Rules for Permanent Route Owners

Permanent route owners are recommended to read the online RBA Procedures document. Although this was written for RBAs organizing ACP brevets, it contains much useful information on creating a route, preparing the cue sheet and control card, RUSA's liability insurance policy, etc.

Introduction

A Permanent is like a brevet, but it can be ridden on any date by agreement between rider and route owner. Permanent rides in the USA are sanctioned and validated by Randonneurs USA. RUSA members who organize a Permanent must strictly enforce the rules for participants (Rules for Riders), and must comply with the supplemental rules for route owners below. Like BRM events, Permanents are not casual affairs, and route owners must take their responsibilities seriously. Route owners must respect the rides and those who participate in them, but should not hesitate to penalize any participant for any violation of the rules. Randonneurs USA thanks all volunteers who contribute to the organization of these rides, and as a consequence to the development of long distance cycling in the USA.

Requirements for Route owners

Becoming a Permanent Owner - Organizing a Permanent (owning and administering a Permanent route) is open to any RUSA member - it is not restricted to RBAs. A prospective route owner may submit a new route application to the RUSA Permanents Coordinator at any time. For a route to be officially designated a Permanent and assigned an owner, it must be approved by the Permanents Coordinator and added to the RUSA online database.

Proximity to Route - Ideally, the route owner should live near the route. This is to provide oversight over unforeseen changes in the route, e.g., road construction and other detours, changing traffic/development patterns, and stores/controls that may go out of business over time. Rare exceptions to this rule may be granted at the discretion of the Permanents Coordinator. Such exceptions might be appropriate, for example, if a route owner works or vacations near the route, if the route owner has moved but retains familiarity with the route, or if such exception would open up a new area otherwise unserved by permanents. If a route owner moves away and becomes a distant owner, it is his or her responsibility to notify the Permanents Coordinator in a timely manner.

RBA Consultation - The Permanents Coordinator will consult with each RBA within whose region the route passes regarding suitability of the route and a new prospective route owner, except that: an RBA may opt out of consultation by informing the Permanents Coordinator, and the Permanents Coordinator may omit an RBA from consultation if that RBA has not been responsive in the past.

Each RBA will be given two weeks to respond to a request for input. If any segment of the route is not under RBA consultation, the Permanents Coordinator will take appropriate steps to confirm that the route meets RUSA requirements. Also: if the prospective owner is an RBA, the part of the route within that RBA's region will not require consultation.

Ownership Lifecycle - Route owners are asked to make a minimum two-year commitment to offer each route. A route owner must notify the Permanents Coordinator when ceasing to offer a route. The Permanents Coordinator will then deactivate the route, which may be later adopted by another owner. If a route owner’s RUSA membership lapses, his/her ownership for permanent routes is removed. It may be reinstated once the member renews, or the routes can be adopted by other members.

Important Note: For insurance reasons, it is highly recommended that a Permanent be organized directly by an individual RUSA member, not through a bike club. This recommendation extends even to existing RBAs who may already organize brevets through a bike club. This distinction should be made clear if information about a Permanent is given on a club's web site. Riders' entry fees should be paid directly to the route owner, not to the club. See the online RBA Procedures document for more details on who is, and who is not, covered by RUSA's Liability Insurance.

Liability Insurance

All Permanents route owners must use RUSA's insurance policy to provide liability coverage. RUSA is pleased to cover the cost of this insurance for Permanents. No paper work is required. Coverage is provided automatically based on results submitted for validation. A route owner must report all starters, even if a rider does not complete the ride. DNF riders also require insurance coverage; this triggers the coverage.

Routes

The route application consists of the

  • the application form, together with
  • a detailed cue sheet and
  • highlighted map (if using an online mapping program, that map will suffice).

Mileage must be determined from state road maps, odometers, or computer mapping programs. The cue sheet must include the location of all checkpoints and, for timed checkpoints, their opening and closing times. (Note: The start time is by agreement between the route owner and the rider.)

With the route application, control opening and closing times should be listed as total elapsed time, rather than time of day. The highlighted map should clearly show the location of each control point. The route may start and finish in the same place, or finish in a different location (point-to-point), and follow any number of shapes in between, but may not contain repeated loops.

