A rando take on Velomanti
1. Obey the rules.
2. Lead by Example
But if it's wet, have a fender and buddy flaps.
3. Guide the Uninitiated
4. It's all about the bike next control
The bike carries you there, food propels you, the clock drives you, but it's all about getting to the next control.
Anything beyond the next control is theoretical.
5. Harden the Fuck Up
Harden the Fuck Up.
6. Free your mind and your legs will follow
While on a brevet, your mind should be on the clock, the road in around you, and the next one or two turns.
7. Tan Lines shall be cultivated and kept razer sharp
Well nobody really cares, and half the time they'll be covered by wool.
8. Saddles, bars, and tires shall be carefully matched
Styles are fads, while audax is timeless. Select saddles and bars for comfort (see rule 44), and tires to minimize stop time.
9. If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period
10. It never gets easier, you just go faster.
11. Family does not come first. The bike does.
12. The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
13. If you draw race number 13, turn it upside down.
14. Shorts should be black.
15. Black shorts should also be worn with leader’s jerseys.
Matchy matchy kits like SIR may be worn, but avoid combining pink highlighted shorts with a classy jersey like LEL wool. Exceptions if you either have substantial fashion sense or earned panache, in which case perhaps you can pull it off.
16. Respect the jersey.
Applies for rando-specific jerseys such as La Société Adrian Hands, Super Randonneur, London Edenborough London, Paris Brest Paris etc.
17. Team kit is for members of the team.
Wearing a Rando club jersey is questionable if you do not belong to said club. Exceptions are a foreign club jersey you traded for at an international event, or if you previously belonged to and maintain good relations with the club.
18. Know what to wear. Don’t suffer kit confusion.
No race club kits, pro team kits, or Red Bull gear should be worn. Jerseys advertising non-rando accomplishments are out of place on a brevet. Exceptions are jerseys advertising audax related products like beer (foreign, dark), coffee, or French constructeur bicycles. When in doubt, consider if a group of randos drinking coffee at a stop will clearly be able to distinguish you from normies as you approach.
19. Introduce Yourself.
20. There are only three five remedies for pain.
Add to the list:
Coffee and Pastries consumed at a roadside table between Paris and Brest is not only allowed, but is a ritual every rando must aspire to enjoy.
21. Cold weather gear is for cold weather.
Keeping min mind cold weather may happen over the extended time period of your ride, cold weather gear may need to be stowed for later usage. Stowing cold weather gear on your body is reasonable, and very rando.
22. Cycling caps are for cycling.
23. Tuck only after reaching Escape Velocity.
Descending is an opportunity to re-establish blood flow to your arse without losing too much time, thereby maximizing sleep and reducing the chances of a DNF. Techniques may include the bolt-upright one-weighted-leg stance, arse-up nose-down tuck (to keep contact with the group), or a simple weight shift.
24. Speeds and distances shall be referred to and measured in kilometers.
Distances can be vaguely discussed as miles, but when numbers are provided, kilometers must be utilized. Such as, "I had 15 kilometers of bonus miles today because I screwed up at the first control."
25. The bikes on top of your car should be worth more than the car.
If you have a car, it is as irrelevant as you are whilst driving. Preferably you've ridden to the start of the ride, and will ride home. Cyclotouring from one Grand Tour to another on your brevet bike, such as from London Edenborough London to Super Brevet Scandinavia, elevates you to cycling god status.
26. Make your bike photogenic.
Official control photos should show your bike, your face, and something in the background identifying the location per the brevet card. Unofficial photos shall show some feature conveying the epic nature of your journey. Per rule 96, unofficial photos taken between 1am and 4am have no requirements, and may indeed be a blurred snap of your left elbow.
27. Shorts and socks should be like Goldilocks.
Rather nonsensical but harmless rule may stay.
28. Socks can be any damn colour you like.
Obvious rule is obvious.
29. No European Posterior Man-Satchels.
Luggage must be in good repair. Worn and faded is desirable, and neat but visible repairs are very rando. Obvious yet effective temporary roadside repairs, made with found materials, demonstrate your resourcefulness, skills, and unbending will to finish no matter what as per rule 108.
