The Audax Club Paresien (ACP) sanctions traditional brevet lengths of 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km and 1000km. Additionally, ACP sanctions the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP). All other events 1200km and longer are sanctioned by Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRM). All ACP sanctioned brevets are scheduled at the beginning of the year and are published by the ACP. Rides scheduled in the United States are listed on the Randonneurs USA (RUSA) web site.
The tradition of randonneuring began in late 1800's France as a group of friends out on a ride to see how far they could get. A Randonnée is a long ramble in the counryside by foot or bike. Challenges were later organized to complete a set distance within a time limit. These events were termed Brevets, derived from the card each participant carries to certify the event. Brevet is a French word meaning certificate. The longest continuously organized cycing event in the world is PBP. Participation in a brevet is an individual challenge. While there may be friendly competition between riders at a local brevet, the goal is just to ride allure libre (self-paced) and have a good time among chums.
The riders participating in a brevet are termed Randonneurs (male or gender neutral) or Randonneuses (female or the bike used). The Randonneurs carry their Brevet card to contrôle points along the route to certify arrival at the listed contrôle point within the allotted time. At the completion of the ride the Randonneurs submit their brevet cards to the organizer for results certification. After the results are sent to ACP in France for the official stamp, the cards are returned to the riders as a momento and proof they completed the event.
To participate in the 1200km events offered by ACP and BRM, randonneurs must complete a full series in order. A series consists of the following: 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km. Riders wishing to particiapte in PBP must successfully complete the Super Randonneur series before 1 July in the year of the 1200km event. All Randonneurs completing a full series are elligible for the Super Randonneur award. For those riders who complete an extraordinary 5000km within a four year period the Randonneur 5000 award is offered. To receive the award the rider must complete 5000km in ACP sanctioned brevets including a Flèche, a full series, a 1000km, and PBP. The Super Randonneur and the Randonneur 5000 award the spirit and determination of the individual.
RUSA Sanctioned Brevets
In addition to the traditional ACP sanctioned brevets, RUSA now offers domestically sanctioned brevets. These events, at least 200km in length, are not required to be the traditional distances. Hence, the Finger Lakes 350km is now a domestically sanctioned brevet. Randonneurs participating in the RUSA sanctioned brevets and the ACP sanctioned brevets are eligible for the RUSA 1000km through 5000km awards. For example, any individual completing at least 1000km in sanctioned brevets may receive the 1000km awards. Individuals who are eligible for more that one award in a year. If a rider wishes to receive both the 1000km and the 2000km award they must complete at least 3000km and no brevet (or portion) may count towards both.
RUSA Sanctioned Populaires
Populaires are now sanctioned domesically by RUSA. These events are run like brevets with the cards and contrôle points, but are between 100km and 199km. Like the domestically sanctioned brevets, the populaires are scheduled quarterly and may be used towards the mileage awards. These events are intended as an introduction to the format of brevets and are usually paired with a social function, a seminar, or used as a winter training ride.