOULD
- Have low traffic volumes.
Taking into account the time of day, for example start a midweek 100 at 10am to avoid the rush hour; consider overnight traffic volumes on otherwise busy roads – they may be deserted and suitable for night riding.
- Be easy to navigate.
The challenge of the event should be in completing the distance; it is not supposed to be an orienteering exercise.
YOUR ROUTE MAY
- Take in particular points of interest or attractive scenery (But an intricate route with many controls will need a rethink)
- Have good road surfaces (unless it’s Off-Road/Rough Stuff)
- Use good cafes, pubs etc. for controls
- Include a bit of a challenge e.g. a challenging climb, or a distant destination
“When” riders will be riding your route is often as important as “where” it goes in the first place, and by considering the day and time of day you can often meet more of the above requirements without actually changing where your route goes.
In considering the timing of your event, remember that Audax UK events may be ridden by riders of widely varying abilities. Particularly with long events this means that riders will be riding the same section of the route at varying times.
Your route should not disadvantage either faster or slower riders (e.g. through forcing slower riders to negotiate heavy traffic which a faster rider would avoid or limiting control options). If in doubt plan for the slowest riders – they are invariably the ones who require the most support.
Basic Route Shapes
The essential points to remember are that the route between any two controls should be the shortest practical distance; the route should be simple enough that riders do not lose any significant time navigating; the overall distance should be close to the nominal distance. A favourite club-run may not be an ideal AUK route.
Audax Club Parisien advises that linear routes are preferred because they minimise the temptation to pack early. However, the UK is smaller and more densely populated than France, with busier roads, so AUK will tolerate multiple loops on longer events and other compromises.
The out-and-back is the classic audax route, riding to a distant destination via one or more intermediate controls and returning by the same route. Many classic events are simple out and back rides including Paris-Brest-Paris and London-Edinburgh-London.
- Out-and-back routes are the simplest to design and control
- They allow you to use the same control points for both directions, minimizing the number of controls (and potentially volunteers) you might need
- They get the riders the maximum distance away from the start, possibly into remote areas far from their familiar riding grounds.
- Discourages shortcutting to find a quick way home
- Some riders perceive these as being less “interesting”.
The circuit travels in a single loop, calling at each intermediate control once before heading back to base. The majority of audax routes today are like this, and there are a host of different variations on the theme, from elongated circuits to triangular, rectangular and circular routes.
- Allows more freedom to pick a scenic route.
- Offers riders new scenery throughout.
- Depending on terrain and the road network, an elongated circuit, triangular or rectangular route may not require many more controls than the out-and-back
- As routes become more complex additional controls are required. On any route if too many controls are required then a re-think is necessary.
- combines two or three circuits and/or out-and-backs (each finishing back at base) into a single event. Such routes can be popular on longer events (e.g. a 600 run as 400 + 200 loops), but should be avoided for shorter events. You must not repeat any significant part of a route during an event.
- Allows organisers to concentrate resources in a single control.
- Novice riders are re-assured that they are never very far from the start, and can short-cut back to the start if they have any problems.
- On longer rides, riders have access to change of clothes or equipment part way through the ride
- Routes of this type might require more controls. If too many controls are required then a re-think is necessary.
- Encourages riders to pack each time they return to the start/finish. Rides of this type tend to have higher than average non-finishing rates.
- Riders never get very far from the starting point and are likely to be riding on familiar roads the whole time (of course this could also be seen as an advantage by some!)
- offers the chance to cover the most territory but they can be logistically challenging both for riders and organisers. One way to organise such an event is to start and/or finish near train stations so as to facilitate travel to or from the start point.
Another way to mitigate the logistical challenge might be to organise two back-to-back events or a relay (a chain of multiple events).
All riders should essentially be "riding the same event" but in certain situations you may provide alternatives to parts of your route:
- In response to foreseeable conditions which may be unlikely but could occur on a given running of your event. (e.g. road closure for a weather related reason, or to avoid a restriction which may be difficult or impossible for non-standard machines)
- Where the alternative does not penalize riders arriving at a certain time. (i.e. neither faster nor slower riders must be forced to wait or ride further)
Audax events use controls to prove that riders stay on route and have successfully completed the event. The following sections provide guidelines for determining the location and type of controls to use for your routes.
