Brevet? Populaire? Audax?
Randonneuring. I am trying to decipher it-- AND to pronounce it! (It's French.)
Previously, all I knew of randonneuring was that it involved riding a very long way and that randonneuring bicycles usually sported one of those tiny front racks to support a big, boxy canvas handlebar bag. And matching frame pumps. All randonneurs must have a matching frame pump.
And check it out, a quick Google Image Search got me this picture:
Obviously, they are missing their matching frame pump (which are AWESOME, don't get me wrong!). But I wanted to find out-- what is randonneuring, REALLY?
I discovered the Seattle International Randdoneurs. Or rather, I have discovered their website and web crawled over nearly every inch of it. So my renewed impression of randonneuring is this: WHY HAVEN'T I BEEN DOING THIS?!
Randonneuring is something in-between a race and a tour. It's not competitive,
per se, but there is a time cut (if you want a pretty medal). And you're not carrying 50 pounds of gear so that you can spend the night, but you are equipped with a light load so as to be self-sufficient. As the S.I.R web site puts it:
And if that didn't sound inviting enough, try this:
Participation in randonneuring events is part of a long tradition that goes back to the beginning of the sport of cycling in France and Italy. Friendly camaraderie and perseverance are the hallmarks of randonneuring.
Meet the randonneurs: riders who enjoy riding so much they don't want to stop. Randonneurs ride long distances, on beautiful courses, with nice people. The rides are unsupported, so you carry what you need or buy it along the way. (But usually, somebody in a car is on the course and makes sure everybody is OK.) Our events usually draw a few dozen people, and we are a friendly bunch, so you'll make friends in no time.So.. Randonneuring, as I understand it.. means riding a long way, with fun people, in beautiful places, and occasionally getting a medal for it.
Sign me up!