Rules for Riders

Randonneurs USA's Rules for Riders are adapted from the Audax Club Parisien's (“ACP”) Réglement de Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (“BRM”). These rules apply to ACP-sanctioned brevets, and RUSA brevets and populaires. The term “brevet” as used below also covers populaires. Rules for riding Team Events, RUSA Permanents, and for riding RUSA Grand Randonnées sanctioned by Les Randonneurs Mondiaux are covered separately.

Organizers of BRM or RUSA events must also comply with RUSA's Rules for Organizers and RBA Procedures.

Randonneurs USA

Rules for Riders

Article 1

Only the Audax Club Parisien has sanctioning authority for BRM events. The ACP registers all BRM brevets. Each brevet result receives a verification number. These are assigned chronologically based on time of receipt. The ACP has registered these results since their inception in 1921. Only Randonneurs USA is authorized by ACP to organize BRM events in the United States.

Only Randonneurs USA has sanctioning authority for RUSA domestic events.

Article 2

These brevets are open to any amateur cyclist regardless of his or her cycling affiliations. Any rider under the age of 18 must have consent of his or her parent or legal guardian. Any form of human-powered vehicle is acceptable. The only stipulation is that the vehicle must be powered solely by the rider.

Article 3

To participate in a brevet a rider must complete a registration form, sign a waiver of liability, and pay the registration fee set by the event organizer. The rider must also be a member of Randonneurs USA, and of the organizing club if required. The rider must satisfy the event's qualifying requirements, if any, imposed by the organizer.

Article 4

When taking part in a brevet, riders accept and consent to the possible publication of their name, time result, and photograph by the organizer.

Article 5

During the event, each rider is considered to be on a personal ride. The rider must ride in accordance with all applicable traffic codes, obey all traffic signals, and use bike paths when required by law. When riding, all riders must wear an approved helmet. The ACP, RUSA, and other organizers cannot and do not accept responsibility for any accidents that may occur during the course of a brevet.

Article 6

Each rider must be self sufficient. No personal follow cars or support of any kind are permitted on the course. Personal support is only allowed at checkpoints. Riding with others who are not on the event or on another RUSA ride is considered receiving unpermitted support.

Riders must conduct themselves in a civil manner and abide by all applicable vehicle codes, laws, and regulations. Riders must respect local customs with regards to decorum.  Riders must respect event staff and follow their directions so long as it is safe to do so.

Article 7

A brevet card and a cue sheet indicating the route and the location of the checkpoints will be made available to each rider before the start of the event, in paper or electronic form. Organizers may also include unannounced checkpoints along the route.

Detours are permitted when a road is closed, or is not safely or legally passable by cyclists (e.g., in some construction zones). In such situations the rider should first attempt to contact the ride organizer to obtain permission to take a detour. If the rider detours without permission, the rider must report the route deviation to the organizer at the rider's first opportunity. If a detour is taken, the rider(s) and organizer are responsible for ensuring that the rider(s) have completed the required event distance. In all other cases, if a rider leaves the route, he or she must return to the route at the same point prior to continuing, i. e., no shortcuts or detours from the route.

Article 8

All intermediate checkpoints are untimed; only the final checkpoint is timed. However, brevet organizers may provide opening and closing times for intermediate checkpoints as an advisory to riders to help them know that they are inside time during the ride.

For proof of passage at checkpoints, brevet cards may be inscribed by event staff if present or, in the absence of event staff, any of these proofs of passage which the organizer has allowed can be used:

  • clerk or other staff annotation at establishments, or store receipts, including time and date of passage; (t)
  • a postcard mailed from the checkpoint, inscribed with the rider name and checkpoint information (location, time, and date);
  • the answer to a question posed on the brevet card, discoverable at the checkpoint location;
  • a receipt from an ATM or other automated device that includes time, date, and location; (t)
  • a photo incorporating date and time taken and including the rider and an identifying artifact from the location; (t)
  • data from a GPS or other location device that includes location and time of passage. (t)

(t)  May be used for the final checkpoint, which must be timed, so long as the proof of passage contains date and time.

The organizer determines which option(s) are allowed for a given checkpoint, with the restriction that the final checkpoint must be timed. For example, a checkpoint might allow for clerks at an establishment to fill in the card during business hours, while a question or photo could be allowed for use at other times. For photo and automated checkpoints, the organizer will make accommodation for riders who are not carrying a camera, ATM card, GPS tracking device, etc.

A brevet card will always be made available to riders, even though the organizer may elect types of proof of passage for the entire route that do not require a brevet card.  When a brevet card is used, it should be inscribed with the time of passage for every checkpoint, and for events extending beyond the starting day, the date of passage.

Missing checkpoint verification, missing checkpoint times (for checkpoints that have opening and closing times), or loss of the brevet card (regardless of how far into the ride a rider is) are grounds for possible penalty or disqualification. Each rider is responsible for seeing that proof of passage allowed by the organizer is obtained for each checkpoint (unless precluded by detours), even if the rider arrives at a timed checkpoint after its closing time.