Where to Place Controls
There are two factors determining how many controls you will need and where to place them:-
CONTROLLING FOR ROUTE INTEGRITY
he primary placement of controls should be to ensure the distance ridden is of the standard distance being validated by Audax UK (e.g. 200, 300km etc.) preventing any material shortcuts.
CONTROLLING FOR REST & REFRESHMENT
Where possible there should be food and refreshment available at or near a control. This becomes more important on longer events. If this is not possible then riders should be warned in advance to carry supplies.
The availability of suitable controls may well influence the design of your route.
Checkpoints and information controls are simple controls for distance only. For instance you might wish to create a dog-leg to keep riders off a busy main road. Keep information control answers simple and easily seen, but preferably not visible on Google Street-view.
Design your route so that it does not require too many controls. Convoluted routes which require excessive numbers of controls are inherently unsuited to Audax events. The table below gives a guide to how many controls to aim for (plus the start and finish).
|Distance||Distance between full controls||No of full controls||Total no of controls|
If you want to claim AAA points then you may need additional information controls or checkpoints in addition to the numbers above to guarantee the amount of climbing. However, if too many controls are required then a rethink is required.
Conversely you should also beware of having too great a distance between controls. Audax UK’s standard Risk Assessment is based on full controls being placed at intervals of approximately 50 – 100km. Shorter events are likely to have more closely spaced controls; longer events will generally have greater distances between controls. If you have controls spaced further apart than this you will need to consider this when completing your Risk Assessment.
Types of Controls
FULL CONTROLS,br />Have food, drink, shelter and toilets available to allow riders to rest, eat, drink and have their card stamped, timed and signed. At the most basic, this will be a garage or shop. Some larger events hire village halls and cater for riders themselves. Most commonly though controls are in cafés or pubs.
Most controls will specify a particular address, but you may also allow riders to choose their own control facility within the specified town (known as a free control). This allows the rider to eat at a cafe, grab a snack from a convenience store or simply collect an ATM receipt and move on according to their preference. This can also be useful where the control opening and closing times are not conducive to a single business being open and available for the full duration. Where you use free controls you should suggest possible control facilities on your route sheet.
Are unstaffed points that you can use to control the route. Use them sparingly. You cannot use information controls on any section of the route that is traversed more than once (e.g. on an out-and-back route section). Questions should be easy to answer, but preferably not visible on Google Street-view. Some organisers use coloured tape on lamp-posts or numbers in phonebox windows. The question should be on the brevet card but not on the routesheet.
If you run your event annually, then you will need to change any information control questions each time. You cannot use the same question two years in a row.
Are simple outdoor controls either staffed by a volunteer or two, generally in a lay-by or anywhere where it is safe to stop.
Are like checkpoints but their location/distance is not listed on the brevet card. These may be used on mandatory route events to ensure riders are following the prescribed route. The number of secret controls and their location is entirely up to the organiser but you should not tell the riders before the event. Stating that there may or may not be secret controls on the event will persuade most riders to follow the entire mandated route. Telling riders a false number of secret controls may cause them to backtrack looking for a non-existent control and should not be done.
Route Integrity & Shortest Distance
Having established your “on the road” distance, you need to ensure that your controls are correctly placed
to guarantee the distance ridden and prevent any material shortcuts. The shortest distance between your controls should be at least the nominal distance (e.g. a 200km event should be at least 200km), although a small tolerance is allowed (see “Getting your Route Approved”).
A visual check of your route marked up on a map will show up any obvious shortcuts, Google Maps (set to “walking” mode) is a reasonable way to check for the shortest route, but will need examining for any unrideable sections and other things such as vehicular one-way systems.
Do NOT use Google Maps set to “driving” modes as this will produce routes using major roads suitable for car drivers. Similarily, don’t be tempted to use “cycling” mode as this can produce some very convoluted variations.
By comparison of your shortest distance and the “on the road” distance you should be able to identify if there are any material shortcuts, and where they occur. You can then fine tune the location of your checkpoints and/or information controls to minimize any shortcuts – sometimes even small changes in locations can produce significant changes in your shortest distance.
