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Randonnée Thoughts
by Richard Blair (introducing a passage by Harold Bridge)

Over the years I have enjoyed following Harold Bridge’s prolific correspondence whether it be on our web site or in the UK publications, Cycling Weekly, Cycling Plus and the Audax UK club magazine. I have found fascinating his knowledge about cycling, its history, its technical aspects and its personalities. Harold’s recent health problems have not diminished his ability to suitably respond to queries about cycling matters as found in the April 2011 edition of Cycling Plus. In his letter, Harold employs the word wusses, a not unknown term in our own club, but used by Harold in his letter to smoothly skewer those who partake in sportives, a widely popular form of distance bicycling in the UK. In his letter to the editor Harold addresses a question raised in an earlier letter as to the use in the UK of the word audax rather than randonnée. He wrote:

Randonnée thoughts
Why do Brits use the word “audax” when they should be referring to “randonnée”? (Andrew Kydd, “The audax came first”, issue 244.) I believe an audax is a group ride under the leadership of a captain who maintains a 22.5kph speed. A randonn
ée is run allure libre, with the freedom to ride solo or in a group within the rules. That’s how Paris-Brest-Paris is organised anyway. Andrew wonders why audax (or randonnée) hasn’t attracted the same level of interest as sportives. A randonnée requires self reliance and independence as well as the ability to read a route sheet. A sportive, in comparison, is for wusses.
Harold Bridge, British Columbia, Canada

Not perhaps the most diplomatic method of expressing one’s thoughts about the differences between randonnées and sportives, but certainly typical of Harold at his best


April 1, 2011