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Event Poster

Victorian lecture: Randonneurs attract women
by Raymond J. Parker

Victoria-area randonneurs held a well-attended information meeting, at the Emily Carr Branch of the Victoria public library, on March 16. The lecture covered a short history of the sport and focussed on opportunities for new riders in the upcoming BC Randonneurs 2006 schedule, beginning with the March 26 Nanaimo Populaire and the Mainland's April 2 Pacific Populaire.

I opened the event with my recollections of meeting four crazed cyclists in 1978 - John Hathaway, Dan McGuire, Gerry Pereja, and Wayne Philips - who would be the first B.C. "team" to enter PBP, the following year. Mike Poplawski gave a brief history of his initiation into the sport, followed by Jaye Haworth's perspective on participating in a male-dominated sport, which was much appreciated by new female faces. Though in the minority, it was gratifying to see women among the audience who wanted to find out "what's randonneuring all about?"

The penultimate event of the evening was a 15-minute video - a series of Paris-Best-Paris vignettes - edited by myself and Ray Sr. over a period of several days that echoed with shouts of "5-4-3-2-1, Cut!" and other, less printable, oaths. A professional editing suite may be in the cards. The resulting DVD set up a spirited question period and technical examination of bikes brought to the venue.

Where did the attendees come from? I announced the meeting via events calendars in newspapers and on TV. The latter resulted in a phone call from a producer who is interested in doing a feature report on randonneuring. And I plastered the Greater Victoria area with posters — in bike stores, coffee shops, sports rehab clinics, book stores, the university, etc. But it seems that many were alerted to the event via e-mail, listservs, computer bulletin boards, etc.

This is not to say the postering effort was in vain though. In the week after the event, I met 3 potential new member/participants (all women) who had noticed the posters in various locations and, though they couldn't attend the lecture, had made a mental note of the club. Ken Bonner also ran into a woman cyclist (not literally, though he was into the final miles of a double-century day!) who had also planned to attend. So the posters had planted a seed that only required a bit of post-event irrigation.

It should be noted that the eye-catching poster was also the creative work of Jaye Haworth, who took a photo I made (of a paceline led by Karen Smith) at last spring's Gold River 600 and turned it into a bold advertisement for randonneurs' legendary endurance: Randonneurs do it longer!


March 23, 2006