By Robert Fry
RUSA members successfully completed 773 Permanent rides in 2006, a grand total of 159,733km. These numbers are two and a half times again those of 2005, and continue the high growth rate that Permanents have enjoyed since the program began.
With few brevets available towards the end of the year, Permanent validations in November and December rose to over 100 per month. In fact, Permanents accounted for over 10% of all validations obtained from RUSA last year, and almost 10% of the mileage ridden.
A significant milestone was also crossed in 2006, with the 1000th validation being awarded. In one of those little quirks of fate that crop up now and again, validation #01000 went to Dallas RBA Dan Driscoll, whose participation in the very first Permanent ride also gave him validation #00001.
Route applications also saw a steady increase, reaching a rate of about 2 per week, and 103 new routes were added to the database. Four routes were withdrawn by their owners. This now gives us a net total of 205 routes available in the database, virtually double the 107 available a year ago. I am pleased to say that we lost no route owners in 2006.
Better yet was the large number of new route owners added last year, in both established regions such as Texas, and in new ones such as Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska and Virginia. Riders, remember to thank the route owner next time you ride a Permanent! I can sit here and "coordinate" all I want, but without route owners, this program goes nowhere.
It is sometimes said that new inventions do not realize their potential until their "killer application" comes along. For the personal computer, I believe the killer application was the spreadsheet, for the internal combustion engine it was of course the automobile, and for our sport of cycling it was presumably the 1885 Starley "safety bicycle." While Permanents are not new and hardly an "invention," it is apparent nonetheless from the number of 200km rides by the same riders, month after month, that the R-12 award has turned out to be their killer application. Congratulations to everyone who achieves this award, and especially the select and hardy few who do so by venturing out in winter weather in our harsher northern climes.
All of our Permanent routes can be found on the RUSA web site, at http://www.rusa.org/cgi-bin/permsearch_GF.pl.
New route applications are always welcome from any RUSA member, especially from regions not yet represented, and can be submitted to the Permanents Coordinator at any time. Contact Robert Fry, firstname.lastname@example.org, (319) 226-5436.
The RUSA web site has a main Permanents page, www.rusa.org/perminfo.html, with information and resources for both riders and route owners.
Members new to randonneuring are encouraged to gain a little experience of brevets as a rider or volunteer before submitting an application.