That's Rando: An insight into randonneuring

Have you ever noticed a group of cyclists who seem to ride rain or shine, day and night throughout the year? The ones who top the mileage rankings on Strava and who disappear for days on end on a “little bike ride”?

Those are the randonneurs.

And Seattle is the home of one of the most active rando clubs in the country, The Seattle International Randonneurs. We thought we would use this monthly feature to shed a little light on Randonneuring.

Randonneurs USA defines randonneuring as: “long-distance unsupported endurance cycling. This style of riding is non-competitive in nature, and self-sufficiency is paramount. When riders participate in randonneuring events, they are part of a long tradition that goes back to the beginning of the sport of cycling in France and Italy. Friendly camaraderie, not competition, is the hallmark of randonneuring.”

Randonneuring is not racing, but there are time limits. Randonneuring events typically start at 100 kilometers.

A Super Randonneur is someone who has completed a series of a 200-, 300-, 400-, and 600 kilometer rides.

The most famous ride for randonneurs is Paris Brest Paris, a 1200 kilometer event with a 90-hour time limit. This ride takes place every four years and will occur next in 2015. Thousands of cyclists from all over the globe participate in a tradition that goes back to the 1890s.

Randonneurs are a tremendously disparate group, and Seattle is home to some of the fastest and highest mileage riders in the world. We also have our share of people who just enjoy the camaraderie of the group and we have our share of riders who struggle to make the time cutoffs.

Randonneuring has been known as “cycling with paperwork.” There are seemingly obscure rules and requirements to certify that each rider completed the course within a time limit. It’s also been known as “riding for trinkets,” as there are tons of awards one can earn for accumulating various rides.

For more information about randonneuring, please visit:

If you think you would enjoy this sort of challenge, consider checking out the Seattle International Randonneurs. A good place to start would be a 100k daytime populaire. And be sure to come back next month for more That’s Rando insights!

 

Joe Platzner is a Randonneur and Cascade board member.