Extreme terrain should be noted in the route description on the application form.

The route owner may denote a point-to-point or loop route to be "reversible."

If a loop route is reversible, that means the rider may ride the course in reverse, starting from the published start location.

If a point-to-point route (e.g., starts at point A, finishes at point B) is reversible, that means the rider may optionally start at point B and finish at point A. If the agreement is to ride the route in reverse, the owner needs to provide the rider with control card and cue sheet for that direction.

The owner designates whether a route is reversible on the application, and can subsequently change that by contacting the Permanents coordinator, without submitting additional materials. When considering the reverse direction, the route owner should take into account the control facilities available at the different times of day that the rider will pass through, as well as any safety considerations etc., that may be different for riding in the reverse direction at the altered times of day.

A Permanent may be any distance of 200km or more. A Permanent Populaire may be from 100-199km. Routes may be new to RUSA, or may follow the course of an existing or former brevet. Minor revisions, which may need to be made to a route from time to time, do not need to be re-submitted. Major changes will require re-approval. The online RBA Procedures document offers guidance on what constitutes a minor change.

Checkpoints

Similar guidelines apply for checkpoints on Permanents as on brevets. Checkpoints should be more or less regularly spaced between the start and finish. Typically, checkpoints should be about 50-100km (30-60 miles) apart depending on total route distance, closer together for shorter routes, and further apart for longer ones. Additional checkpoints should be located at any point along the route where a shortcut might be taken.

The route owner must define checkpoints of the following types, even though “electronic proof of passage” (EPP) may be used for some checkpoints on some ridings of the route. More details on EPP under Rider Registration.

To the extent possible, all checkpoints, including start and finish, should be manned at all times between their official opening and closing times. Preferably, checkpoints should be located in an establishment where a rider's control card may be verified and stamped, and the rider may purchase food and drink. The address of the establishment should be listed on the control card, or the locale in the case of an open checkpoint. Since the aim is to provide proof of passage, reasonable alternatives to a stamp are allowed, such as an electronic cash register or ATM receipt showing the time and date.

If a checkpoint must be located where facilities are not available, e.g. at night, the route owner should inform the rider of this at the time of entry. In this circumstance, the rider may mail a postcard from the checkpoint as permitted in the Rules for Riders.

Where it is difficult to eliminate a potential shortcut from a route, an information control may be specified. In this case, the rider answers a question, posted on the control card, about the control location, e.g. name of a business or church, color of a house etc. The route owner should compile several questions and alternate them from rider to rider, and from year to year.

As with a brevet, the route owner may set up a secret control. A rider should always have reasonable expectation that there might be one. Start and finish checkpoint must be timed. (They may not be information or postcard checkpoints.)

Control Cards

RUSA Permanent and Permanent Populaire card masters are available online on the Permanents main page, and under RBA Resources. On the outside of each card, the required rider information must be filled out. If a control card has been issued for the ride, on the inside of each card, the route owner must note the place name, address, mileage, and the opening and closing times for each checkpoint (start, intermediate, and finish.) It is preferred here that the opening and closing times for each control should be noted as time of day, rather than elapsed time.

Calculation of Opening and Closing Times

A - Start Checkpoint:
Opening: The start time is set by agreement between the route owner and the rider.
Closing: The closing time is 1 hour after the opening time.

B - Intermediate and Final Checkpoints: Opening and closing times are calculated from a formula based on maximum and minimum permitted average speeds. The maximum average speed is held throughout the ride at 30kph (18.6mph). The minimum average speed depends on the total distance of the route as follows:

        Distance       Min. Speed

        100-199km      15kph   (9.3mph) (Permanent Populaires)
        200-699km      15kph   (9.3mph)
        700-1299km     13.3kph (8.3mph)
        1300-1899km    12kph   (7.5mph)
        1900-2499km    10kph   (6.2mph)
        >2500km        200km (125 miles) per day

The minimum average speed applies for the duration of the ride. A calculator for Permanent control opening and closing times is available online on the Permanents main page, and under RBA Resources.

