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The Fundamental Randonneur Rules
1. Age restrictions: A rider must be at least 14 years old to ride with an adult who must also be entered in the event. A rider must be at least 17 years old to ride alone with signed parental approval. A rider must be at least 19 years old to ride without parental approval. (Note: The age restrictions are eased somewhat for the populaires.)
2. Riders must obey all traffic laws.
3. In accordance with BC law all cyclists must wear approved helmets at all times during the ride. Riders observed riding without a helmet will be disqualified.
4. Equipment... Bicycles must be in safe working order. A bright front light (which clearly illuminates the road at least 5 meters in front of the bike) and a red rear light are mandatory, and both must be attached to the bike - no lights means no ride. Riding at night without proper lighting and reflective clothing will result in disqualification. Riders should have backup lighting systems and should carry spare batteries. There may be inspections before any event to ensure that the minimum equipment requirements are met. Organizers may refuse rider participation because of equipment violations, or may assess a time penalty. Lights are not required on rides shorter than 200 km. [Fenders were required for many years, but this has changed - fenders and mudflaps are now optional.]
5. Personal ID must be carried at all times. This is especially important on rides which cross over into Washington state - bring your passport.
6. For rides over 200 km, a rider must qualify at a shorter distance before attempting the next longer ride. A rider who has completed a distance in a previous season may advance to the next one in the current season without doing the shorter qualifier(s). (Exceptions may be made to this rule, but only with the prior approval of the ride organizer and the regional route coordinator.)
7. Each rider is provided with a 'control card' which must be stamped or signed, with the time clearly printed, at 'controls' staffed by volunteers or at designated businesses throughout the ride. There may also be 'information controls' - unstaffed check points where riders write down the answer to a question appearing on the control card. Each control has an opening and closing time. These are printed on the control cards. Control cards must be signed by the rider and handed in at the finish, or for some rides mailed in later, as proof of completion. There may be 'secret controls' on any brevet to ensure that riders are riding on the prescribed route, and within the prescribed time window.
8. Each rider should be self sufficient. No following cars or personal support of any kind are permitted on the course. Personal support is only allowed at controls. Any violation of this requirement will result in immediate disqualification. Assistance such as receiving help in changing a tire or borrowing tools from a fellow participant, from a ride official or even from a passing moterist is not forbidden. (For a fuller exploration of this rule see the Understanding the No En Route Support Rule discussion - below)
9. Riders who stray off course must get back on to the route where they left it.
10. There are minimum and maximum times for the completion of rides at each distance. These times include all stops:
There are also corresponding opening and closing times at each of the controls along the route. The start control will remain open for one hour after the start. A late starting rider must make up the lost time - he/she must have passed through the first control by its closing time.
11. Ride organizers may at any time issue time penalties, or disqualify riders for violations of the BC Motor Vehicle Act, for violating BC Randonneurs rules, or for unsportsmanlike conduct.
12. To qualify as a BC Randonneurs brevet a route must start in BC.
Understanding the Time Limits
The opening and closing times for each control are listed on the control card. Those times are a reflection of a "time window" that exists at all points along the route. Being caught outside this time window can result in disqualification. Traditionally there have been no disqualifications for speedy cyclists who arrive at a control before its opening time. These riders must, of course, wait for the control to open before having their cards stamped and timed. At the other edge of the time window however, riders must be more diligent - riders should be sure to leave controls before the closing time. A helpful way to think about this rule is to imagine that a secret control, with its own closing time, might be anywhere on the route. If there is a secret control immediately after a designated control, and a rider leaves the designated control late, this rider will have already missed the closing time of the secret control. In short, you should always be ahead of any hypothetical secret control's closing time. Riding outside the time limit will not result in disqualification if there is no control. This is notably relevant in the case of a late starting rider. A rider may leave the starting control up to an hour after the official start time. To begin with the rider will, of course, be outside the time window, but in this case the time can legitimately be made up on the course. The late starting rider must, however, be through the next control by its closing time.
Is there ever a legitimate reason to arrive late at a control? Randonneur rules world wide are vague on this question. The 2007 English language PBP rules states: "Only a serious material incident will be accepted as justification for any late arrival; the time must, in any case, be recovered at least within one or two controls further on." BC Randonneurs considers "serious material incident" to include, for example, assisting a crashed rider get to a hospital, and helping out at the scene of a traffic accident. It does not include delays resulting from bike or equipment failure. Nor does it include delays resulting from a rider injury or other physical problems.