30. No frame-mounted pumps.
Flat repair kits must be capable of repairing the number of flats you will have on the ride, be it a Populaire or a Grand Brevet. Knowing the number of flats you will have is your problem. Overestimating is very rando, underestimating means you are a helpless racerboy who needs a support vehicle.
31. Spare tubes, multi-tools and repair kits should be stored in jersey pockets.
All gear must be stowed as to be readily accessed. Your buddies don't need to see your wool jersey unpacked whilst you dig for your flat repair, nor do they need to see your spare non-drive side crankarm whilst you retrieve your rain gloves.
32. Humps are for camels: no hydration packs.
Water should be carried on the bike. Extra bottle holders may be added as needed based on distance between water sources. Exceptions may be made if unexpected hot weather occurs during a brevet, in which case jersey pockets may be employed to hold purchased water. Rule 105 dictates what weather to expect, mitigating surprises.
33. Shave your guns.
Those who shave their legs for cultural reasons unrelated to cycling are welcome into the big tent of randonneuring. Racerboys with shaved legs may ride brevets but are expected to reach controls and complete all control activities before control opening time, and patiently await such time before departing.
34. Mountain bike shoes and pedals have their place.
Expect to see roadie shoes, mtb shoes, toe clips, sandals, hiking boots, and tennis shoes. Footwear must enable you to navigate whatever comes your way. That may mean shifting bikes through downed trees, climbing muddy embankments, or walking the muddy hallways of the Brest control in search of the elusive toilette (hint: it's in the other damn building, up the stairs, down a long hallway, on the right). Removing roadie foot wear to scale the muddy embankment on the Oregon SR600 is acceptable, if you can pull it off without fanfare.
35. No visors on the road.
Helmet visors or baseball caps may be utilized for rain protection, sun protection, or blocking blinding headlights of oncoming cars. These items may be worn throughout the ride, since they need to be carried anyway. If you're worried how they look when not needed you may stow them (see rule 31). However, if such concerns about appearances dominate your behavior, apply rule 99.
36. Eyewear shall be cycling specific.
Nobody gives a shit about your eyewear.
37. The arms of the eyewear shall always be placed over the helmet straps.
Prescription glasses' arms under because helmet goes on and off without removing prescription glasses. Non-prescription shades go over, to facilitate shade removal without requiring helmet removal. Randos may be stupid, but they are practical.
38. Don't play leap frog
... on a 200k. Whereas on a 300k and over, the truth comes out and cannot be denied.
39. Never ride without your eyewear.
See Rule 36.
40. Tires are to be mounted with the label centered over the valve stem.
Indeed. Roadside flat repairs require finding the cause, and label orientation facilitates this endeavor.
41. Quick-release levers are to be carefully positioned.
42. A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
A brevet should be preceded with coffee and followed with beer, or suitable non-alcoholic substitute. A marathon run between day 1 and day 2 of a 600k is super badass.
43. Don’t be a jackass.
Jackasses will be dropped. Not on a climb or a sprint, but while in the bathroom.
44. Position matters.
Although for very different reasons. See rule 33 for racerboy expectations. Other riders should adjust saddles and handlebars just so, to maximize the uprightness of their posture off-bike at controls.
45. Slam your stem.
If you must carry a spare stem due to a stem failure in your past, ensure rule 31 is followed. For fitting, see rule 44.
46. Keep your bars level.
Drop bar positioning and angle should be arrived at incrementally over years, enabling you to ride 600km to Brest into a headwind, meander around the various buildings in a semi-upright position, then ride 600km into a headwind back to Paris. Whilst your posture back in Paris should enable enough function to complete finishing activities, you should not look so perfectly normal as to be annoying.
47. Drink Tripels, don’t ride triples.
Underbiking, overbiking, or blatantly inappropriate equipment selection is acceptable in the big tent, if you pull it off. For bragging behavior, see rule 106. For drinking guidelines, see rule 20.
48. Saddles must be level and pushed back.
Saddle position must be in perfect harmony with bar position. See rule 46.
49. Keep the rubber side down.
50. Facial hair is to be carefully regulated cleaned at controls.
At controls, insects and food particles should be brushed from all body hair before interacting with the public. Info controls are clearly exempt. Rule 96 applies.
