On September 11, about 100 cyclists will leave Guwahati on a 200-kilometre ride to Samdrup Jonkhar (Bhutan Border) and return in 13.5 hours.
Guwahati Randonneurs, a national endurance cycling club, is hosting this 200 Brevet for the 2020-21 season. This ride will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the BRM 200, which was originally organised in France on September 11, 1921, by the Audax Club Parisien (ACP). This signalled the start of Randonneuring, which expanded across France in the 1920s and 1930s before catching on around the world in the 1970s.
Also known as Audax, it is a long-distance cycling sport with its origins in Europe around the end of the 19th century and was a means of finding out how ‘audacious’ one could be, riding long distances. India had its first Brevet, a 200 km event in Mumbai in 2010 which then picked up the pace to make inroads into all parts of the country. The events are managed by local Randonneur clubs all under the supervision of Audax India Randonneurs (AIR).
Now, what exactly is Randonneuring? Riders try routes of 200 km or more in this style, with predefined “controls” or checkpoints along the route, recording the rider’s data. The goal is to finish the course within the allotted time.
Randonneuring event is called a randonnée or brevet, and a rider who has completed a 200 km event is called a randonneur.
The international governing body for randonneuring is Audax Club Parisien (ACP), which works in unison with other randonneuring organisations worldwide.
In the North East, particularly in Assam, the efforts of Supuraj Gogoi, Club owner of Guwahati Randonneurs bore fruit when his club attained Audax India Randonneurs’ (AIR) affiliation and became authorised to hold Randonneuring Events for the very first time in the North East in 2018.
Northeast, thus, saw its first Randonneuring event, 200 km BRM, on October 21, 2018, from the Nehru Stadium to Samdrup Jonkhar (Bhutan Border) and back. 23 of 27 participants completed the ride within the stipulated 13.5 hours.
Since then, there has been no looking back. Guwahati Randonneurs has organised Brevets from 200 km to 1000 km to date.
Certain events to popularise and familiarise riders with the Randonneuring event have also been taken up by Guwahati Randonneurs under AIR. Such events are called Brevet Populaires(BP) and are generally of a distance less than 200 km.
To date, 17 riders from the Northeast have attained the Super Randonneur title, which is given when a rider completes a series of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km rides, all within the same Randonneuring Season (November-October). The list of 17 riders includes one female rider and two riders who became 2-time SRs.
Guwahati Randonneurs Club owner Supuraj Gogoi asserted that Guwahati has seen three wonderful seasons of Randonneuring since its inception in 2018.
Randonneuring has found a devoted group of enthusiasts from its very first year of establishment in the Northeast and the numbers only seem to be growing with each event. Post-COVID times have seen a rise in the number of female participants, a healthy and welcome trend.
Club owner Supuraj Gogoi is confident that this 200 km centenary ride will see many boundaries being pushed by new riders while the BRM veterans continue to enjoy and improve with each ride.
BRM has become a uniting factor for the community and continuously has been nurturing a group of people who seem to be highly positive and ready to take the challenge that abundantly adds to the joys of life besides building a strong community.
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