Article 9

Overall time limits vary for each brevet according to the distance. These are: (in hours and minutes, HH:MM) 13:30 for 200 KM, 20:00 for 300 KM, 27:00 for 400 KM, 40:00 for 600 KM, and 75:00 for 1000 KM. A rider’s total elapsed time is calculated from the opening time of the start checkpoint (regardless of the rider’s actual start time) to the rider’s arrival time at the finish checkpoint . Additionally, riders must arrive at each timed checkpoint between the opening and closing time for the checkpoint. These times are noted on the brevet card with the information for the checkpoints.

In addition to the closing time at the finish, brevets have an opening time for the final checkpoint. Beginning from the brevet’s official starting time, the opening times for the final checkpoints are: (in hours and minutes, HH:MM) 5:33 for 200 KM; 9:00 for 300 KM; 12:08 for 400 KM; 18:48 for 600 KM; and 39:00 for 1000 KM. Riders must arrive inside the respective time window for each of these distances to receive ride credit.

Even though intermediate checkpoints are officially untimed, brevet organizers can post opening and closing guideline times for supported checkpoints using the RUSA checkpoint calculation tool. Riders should know that any support offered by the organizer may only be available between those calculated opening and closing times, or a subset of that time range, as conveyed by the organizer.

ACP-sanctioned brevets come in five set distances. Brevets and populaires sanctioned by RUSA can have myriad other distances (e.g. 245 KM, 578 KM, 173 KM, etc.) and their finish checkpoint’s opening and closing times will be calculated according to each event’s distance with the RUSA checkpoint calculation tool.

If a rider arrives at the final checkpoint after it has closed and the ride organizer is satisfied that the rider's lateness is due to the occurrence of something unforeseen and beyond the control of the rider (such as a road closure or stopping to help at a traffic accident), then the ride organizer may waive the fact that the rider arrived at the finish checkpoint late. Poor bicycle or equipment maintenance, fatigue, lack of fitness, hunger, etc. are not unforeseen and beyond the control of the rider and therefore will not serve as a valid reason for being late.

Article 10

While riding between sunset and sunrise and during other low-light conditions (rain, fog, etc.), a set of working front and rear lights must be firmly mounted on the vehicle and turned on.  At least one of the rear lights must be in a steady (rather than flashing) mode. The lights must meet the requirements of local laws. Backup lighting systems and/or spare bulbs are strongly recommended in case the primary system fails and cannot be repaired on the roadside.

Between sunset and sunrise and during 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 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.

Riders are responsible for knowing the lighting and reflectivity requirements, and following them, regardless of whether or not an RBA or ride organizer conducts a gear/equipment inspection at the start of a ride.

Article 11

At the finish, if the rider is using a brevet card, the rider must sign the brevet card and return it to the event organizer. The brevet card will be returned to the rider after the brevet has been verified and a brevet number issued. (In the event of the organizer losing a brevet card, no replacement to the rider will be made.)

Article 12

These brevets are not competitive events, so no rider classifications are made. Results are published alphabetically, not by arrival time.

Article 13

A brevet cannot be counted as participation in, or as credit for another event held in conjunction with the brevet.

Article 14

For violating any of these rules, or engaging in fraud or cheating, a rider may be assessed time penalties, disqualified, and possibly barred from future events. Time penalties and disqualification may be imposed during the ride or afterwards. Time penalties are applied to the final checkpoint, regardless of when issued. This could put the rider's total time beyond the time limit for the event and thus result in a DQ. The rider will be informed as soon as possible that a penalty has been assessed.

Article 15

If a penalty, disqualification, or other action is taken against or affecting a rider (an "appealable action"), then the rider may appeal in writing (including an e-mail) within 72 hours from being notified of the appealable action. The appeal will be to the Regional Brevet Administrator ("RBA"). If the RBA denies the appeal or if the rider does not receive a response from the RBA within 10 calendar days after submitting the appeal, or sooner if time is of the essence, the rider may appeal the appealable action to the Board of Directors of Randonneurs USA for a final decision. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Board of Directors will promptly contact the rider and the RBA and, if it deems necessary, will ask for any additional information. The Board of Directors will then render a decision in a timely fashion. A rider may directly submit any other question or complaint (other than an appealable action) to the Board of Directors.

Article 16

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

Version 3/2024, RUSA Board of Directors


Note 1

In 1921 the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) created a series of self-paced rides (200, 300, 400, 600, and 1000 KM) for individual riders (Note 1). In 1931 the ACP created Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneurs. These events were called the Brevets de Randonneurs Français. These rides have since become international in scope, becoming the Brevets de Randonneurs Européens in 1976 and the Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux in 1983. Since 1975, a series of 200, 300, 400, and 600 KM brevets has been required to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris, thus assuring that riders are well prepared for this difficult event.

Two basic styles of randonneuring exist in France. In one, a group of riders ride the whole event together at a given pace with a road captain setting the pace. This is the audax style. For BRM events, riders are not obliged to ride in a group. Everyone rides at his or her own pace. (This is what the allure libre in the French refers to). The checkpoint times at the finish determines a minimum and a maximum pace in BRM events.

The Audax Club Parisien sanctions and organizes BRM events; however, the Audax in the club's name no longer refers to the audax group style of randonneuring. The Audax Club Parisien switched to the allure libre format in 1921.

The debate was fierce, early in the 20th century, as to which of these randonneuring styles was the right one. The end result is that both forms still exist and are practiced by quite a few cyclists. Both of these cycling groups, as well as other non-cycling groups, use the word audax, albeit for their different purposes.