Availability

Route owners are normally expected to allow entries to a Permanent throughout the year. A route owner may restrict the months of availability, e.g. due to extreme seasonal weather, but is encouraged to keep this to a necessary minimum. Availability should be indicated on the route application form, e.g. 12 months, March through October, etc. During a route's usual time of availability, a route owner may decline a request for any reasonable cause in the owner's judgment, including insufficient notice or other inconvenience, weather or other safety concern, route obstructions, rider qualification, and the like.

Rider Registration

A rider is expected to give reasonable notice of entry. Rider registration should consist of an entry form, the appropriate entry fee, and must include the RUSA Waiver of Liability. An entry form master, including the Waiver of Liability form, is available online on the Permanents main page, and under RBA Resources.  The route owner may ask for additional info at registration - such as emergency contacts or medical concerns - if the owner feels that info could be useful. The owner can design his/her own form for registration, or use some other means for riders to register. The rider must provide a newly signed and dated Waiver of Liability form each time he/she registers to ride a permanent, unless the rider has previously executed a waiver - for example, an annual or seasonal waiver - that covers when the ride will take place.

Permanents may be ridden only by current RUSA members. The route owner should check that a rider's RUSA membership is current by consulting the RUSA website.

Once the rider's entry is accepted, the route owner must provide a cue sheet, preferably a highlighted map of the route, and a control card unless the card has been waived. With the rider's permission, the route owner may publicize the date and time of the intended ride. Interested riders must then contact the route owner for permission.

Electronic Proof of Passage Options at Registration -- “Electronic proof of passage” (EPP) means recording proof of a rider’s location (and time of passage for timed checkpoints) by electronic device, in a way that the route owner can verify. 

EPP may be used for one or more checkpoints if both rider and route owner agree to use EPP for those checkpoints, agree on the EPP means to employ, and how to provide the validating data to the route owner.  If EPP has been agreed to be used for all checkpoints, the rider and route owner may further agree that a brevet card not be provided.

If rider and route owner do not agree on using EPP or on EPP details as above, then traditional validation must be used.

When EPP is to be used for a given checkpoint, it is the route owner’s duty to confirm that the EPP device can record the location of the rider, and for timed checkpoints, the time of passage. 

If more than one rider is on the permanent ride, they may share the same validating data (for example, store receipts or EPP data such as photos or GPS data) if the route owner agrees.

Once the rider's entry is accepted, the route owner must provide a control card and a cue sheet and, if not waived because EPP is being used, a control card, and preferably a highlighted map of the route. With the rider's permission, the route owner may publicize the date and time of the intended ride.  Interested riders must then contact the route owner for permission.

Submission of Results

A rider is expected to return the completed verifying materials to the route owner within 10 days of the ride (including control card if one has been issued). The route owner should submit each result within 10 days of receiving the materials. This is normally performed online using the web form provided on the Permanents main page, and under RBA Resources.

New route owners are required to send the first completed card(s) to the Permanents Coordinator for validation, instead of submitting the result(s) online. (This first riding must not use electronic proof of passage.) This requirement allows RUSA to verify that the route owner fully understands the Permanents rules and has properly implemented them. Any route owner of any Permanent may be required to submit the card(s) from a ride to the Permanents Coordinator for review. Any published results should list riders alphabetically by last name and not by the order of the riders' arrival or total elapsed time.

All riders who started the ride, even if they do not complete the ride, must be included in the results submission.

Official Certification

Permanents Coordinator -- The Permanents Coordinator will review results submitted by route owners and verify that the rides have been properly executed. If the owner submitted physical cards, the Permanents Coordinator will enter the homologation numbers on the cards and return them to the owner.

Permanent Owner -- If the owner has submitted the results online, the validation number is generated immediately, and the owner can write it on the card in the space provided. However, validation is considered provisional until the Permanents Coordinator has reviewed and approved the results. RUSA can decline validation if it finds that the rider or route owner has failed to comply with the rules. The Permanent Owner will return the cards to riders, except for those who have requested not to have their cards returned.

Arbitration

Randonneurs USA will be the final arbiter of any questions that arise which may not be covered explicitly in these rules.