Audax rides are organized in UK by Audax UK. Their website is www.aukweb.net. All membership information and events are shown there as is a wealth of other information.
Audax rides are not races. They are normally of distances from 50km to 600km. Distances over this are usually special events such as Paris-Brest-Paris, which is 1200km and London-Edinburgh-London at 1400km.
Entry is in advance and the fee is relatively small at between £5 and £10. Special events often cost a lot more, around £75 to £100.
You have to follow a prescribed route that you are sent by the organizer before the event. Usually entries on the day are not allowed as this would cause logistical problems. Control points are placed at approximately 50km distances for food and shelter, as well as card stamping to prove you have been there. During a ride there is no back up for mechanical or physical failure as you have to be self sufficient between controls. That is why on longer events some luggage has to be carried as explained below.
If you are a regular club rider you should find a 200km Audax a “comfortable challenge”.
The secret is to build up progressively through 100km, 200km, 300km then 400km and 600km events. If you complete a 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km in one year you will become a Super Randonneur.
You can ride whatever bike, trike or recumbent you like, providing it is roadworthy. Some organisers require that mudguards are fitted so you need to check this before entering. Comfort and reliability are key elements, followed by as light a weight as possible.
Road style garments are preferable because they are close fitting and flap less in the breeze. Carry gloves and a hat for cooler weather. Keep knees and legs covered unless it is quite warm. It can get very cold at night even in Summer.
Take everything you need and nothing that you do not need. Do not forget essential items. It is not a good idea to carry tools in your pockets as they can make an additional mess of you body should you fall. Similarly, avoid carrying any bag on your back even if they are “designed for cycling”.
A lightweight stripped down bike (shown opposite) is fine for up to 200km rides in Summer, as lights are not required and mudguards should not be as the weather should be dry. However, riding a 200km in the rain without mudguards can be very unpleasant both for you and anyone following!
For longer distances you probably need a slightly different bike. A typical long distance Audax bike is shown here. It is equipped with mudguards and there is also a rack and bag for carrying extra clothing, spares, food and tools.
It has LED rear lights which are lightweight and reliable. Front lights can be battery or dynamo driven (as shown here with a hub dynamo). It is a matter of choice.
Both bikes have twin bottle cages as it is important to carry enough fluid for rehydration between controls, although it is permitted to stop anywhere along a route to buy food and drink. However you cannot always be certain to find somewhere to buy these items and at night it is virtually impossible.
Routes are always on open roads and you must comply with the rules of the road. Routes can be high and exposed with steep hills. Some roads may have pot holes and poorly maintained surfaces so very light narrow section tyres are not a good choice. 25C is a good compromise between rolling resistance and robustness.