The Other P.B.P.

Those familiar with the Audax Club Parisien Paris-Brest-Paris may have noticed that for PBP 2011, the event was rebranded PBP Randonneur.

ACP's 1200 km PBP Randonneur is the pinnacle of brevet riding for most of us. The 5300 starters in 2007 became part of PBP history stretching back the events beginnings in 1891 as a race and the first PBP brevet in 1931.

Unknown to many riders is the Union des Audax Fran├žais's PBP Audax, also held for the first time in 1931. Some more history can be found at but the original form of Audax riding (since 1904 in France) involves groups riding together for the full distance to a set schedule. The now common randonneur style (free pace between specified maximum and minimum speeds) was developed in 1921, following a disagreement between the ACP and Henri Desgrange. The original group brevet style is still fairly popular in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and more recently in Sweden and Australia. The USA also held a few UAF brevets about 10 years ago.

Early on, both PBPs took place in the same years. In 1971, eight Frenchmen rode both PBPs in just over a week. The PBP Randonneur interval was subsequently shifted to every four years. PBP Audax is still run every five years and it is only every two decades that both PBPs are held in the same year. The opportunity to ride two PBPs in a single year is an intriguing prospect to some cyclists.

The UAF traditionally limits the number of riders in each peloton to avoid over-stretching facilities, often running each peloton at different dates.