51. Livestrong wristbands are cockrings for your arms.
Be cautious in following social trends and putting celebrities on a pedestal. Current hardman LeMond was derided in previous iterations of The Rules due to the nasty criticism of a now-despised Texan. See rule 18 for advertising.
52. Drink in moderation enough.
Don't run out of water. Dehydration hinders digestion and leads to stomach issues, and is hard to recover from. Drink when you see someone else drink, when you see a water tower, when you think about drinking, when you think about peeing, and when you realize you haven't peed for a while. If you think about drinking at the top of this climb, don't wait: have a drink now, and at the top of the climb.
53. Keep your kit clean and new
Aspire to wash your kits in a Paris laundrette, an experience in language, technology, and patience. Old kits in good repair show your long term commitment to the sport, which is very rando and thus cool.
54. No aerobars on road bikes. Follow ACP rules for equipment
Equipment rules should follow Audax Club Parisien (ACP) rules for PBP, even if riding a 200k in Kansas. As rules do change, the rules in place for the previous PBP are in force for the following four years.
55. Earn you turns
Net changes in ride elevation, from start to finish, are dictated by the ride organizer, who must always be respected. Rides with net positive elevation gain, such as the Crater Lake 1200's 4k feet gain, are braggable if said bragging is done per rule 107 e.g. can you believe I was so stupid as to sign up for a 1200k that had a net gain of 4k feet?
56. Espresso or macchiato only
Any coffee will do.
57. No Stickers
Attempts to disguise the value of your rando bike by plastering it with grunge/I Voted/Coexist/Chiquita stickers are doomed to failure, and adds useless weight (as opposed to useful weight, like fenders, spare wool, spare tubes, rain gear, and select spare parts).
58. Support your local bike shop when possible
Online purchases are allowed after exhausting local bike shops and ensuring they cannot comprehend anything outside their target racerboy/BMX/MTB/E-bike target demographic.
59. Hold your line.
Inability to do so indicates the need for sleep. Pull out our your emergency and have a ditch nap. See rule 111.
60. Ditch the washer-nut and valve-stem cap.
... Exception if you have within your skillset the ability to convert a Presta cap into a Schrader adapter enabling accepting assistance from a remote gas station or friendly farmer.
61. Like your guns, saddles should be smooth and hard.
Your relationship with your saddle is deeply personal, and not subject any opinion other than that of your butt. Negative comments about the vintage, condition, brand, or material of your saddle are to be silently ignored. On the other hand, any positive remarks about saddle comfort from an ancien or ancienne should be listed to attentively, and added to your list of Things To Try.
62. You shall not ride with earphones.
63. Point in the direction you’re turning.
64. Cornering confidence increases with time and experience.
65. Maintain and respect your machine.
Addendum: Be aware that if your bike is noisy, particularly if you have an annoyingly loud hub and a tendency to coast, your mates are contemplating how and when to murder you. The likelihood of these plans coming to fruition increases with with their level of sleep deprivation.
66. No Mirrors bigger than this
Form a circle with your middle finger and thumb. Helmet mirrors large than this may be goofy. Glasses mirrors are to be avoided due to the occasional need to remove glasses in rainy or steamy conditions.
67. Do your time in the wind
Understand global cycling etiquette, and your position therein. Danes are the best wheels to follow and Americans the worst. French riders will sit up and refuse to work if you're even 1km back, and Italians prefer to ride abreast taking the road from shoulder to shoulder.
68. Rides are to be measured by quality, not quantity.
Rides under 600k shall be discussed in terms of weather faced, flats repaired, roadside repairs affected, food consumed, headwind miles, and bonus miles (see Rule 24 for the latter two). For rides of 600k or longer, hallucinations and hours of sleep may also be discussed.
69. Cycling shoes and bicycles are made for riding and anything else required to finish.
Situations may demand dismounting the bike and rolling or carrying it around, over, or through obstacles. This may be downed trees, washed out roads, missing bridges, farm field detours around road construction, or flooded roads. The latter shall only be navigated if the water is still, and if the center road stripe is clearly visible through the muck. The bicycle itself may be utilized as a climbing aid whilst scaling a muddy embankment.