There is a fairly involved formula for
calculating the opening and closing times of controls. This is
something you will never have to worry about unless you are designing
a new route or proposing changes in existing routes. The specifics
of this can be found on a separate page: Click
Understanding the No En Route Support Rule
Support vehicles are not allowed to help riders between controls. Although randonneurs are expected to be self-sufficient, riders can receive help (repair assistance, tubes, tools, food, etc) from other riders in the event, other passing cyclists, or anyone else, provided that the help is not coming from personal support. A rider can, for example, receive a tube or an emergency power gel from a ride volunteer or official who happens to be out driving around the course.
The rules for dealing with a major mechanical problem between controls, like a collapsed wheel or broken frame, are the same as for minor problems. If a rider can obtain a bike or wheel out on the course, including from a helpful stranger, a passing motorist or ride official, the rider can legitimately continue the ride. A rider can not call or in some other way arrange to have a new bike or bike part delivered anywhere other than to a control. To be clear, it is not the use of a cell phone, or other device, that is the problem, it is the use of these means to arrange assistance that happens out on the course.
A participant in a randonneur event cannot
ride in the slipstream of someone who has planned to be on the
route for the purpose of pacing the participant. A participant
can, however, ride side by side or in front of a non-registered
friend or companion rider for a reasonable, limited time during
an event. (This concession is directed particularly at women
randonneurs who might have safety concerns about riding alone
at night. The ride organizer must be advised of this sort of
arrangement.) If a participant happens by chance to run in to
other cyclists out on the road, a limited amount of shared drafting,
which is natural in this situation, is acceptable. Extensive
drafting, however, from a non participant is not permitted, and
can be grounds for disqualification.
Alternate Day Brevets - The Volunteer Pre-ride
Officially there are no alternate day brevets in the sport of Randonneur Cycling. Here is how BC Randonneurs defines a brevet:
A brevet is a ride starting at a designated time and place, on a designated day, following a designated route.
Riders will be aware, however, that there is an exception to this rule in BC - the organizer's and volunteer's pre-ride. This ride, usually one week before the official ride, allows a brevet organizer and other ride-day volunteers to preview the route: check the accuracy of the route sheet, discover road changes and closures as well as hazards and construction. The organizing team will also be given credit for the brevet. Only the ride organizer and ride-day volunteers are permitted to join the pre-ride. There is only one pre-ride for an event, and typically the participants ride together.
Permission to participate in the volunteer pre-ride is granted by the organizer only to riders whose contribution on the official ride day is necessary and significant. Volunteers who provide non event-day help (promotion, printing route sheets) must ride on event day to get credit for the ride. The pre-ride is not to be used as a means of accommodating the personal scheduling conflicts of volunteers. A volunteer who rides the pre-ride and does not show up on ride day will be disqualified.
Is this rule absolute? Under some very
special circumstances (one was a volunteer's request to attend
a funeral), some volunteers and organizers have in the past been
given credit for a pre-ride without being present on event day.
These circumstances are rare, and the decision is the regional
rides coordinator's, not the ride organizer's.
And What Do I Do With this Brevet Card?
There are also some rules about what to do with your brevet card after the ride to make sure your successfully completed brevet is recognized by the club and internationally by ACP (Audax Club Parisien) in France.
Brevet records are closed on the Monday of the 2nd week following the ride. For example, a brevet held on Saturday the 14th is closed on Monday the 23rd. A brevet held on Sunday the 15th is also closed on Monday the 23rd.
If the finishing control is staffed (and this is the case for almost all one-day events) a rider simply turns in the brevet card and everything will be taken care of by the ride organizer. It is the ride organizer's responsibility to ensure that all completed brevet cards are in the hands of the database manager by the closing date for their brevet. Organizers should be aware that rides for which the cards are received after the closing date will not be credited: for the sake of their riders, organizers should submit the brevet cards promptly.
For events with unstaffed finish controls,
it is the rider's responsibility to ensure that the completed
brevet card is in the hands of the database manager by the closing
date for the brevet. Brevet organizers must provide clear instructions
to this effect on the route sheet, including the name, address
and phone number of the database manager. The present database
manager is Cheryl Lynch.
A rider is entitled to one finisher's pin
per distance (brevets distances only: 200, 300, 400, 600, &
1000 km) per year. Some riders have requested a second pin after
finishing a distance for a second time. For riders who have successfully
completed multiple brevets at the same distance, additional pins
can be purchased for $5 from pin coordinator Karen Smith if there
are pins left over at the end of the season.
Qualifying for Paris Brest Paris
To qualify for Paris Brest Paris a rider
must complete a 200, 300, 400, and 600 km brevet series in the
PBP year. Rides must be completed by early June. The next PBP
is in August 2015. Assuming the same qualification policy as used for PBP 2011, for the qualification of PBP 2015 riders who
complete brevets in 2014 will be given early registration
privileges. Riding a 1000 km brevet in 2014 will give you the earliest