What is Audax?
Audax Australia Cycling Club is a non profit national cycling organisation specialising in non-competitive long distance bicycle rides from 50 to 1200 km, called "randonnees". The challenge of Audax is not in racing, but in pushing your own boundaries and experiencing great personal achievements. Audax enables riders of any ability to set and achieve riding goals with a group of like minded cyclists. This spirit of achievement is what attracts so many riders to Audax.
As the time limits required to complete events are generous, Audax appeals to a wide variety of cyclists, whether they are from a touring, racing, recreational or commuting background. All riders on Audax events are issued with and must carry a 'brevet' card. This card acts as a type of passport that riders must have stamped at checkpoints or controls as a demonstration that the ride has been completed within the time limits.
The predominant form of Audax riding in Australia is "allure libre". Riders have a specified time limit in which to complete a given event but may otherwise ride at their own pace. Riders may ride alone or with other similarly paced riders. Rides 200 km and over are known as Brevet Randonneur Mondiaux and are recognised internationally by les Randonneurs Mondiaux and Audax Club Parisien, with whom we are affiliated.
Audax Australia also offers group rides at an even pace. A peloton rides under the control of a captain and adheres to a strict riding schedule. These are known as Brevet UAF and are recognised internationally by Union des Audax Francais with whom we are also affiliated.
In addition, Audax Australia also also offers off road or dirt rides from 35 to 200 km, Permanents which allow a rider the flexibility of following a pre-determined route at a time of their choosing, and Raids which entail multi-day riding over a longer distance. These rides have no international standing.
Audax events are held in most parts of Australia, and you will be made very welcome when participating in rides in your own or other Regions. Rides are open to all reasonably fit riders - non-Audax members are most welcome to join our friendly and supportive participants.
Various Australian and international awards are available for individual riding achievements and for attaining certain accumulated riding milestones. A prized annual award is the International Super Randonneur – a French medallion awarded by the Audax Club Parisien and commemorating your achievements in successfully completing in one riding year each of a 200, 300, 400 and 600 km brevet.
The word Audax comes from the Latin for bold or courageous. In 1897 a group of Italian cyclists rode 200 km between sunrise and sunset, and became known as "les Audacieux". In 1904, Henri Desgrange, the father of the Tour de France, formed an Audax style of riding. It consisted of a team of cyclists riding under the control of a captain at an average speed of 22.5 km/h. While this style still exists in Europe, it has been less popular than the "randonnee" , individual long distance touring style cycling, which later developed.
Audax Australia offers randonnees in Australia under the auspices of Les Randonneurs Mondiaux, the world-wide body of which it is an original member; and fixed pace group rides under l'Union des Audax Francais.
In 1931, Australian Sir Hubert Opperman, "Oppy", won the 1200 km Paris-Brest-Paris race. No longer a race, and held every four years, this has now become the most famous randonnee of all, the "PBP". Until his death in 1996, Oppy was the patron of Audax Australia.
In 2011, Audax Australia Cycling Club celebrated the 30th anniversary of its inaugural rides – simultaneous 600km brevets from Sydney and Melbourne, finishing together at Albury on the Murray River.
Audax rides are open to all reasonably fit and determined cyclists willing to take up the challenge that makes a randonneur. You don't have to be a member of the Audax Club to participate, but members do enjoy the benefits of reduced entry fees, personal accident liability insurance cover while on rides, and the Club's quarterly journal, "Checkpoint" with up-to-date information and stories about rides in Australia and overseas.