You should aim to get the shortest distance between controls as near to the nominal distance as possible. A discretionary tolerance is permitted, to take into account inaccuracies in calculating the shortest distance (there’s no available method which will produce a definitive answer), and also to accommodate a degree of flexibility in route planning without requiring too many controls.
Planning your route on a computer doesn’t tell you anything about road surfaces, ease of navigation or traffic conditions (although facilities such as Google StreetView mean that the level of detail available from your armchair is increasing all the time). If there’s a section of your route that hasn’t been recorded by Google StreetView there’s a strong chance it may be a track or path unsuitable for cycling. The best way to do that is to get out and check your route on the ground. You can do this either by car or by bike (the best choice as roads can appear surprisingly different on a bike).
You should take care to ride the route during the same time of day and day of week (and in some cases the same season) as your event. This will allow you to judge traffic conditions, which may vary greatly.
Riding the route will highlight any issues that may not be apparent from maps. For example you may find that your planned route has a section of poor road surfaces; or is difficult to navigate because of a lack of signposts; or acts as a rat-run for rush hour or holiday traffic. It will also highlight any hazards which you will need to take account of when preparing your Risk Assessment.
This is a good chance to try alternative routes, to see what works best. Take your time with this, and don’t
get wedded to a route too early.
Getting Your Route Approved
Audax UK requires that all routes are approved whenever a new event or route is planned, or if major revisions are made to an existing route. The Events Team may also re-validate a route if minor changes have been made over a number of years.
Route Approval Process & Guidelines
STEP 1: ENTER YOUR CONTROLS
Enter your control locations into the Online Event Planner. At this stage you don’t need to identify actual questions for any information controls, just their locations. You need to provide enough information for all controls to enable your events delegate to identify the control location on a map (e.g. the name of a town or village or, if required, a grid reference coordinates number).
E-mail your events delegate when you’re ready to request that your route be checked. You will also need to supply your actual route with the controls clearly marked. A gpx file is the best way to do this.
You should submit your route to be approved at least 3 months before your event publishing deadline to allow time for any issues to be ironed out.
STEP 2: CHECK ROUTE
Your events delegate will check your route against the following criteria:
- The route is of a suitable design (i.e., not repeated passes over a single loop).
- The route is of sufficient length.
- If your event is to be BRM validated, the route is not more than 5% over the nominal distance.
- There are a suitable number of controls, correctly spaced.
- The controls are located to ensure route integrity and there are no material shortcuts
NOTE: The Events Team does not certify that the route is safe or actually passable for cyclists; or that it is pleasant to ride. These are unfeasible to evaluate without local knowledge or detailed information. When any of these issues are apparent, the Events Team may raise them with the organiser, but it is the responsibility of the organiser to design a safe, passable, appropriate route.
If your events delegate is unable to adequately check your route solely using your control locations as entered in the Online Event Planner, then they may ask you for more detail on your route:
- Exact locations of controls (Postcodes, Lat/Long and/or OS Grid References)
- Any additional notes on any apparent route integrity issues, explaining why additional controls aren’t required.
STEP 3: APPROVE / REJECT ROUTE
Your events delegate will approve or reject your route. If your route is marginal on any of the criteria then a consensus decision will be made with the rest of the Events Team. The Event Secretary’s decision is final in any such cases.
If your route is rejected, your events delegate will let you know where the problems are and why it is unsuitable, but they are NOT responsible for suggesting solutions – that is the responsibility of the organiser (and their mentor if appropriate).
3.5.2 Minor Route Changes
Once approved, you may make minor changes to the route without the need for further approvals.
- Moving a start/finish point or intermediate control to a nearby location (within 5km of the original point is reasonable)
- Re-routing for new road construction, changes to one-way systems etc.
- Re-routing to avoid temporary obstacles (e.g. closed bridges, roadworks or other road closures), so long as route integrity is not affected</li
Minor changes may add up to significant changes over the course of several years and the Events Team may re-validate your route if successive minor changes have been made over a number of years.
Writing Your Route Sheet
When you have created a likely looking route, you’ll need to draft your route sheet. These days you can usually get a pretty good first draft using online mapping services without even leaving your armchair:
- Plot your route on Google Maps (or another online mapping service – most use Google as their underlying mapping service). This will give you a basic cue sheet of directions. These won’t always correspond to actual junctions on the ground, so…
- By switching to satellite view and zooming in; or using Streetview you can identify junction priorities and signage to construct your draft route sheet.
