The Dart Populaire is an event whereby teams of cyclists all ride to a common destination from various starting points. Dart Populaires are team events of 8 hours duration and 120km minimum distance. A Dart Populaire is administered by Randonneurs USA (RUSA) and its Regional Brevet Administrators (RBA). It is patterned after the 24-hour Flèches-USA and Arrow team rides.
The Dart is a team event; no individual entries are allowed. The start time(s) and finishing destination will be set by each RBA for his or her event. (This is in contrast to the Flèches-USA, where teams may choose their own start/finish times within a time range.)
If more than one team uses the same starting point and the same route, then starting times for individual teams shall be spaced at least one hour apart. Choice of routes and starting times is customarily assigned according to the order of receipt of registrations, but the RBA has the discretion to do otherwise if need be.
Dart Populaires are randonnées, not races. Riders must be civil at all times, they must abide by all applicable traffic laws, and they must follow the directions of all law enforcement personnel. Riders are expected to observe local customs of decorum at all times.
During the event, each rider is considered to be on a personal ride. RUSA and other organizers cannot and do not accept responsibility for any accidents that may occur during the course of the event.
(In the event that the team's progress or route is materially affected by the instructions of law enforcement personnel, the team shall endeavor to adjust their ride to match as closely as possible the timing and distance of their original route. Event officials may make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the situation.)
Each Dart team is limited to a maximum of five members and a minimum of three members. Each tandem or other multiple-rider vehicle counts as a single member. Members of the same team may assist one another; however, teams are expressly forbidden to aid each other, even teams from the same club. The only exception is in case of medical emergency. During the event, riders may not draft anyone except their teammates.
No following support cars are allowed under any circumstances. Teams using a support car can receive support from their car only at the control points listed on their route cards. Assistance from other motorized non-participants is also not permitted, except in case of a medical emergency. There may be secret and roving checkpoints.
Only human-powered vehicles are allowed. An approved helmet must be worn at all times while cycling during the event.
It is possible that the Dart Populaire will be ridden entirely in daylight. If, however, the event includes hours of darkness, all vehicles must be equipped with functional front and rear lights, per standard randonneuring regulations. Front and rear lights must be firmly affixed to the vehicle and be of sufficient brightness to satisfy the applicable State Highway Code(s). If there is nighttime riding, lights must be mounted on the vehicles for the entire event: team support cars may not carry team lights during the daylight hours of the event. Riding in a group does not change the lighting requirement; all riders must use their lights. Roving event officials can and will confiscate the route card of any rider riding without lights.
During hours of darkness or other low-light conditions, all riders must wear a reflective vest or some other device that clearly places significant reflective material on the front and back of the rider. During these times all riders will also wear a reflective ankle band around each ankle. (Due to their unusual seating position, recumbent riders may modify their reflective torso devices to show better from front and rear.) Other reflective devices on clothing, shoes, helmets, and machines are encouraged for increased safety - but they are extra and may not take the place of the minimum items listed above. Riders must review the RUSA Reflectivity guide and are strongly encouraged to meet the recommended minimum standards for torso reflectivity described in that document.
Regardless of whether or not an RBA or ride organizer conducts a gear/equipment inspection at the start of a ride, failure to have and display appropriate reflective gear and required lighting may result in an immediate disqualification.
Each team is to design its own route of at least 120km. A successful Dart Populaire ride counts as the official 120km in RUSA distance awards, even if a longer distance was covered in the event time period. It counts as credit towards the P-12 award.
The traditional format for a Dart Populaire ride, like a Flèche, Arrow, or Dart event, is point-to-point, similar to an archer's arrow flying toward its target. Though this is not a classic route design for team events, a large circuit or loop may also be used on a Dart Populaire, such as to make a scenic tour of a region. However, an out-and-back route is not consistent with the traditions of this type of event. Out-and-back route segments are permitted, such as to obtain food and supplies in remote regions, but no control may be used more than once and no road segment may be used more than once in the same direction. If an out-and-back route segment is utilized in the overall route design, a control point must be located at the turnaround.
The shortest legal and safe distance between successive checkpoints is credited, not the actual route taken. Maps or mapping software with accurate mileages will be used to determine distances. In the case of forced detours due to road construction, accidents, etc., only the additional mileage verified by a postcard checkpoint or verification by a stamp from a merchant, post office, or police station at the far point of the detour will be counted. A business receipt that is imprinted with date, time and location would also be accepted. Further, such mileage will be counted only if shown on maps or mapping software. No matter the circumstances of any particular detour, 120km must be ridden within the event time period.
The start time specified by the organizer and starting place approved with the team's registration must be used. Event officials or RUSA officers may be on hand to officially supervise the start. All team members must have their route cards in their possession at all times during the ride and must present their route cards to all officials making such a demand.
At least 25 km must have been ridden within the last two hours of the event. At the start of that period (two hours before the event finishing time), the exact time, elapsed distance and the location of the team must be noted on each route card and verified by the signature and/or stamp of a local merchant, official, etc. A business receipt imprinted with the time, date and location would also be accepted. Lack of this checkpoint verification will result in disqualification. A verification by postcard is acceptable, but only when no local businesses are open. (In the case of a postcard verification, all members of the team (or those still riding together) must sign the postcard.) Failure to follow this requirement will result in disqualification.
In the event that the 6 hour point is reached where no verification is available, the time, distance, and location of the team shall be noted by the team members on their route card and verification must be obtained at the next available location along the route.
Teams must have their location and time verified at the event destination point, or nearest town or village at the end of their 8 hours. Verification must be via a stamp and/or a signature obtained at a place of business, a police station, or at a train/bus station. A business receipt imprinted with the date, time and location will also be accepted. This could be an automated receipt such as from an ATM machine, so long as time, date, and location are shown. The exact time and location must be noted on the route cards, as well as the mileage completed. A lost route card or postcards (unless duly mailed) used for verification which have missing signatures will result in the automatic disqualification of the team member(s).
In the event that the 8 hour point is reached where no verification is available, the time, distance, and location of the team shall be noted by the team members on their route card and verification must be obtained at the nearest available location.
For a Dart Populaire team ride to be certified by RUSA, and any regional team awards to be earned:
- At least 3 team members must legally complete the team's course and arrive at the finish together. (Reminder: tandems and other multi-rider vehicles count as one member.)
- All riders arriving with this group who have legally completed the course receive credit. Riders arriving before or after will not, even if they've legally completed their team's course.
Any fraud, cheating, or deliberate violation of these rules will result in the exclusion of the rider from all RUSA-sanctioned events (including those sanctioned by the ACP and RM) for a period of time to be determined by Randonneurs USA.
Any rider who registers and starts a Dart Populaire agrees by these actions the following: Any complaint or questions about a Dart Populaire or its organization must be submitted to the event organizer in writing, within 48 from the finish of the event. The event organizer will review the complaint and forward it, with a recommendation, to RUSA for a final decision.
Randonneurs USA will be the final arbiter of any questions that arise which may not be covered explicitly in these rules.
A version of these rules is available for download and distribution.