A long wait …

… but we are back in business. Events have been gradually coming back onto the calendar as restrictions have eased and organisers have been able to work out ways of arranging a safe and viable event. In Cornwall Phil Conroy of Falmouth Wheelers has stepped up to the plate and will be running the first post-Covid Audax Kernow events in September – always assuming no further setbacks.

This is also a good moment to congratulate the local riders who have managed to keep Audaxing with DIYs, and even complete RRtYs (Randonneur Round the Year), through the stop-start lockdowns and validation suspensions. For those looking for future challenges, a delayed LEL is now planned for August 2022, while PBP’s 4-yearly date comes round in 2023. There is also an End-to-End Audax, 1400 km starting in Lands End, calendared for July 2022.

RefreshmentsWe may have Easter bunnies in September and March hares in October, and there will be some limitations and no doubt a few surprises, but here’s looking forward to riders old and new enjoying that unique Audax experience again.

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Riding On, Looking Back

AUK members will have received a an update from Chris Crossland on the suspension of Audax UK events. There’s some optimism that validation of DIYs, Perms and small calendar events might restart later in the year, but it’s difficult to see how our local “village hall” Audax Populaires could be run anytime soon.

Here is something to cheer you up. Chris Rayne, the organiser of the Celtic Coastal and Celtic Canter events, has used the lockdown period to good purpose by updating his account of his 1980 End-to-End – ridden on a tandem trike in aid of the local branch of Muscular Dystrophy UK.

I found Chris’s description of the – shall we say challenges – of piloting a trike from John o’Groats to Lands End amusing and hair raising in equal parts. I have to say we won’t be tempted to trade the two wheels for three ourselves.

This is the link to the report, and if you would like to donate to the cause you can do so via the local branch or the national Muscular Dystrophy UK site.

Edited 11 June 20 to link to updated PDF file.

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Audax and Coronavirus

AUK Members will have received an email from Chris Crossland today explaining the Board’s decision to cancel events and suspend recognition of points and awards.

I am copying the section of the letter that covers the underlying reasoning for this here for the benefit of non-members, as it explains clearly why we have had to cancel our events and is helpful to all of us in thinking about our approach to cycling in these difficult times.

Dear …

You may already be aware from the AUK Forum and social media of the Board’s decision on Monday night to suspend recognition of all calendar, permanent and DIY events, with immediate effect, until further notice.

While the decision was, of course, taken in response to the updated government advice given yesterday, I thought it might be helpful to give some insight into why we have decided to suspend all AUK events and the implications for the various events that run under the AUK umbrella.

Our overriding priority must be the health and safety of our membership and the wider community. Long distance cycling poses two fundamental challenges in relation to Covid-19.

The first relates to infection control. The importance of hand hygiene has been repeatedly stressed by the health authorities but maintaining this can be challenging on long rides. Additionally, control points and cafes can bring riders, volunteers and the public into close proximity and so increase the risk of the virus being spread, in either direction.

A further factor is that at this stage we have no indication of the extent to which rider fatigue may affect susceptibility and resilience to infection.

The second challenge is that, while the risk may be small, accidental injury can and does happen on Audax rides. In normal circumstances, we manage this through risk assessment of rides and the expectation that participants take reasonable care.

Our health services will be under extreme pressure in the coming weeks and months. Riders who are injured may struggle to access timely and appropriate care and will take resources that could be used to the benefit of other, potentially critically ill, patients.

As well as the risks to riders and the public, a reputational risk to AUK attaches to this. It is hard to imagine that there would be much sympathy for an injured rider who had prioritised gaining a couple of Championship points over their own and others’ well-being. We understand that the decision of the Spanish and Italian cycling federations to ban all recreational cycling was taken in response to this.

In summary, we would be failing to meet our organisational responsibility to benefit the health and well-being of the community, and we would be in breach of our health and safety policy, which requires us to undertake specific risk assessments and provide a safe environment, taking the specific nature of randonneur cycling and related disciplines into account.

I hope that all members will appreciate that this decision was not taken lightly. We will formally review the position at the next Board meeting on 22nd April and update you as appropriate.

My best wishes to all members and their families during these challenging times.

Chris Crossland

Chair, Audax UK

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AUK cancels all Audax Events

AUDAX UK – ANNOUNCEMENT- 16 March 2020

COVID-19 PANDEMIC: ALL AUDAX UK EVENTS, COMPETITIONS AND AWARDS SUSPENDED

Following today’s updated guidance from the government, the Audax UK Board has taken the difficult decision to suspend recognition of all calendar, permanent and DIY events, with immediate effect, until further notice.

This means that AUK will not validate any rides undertaken from midnight tonight, 16th March, until the decision is taken to lift the suspension. Anyone undertaking such rides will not be allocated AUK points or AAA points, their rides will not be counted towards Mileater or Randonneur Round the Year awards, and they will not be covered by AUK’s insurance policy while riding.

We appreciate that many members will be working towards our various points-based championships. Given the suspension of events, the points-based championships will be suspended for this season. The Mileater Awards will be frozen at their current state and, while annual totals will be recorded, the mileater championships will be suspended for this year. To ensure that the progress of riders  towards The Randonneur Round the Year Award  is recognised, validation of qualifying rides for  it will be suspended immediately and will restart on the same date as calendar events, perms, and DIYs.  RRtY riders who have already ridden their March events will be given due credit; those who have not yet completed a March event will be allowed to, in effect, have their suspension backdated to the end of February so that they are not penalised.

More information for members and specifically for event organisers will follow during the next few days.

We will keep the position under review and inform members of any changes as appropriate.

I would like to thank all the Board members who have contributed to these difficult decisions, and hope that Audax UK, all our members, all our event organisers, and all our supporters are able to return to our normal activities at some point in the future when the outlook for everybody is much better.

Chris Crossland
Chair, Audax UK

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Breakfast in Bampton, Singing in the Rain

One of the advantages of entering events online some weeks in advance is that we have committed to the ride before we see the weather forecast, making it much less likely we will get cold feet, though in the case of an Autumn ride this year rather more likely we will get wet ones. Continue reading

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