What is audax? Part 2

July 18, 2017

Don't be confused by the anglophone use of the word audax. What they mean is randonnée or sometimes brevet, but they aren't talking about a rolling peloton of consensus. We mean audax in the French sense of the term. 


Today, audax is mostly only practiced in France, where cyclotourisme pairs well with a national interest in regional geography. That and of course bicycles. Some of the clubs still running audax paced rides have been around for a century or more. 


Still, like most things in France, audax français actuel is as bureaucratic as racing. There are international rules (which are French) and official clubs (the majority of which are also French.) The trouble is that, since the French are the only practitioners, French audax is synonymous with audax. The "French" part is currently redundant. 


So, this is a call for a 21st century American expression of this classical cycling discipline. In the spirit of non-competitive challenge sports of the 19th century, we don't have to covet our fellow human's success; rather we should be inspired to also succeed on our own terms. In the case of audax cycling, finishing with our teammates is a feat which guarantees a certain amount of success for everyone involved. 

Here's some basics to get started:

  • You need at least four people to start, and you have to finish with at least three. One person is the designated road captain. It helps to have at least one "pacer." 

  • The route, checkpoints, and start time must all be decided before the day of the ride. If you start late, relax and enjoy your first unscheduled stop...
  • The entire ride, whatever the distance, should average between 20 and 25kph, including stops. That means from the planned start to actual stop. You must document all checkpoints on a sheet of paper.
  • Leave together, return together.
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