70. The purpose of riding competing is to win finish.
The purpose of starting a brevet is to finish within the time limit. Any time between your actual finish time and your finish control close time is time lost to the universe.
71. Train Properly
Training for a 300k is done by riding a 200k. Training for a 400k is done by riding a 300k. And so on. Other rides may be ridden for enjoyment or transportation, but they are not training.
72. Legs speak louder than words
But lack of sleep is a suitable and effective substitute for speed.
73. Gear and brake cables should be cut to optimum length.
74. V Meters or small computers only.
Know how to use the basic tools for navigation, which are paper cue sheet, watch, and dead reckoning. Once sufficiently skilled, cyclocomputers and GPS units may be utilized to reduce stop time and bonus miles. Using redundant layers of navigation is very rando.
75. Race numbers are for races. Frame badges are for events.
Frame badges and helmet numbers shall be removed upon completion of the event. Exceptions are made if you are riding home from the event (which you should do), whether home is your actual home or a postage-stamp sized 3rd floor hotel room in Paris with no A/C and no functioning elevator.
76. Helmets are to be hung from your stem utilized as locks.
When venturing into a convenience store control for liquid and sustenance, your helmet should be clipped around your front wheel in expectation that it will discourage a bike thief from stealing your $5k machine.
77. Respect the earth; don’t litter.
Trash can also be stashed up the leg of your shorts, in your bar-mitts, or just below your waistband if wearing shorts.
78. Remove unnecessary gear
The goal of every randonneur shall be to ride the next PBP. As such, your machine should be equipped for PBP as you are testing out the gear.
79. Fight for your town lines
Sprinting for town lines has sufficient history to be considered rando. However, once you sprint for that first town line you are committed to sprint for every town, county, state, country, or province line encountered throughout the remainder of the ride. Choose wisely.
80. Always be Casually Deliberate.
Rule 96 applies, of course.
81. Don't talk it up
82. Close the gap
Mind the time gap between your position on the road and your control close times. Build up enough gap, and you can sleep. Nothing else really matters.
83. Be Self-sufficient
Be prepared to either fix whatever breaks, to walk to the next town for repairs, or to convince locals to provide a ride once you are no longer on the clock. See rule 108.
84. Follow the code
85. Descend like a pro.
Risks taken descending should depend on your station in life. If young with career and/or family responsibilities in your future, descend with appropriate caution. If old with good life insurance and/or nest egg for your significant other, descend in full-on maniac mode, using your GPS at night to spot oncoming hairpin turns.
86. Don't half wheel
87. The ride starts on time. No Exceptions.
Although pandemic rules allow a time window for starting, on time means any time within that window as agreed with your mates.
88. Don't surge
89. Pronounce it correctly
And don't be a wanker by giggling like a middle schooler when you say Brest.
90. Never get out of the big ring.
Gearing, like saddles, is a deeply personal matter best not discussed. If you're struggling up a climb in your bottom gear at 40rpm and your buddy is spinning up without a care in the world, consider your life decisions and before the next brevet make adjustments as necessary. Rule 58 applies.
91. No Food On Training Rides Under Four Hours.
As stated, your goal as a randonneur is to complete Paris Brest Paris. To that end, your goal for every brevet is to finish the ride fueled and hydrated for another 100k, no matter how knackered you may be.
92. No sprinting from the hoods
Randonneuring is, by definition, doing stupid things with friends. Sprinting while randonneuring is stupid upon stupid, as is any form of burning matches. Nonetheless, although you may sprint for town lines (see rule 79) it's doubtful anyone watching would realize you are sprinting so hand placement is irrelevant.
93. Descents are not for recovery. Recovery Ales are for Recovery
Deciding whether to pedal downhill requires weighing the warming effects of pedaling against the cooling effects of additional speed, a calculation that, let's face it, if you were smart enough to execute you wouldn't be a randonneur. Note this applies to both cold and hot situations. In a sleep deprived state there really is no hope, so just stupidly pick a strategy and go with it.