At some point you do need to go and check your route out on the road – signposts get removed (and added) and road priorities changed over time, plus you’ll pick up on other useful directional clues by being there which aren’t always obvious online. Make sure you carry a pen and paper, a camera and an odometer. A GPS unit is useful, so take it if you have one and record your route.
As you ride the route, stop at each junction, and write down the instructions that would allow the riders to know where to go. Make a note as well of the distance since the last instruction. It may be worth taking a photo of the junction, so you can check your notes when you get home.
There is no approved way to write a route sheet. Some people like symbols, others prefer letters. For example, if you want people to turn left at a T junction, onto the B1023, and sign at the junction says ‘Bangor’, then you may write either: L@T (sp Bangor) B1023 or: ﬢ B1023 BANGOR
It’s up to you how you go about it, but here are a few tips.
- Use a sans-serif font, (i.e. one that has no ‘feet’); and a large font size. Arial 11 or 12 point is a good choice.
Use black type on a white background. Don’t use grey to highlight different lines, as some people
find this difficult to read.
- Keep it simple and don’t add too much information. Distance to each instruction and perhaps total distance are useful additions.
- If you have to use a busy junction or a road in very poor condition, you may wish to mark it on your route sheet or give a verbal warning at the start.
- Remember to acknowledge that your event is being run under Audax UK regulations. A copy of the Audax UK logo is available to use from the organisers' page.
- Print your route sheet on a laser jet printer or photocopier if possible. Most ink jet printer inks will
- run when they get wet.
- Increasingly, you will send most or all of your routesheets to riders via email or uploaded via the AUK website. You should make sure you’ve saved your routesheet in a suitable format that can be viewed by all riders, irrespective of the device or operating system they’re using. PDF is a universal format useable by all but it’s generally uneditable by the recipient without specific software.
- You might want to also consider making your routesheet available in an Open Document Format as some riders like to change the size of the font, colours, etc. to their own preferences.
Checking Your Route Sheet
When you’ve written your route sheet, check it by riding the route. Better still get somebody else to check it for you, as it’s hard not to ride a familiar route on autopilot.
Finally, check the route one last time, as close to the day of the event as possible. Roadworks can appear without warning (although local authorities will often announce road / bridge works in advance in local media and on the internet), and in the summer it’s common to find that foliage has grown over a sign that was clearly on view a few months earlier.
Route Sheet Format & Distribution
When you’ve finalised the text of your route sheet give some consideration to how it will be formatted and distributed. If you only send out route sheets by post then any software package that you are comfortable can be used. Many riders like to use route sheets of an A6 format (an A4 sheet folded into quarters) so stick with that if you can.
If you are sending route sheets electronically then you should make it available in PDF format, and again an A4 sheet divided into quarters is appreciated by many riders. Most office software will save (or 'export') its output as a PDF these days, so there is no need to purchase any special software for this.
Some riders prefer to re-format and re-print just about any format, sometimes colour coding, or making the font larger for better legibility. Consider offering your routesheet in Word or Excel format as well as PDF to ease the task of re-formatting.
Route Distribution for GPS Units
Organisers usually offer some form of file suitable to download directly onto a rider’s GPS unit.
If you decide to provide a GPS file to your riders it should:
- Be in the universally accepted GPS EXchange Format (.gpx file)
- Contain a GPS track (not a GPS ‘route’).
- Pass through all the controls.
- Follow exactly the same route as the instructions in your route sheet.
Whilst the above are the ‘golden rules’ there are other ways in which you can make your file useful to, and useable by, the greatest number of riders.
- Add ‘waypoints’ to the file to indicate the location of your controls.
- Each .gpx file should contain only a single track (some popular GPS units cannot cope with multiple tracks in the same file)
- Downsample the track to a maximum of 500 trackpoints for each 100km
- For longer events, you might wish to split the track into two or more tracks, but place each track in a separate file.
You can create your GPS track by recording your check ride and then downsampling it, however it is usually a better option to use an online mapping service such as Komoot or RideWithGPS. Giving your riders a link to your track hosted online at one of these allows them to tailor it to their own devices.
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