Guwahati: Chilly winters, pristine air and long-distance cycling is a perfect combination to test one’s endurance. Keeping this in mind, Guwahati witnessed its first 1,000-km Brevet des Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRM) on Thursday.
The long-distance endurance cycling is being conducted over four days and each of the randonneurs (cycle-tourists or participants) must complete the designated route in 75 hours.
Starting at 6 in the morning on January 23, the event started from Guwahati to Patgaon via Boko and will return to Guwahati via Pathsala and then again covering parts of Golaghat and then ultimately finish at Taj Vivanta in Guwahati at 9 am on January 26 (Sunday).
The BRM is organised by Audax Club Parisien (ACP), an international governing body for all kinds of randonneuring. It also administers and oversees the conduct of BRMs worldwide.
A total of 11 randonneurs participated in the event and each of them has to be self-reliant; as in they would not have any support vehicle. This is a non-competitive style of riding and is free-paced cycling events which give more priority to camaraderie as each of the cyclists help each other along the arduous journey.
At the beginning of the event, each rider is issued a brevet card (which is a small cardboard sheet folded in three) on which several checkpoints are noted. Riders must get their card validated at each of the checkpoints. The organiser then locates these control places at any point along the route where a shortcut might be taken.
At the end of the event, the rider turns in their brevet cards to the organiser. The organiser makes sure that the cards have all the necessary stamps and that the time limit was respected. The certified brevet card is returned to the rider with a number.
This number is issued by the Audax Club Parisien and it allows riders to prove that they have successfully ridden the brevet. Additionally, it can be used as a qualifier to register for another event or to apply for awards such as the ‘Randonneur 5000’ or the ‘Randonneur 10000’.
As the rule requires to ride the brevets in a specific time limit, therefore the idea of ‘downtime’ is almost negated. Hence, one even has to ride at night with reflective vests and strong lights.
Events like this provide a great opportunity to discover other regions or countries and to meet new people along the way. Focusing more on team building and comradeship BRM is a unique way to build up the cycling-bug in the denizens of this fast-paced city.