94. Use the correct tool for the job, and use the tool correctly.
Addition: Exceptions when making roadside repairs, where rule 108 dictates you fix your machine any way possible or impossible, no matter what tools or parts you have or do not have. Making repairs with found items along the road is very rando, and braggable as described in rule 107.
95. Never lift your bike over your head.
If you can lift your bike over your head after a brevet, you are not carrying enough crap.
Additional rando specific rules
96. Wee hour exception
All rules here are suspended between the hours of 1am and 4am, when it is expected you are too sleep deprived to understand anything but official brevet rules, and physically incapable of doing anything but pedaling your bike.
97. Wear wool or shut up
Wool is the preferred material for jerseys and socks. If you wear something else, don't complain about being cold.
98. When in Rome
When in France, do as the French. Don't lose your shit if you see the opposite gender in the restroom. Standard restroom protocol of keeping your eyes on your business applies.
99. Shred your ego
Your ego must be left whimpering and cold in a ditch, never to be seen again. Until this happens, you can ride brevets but are not a randonneur.
100. Get on the bike and ride
While stopped at a control, to prevent the shivers from becoming the deep shivers, quickly get back on the bike and ride hard. Failing to do this will incapacitate you while the deep shivers do their job of warming you up, or you die. This will take time.
101. Don't engage the normies
Normies shall be ignored, as you are on your ride and they theirs. Under no circumstances should you chase, follow, ride with, or attempt to stay ahead of a normie. See rule 18 for normie identification. A nod or friendly verbal exchange is acceptable, if the social situation demands.
102. Keep the conversations believable
When asked by a normie or citizen how far you are riding, state the distance to the next control. In kilometers, per rule 24. Avoid identifying the daily or total brevet distance because you are on the clock, and clock time should not be wasted with the inevitable discussion.
103. Bank time, don't waste time
When stopped at controls, you should be either eating, drinking, purchasing, napping, performing bike maintenance, or on BM business. Avoid standing in line at all costs. Socializing may be done concurrently with these activities. An exception is if you are going for LSAH and have too much time in the bank.
104. Carry enough shit, but don't go off the deep end
Caution must be exercised when growing your repair kit. If the threaded insert became separated from your carbon crankarm on a brevet, it may be preferable to select a more proven if ancient technology, rather than adding a spare crankarm to your kit.
105. Be prepared
On a 200k, be prepared for temperatures 5 degrees hotter and 5 degrees colder than forecast. This range increases with distance, or with elevation or coastal regions. Expect rain, always. Know the region you're riding in, as local climate may dictate a broader range of possibilities.
106. Listen to your ride organizer
If you've been warned of a cold descent on day 4, don't ditch your cold weather gear after 3 days of blazing heat. If you ignore road closure warnings and proceed anyway, be prepared to follow rule 107.
107. Bragging about bonus miles is allowed
See rule 24. As long as you admit the stupid decision you made that led to the incident, brag away. Sleep deprivation or locals turning signs to Paris may be cited, but do not alleviate your stupidity. When done well, both bonus miles and earned stupidity can be bragging points.
108. Do not quit until the clock says you're disqualified
Whilst on a brevet, you are on the clock until you've missed a control cutoff and DNFd, preferably conveyed to you by a ride official. See rule 109. Even if you are in the hospital being x-rayed, if the clock says you're good, you're still on the clock. While on the clock, your single-minded purpose is to finish within the time limit.
109. Stop thinking and pedal the bike
While sleep deprived, trust no thinking other than left, right, straight, stop, and pedal. Especially pedal. Do no attempt to calculate control times, required speeds, or what day it is. Considering your inability to self-recognize sleep deprivation, these guidelines are best followed anytime you find yourself on a bicycle.
110. Park the bike pointing in the direction of travel.
Per rule 109, avoid behaviors that require future thought. Always park your machine pointing in the direction of travel. One does not want to return to Paris without first having visited Brest.
111. Place your bike deliberately when taking a ditch nap.
Lean your bike in a photogenic pose, following rule 110, to counter the ungainly appearance of your sprawled body. Otherwise your nap will be repeatedly interrupted by passersby inquiring if you are okay. Unless of course you are Italian, in which case you ooze style and panache even while ditch napping.