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Seattle International Randonneurs

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The Monthly Populaire Page

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Have you heard about randonneuring, considered learning more, but been intimidated by the stories of epic climbs of Mt Rainier through the night, or rides from Seattle to Montana?  Perhaps you have been close to dipping a toe in the rando waters but were not sure how you would get to the ride start out in the boonies by 5:00am.  If so, Seattle International Randonneurs (SIR) is offering you a free opportunity to experience randonneuring on a ‘wade in’, not a ‘dive in’ basis, here is what you can expect:

In 2012 we will offer a monthly 100Km Populaire (approximately 62 miles) starting somewhere in the general vicinity of Seattle.  Not all rides will be in Seattle but most, it not all will be accessible via public transportation.  As with all of our brevets of any length membership in Seattle International Randonneurs or Randonneurs USA is optional.  These rides will be run in exactly the same manner as the longer brevets that SIR puts on.  The significant difference is that there will be no ride fee for the Populaires.

These events will otherwise be conducted just as our regular brevets are:  You will be expected to cover the course as described on the cue which you will be able to print off the website or pick up at the start.  You will be expected to make all the controles within their prescribed open and close times.  At the controles you will need to present your brevet card to a club member or possibly a local merchant to get a time and signature as proof of passage.  Before you show up for the ride, you should familiarize yourself with Brevet Rider Expectations, found here.

If that sounds a little intimidating, relax; almost anyone in reasonable shape can complete a 100Km populaire provided that you ride steadily and don’t dally along the way.   The time allowed to complete a 100Km Populaire is about seven hours, this includes all stops; flats, breakdowns, coffee, bathroom, etc.  Once the clock starts it runs nonstop.  This equates to approximately 9 miles an hour. To further take the edge off, these rides will be conducted on a semi no-drop basis.  That means, even if you can’t find someone to ride with during the event there will usually be an experienced randonneur riding ‘sweep’ to assure that no one is left behind who wants to finish.  As for the quirky details associated with the brevet card, the cue sheet, and other details and requirements, there will be randonnuers of varying experience on these rides to answer your questions, and if you have any questions, be sure to ask.  You might also consult the FAQ page on the club website, lots of information here.

This is your best opportunity to learn the intricacies involved in riding a brevet, including; navigation by reading and following a cue sheet, how a brevet card is used to document your passage along the route, and how to manage time during an event to assure that you make all the controles, including the finish within the allotted time.  There may even be a little pin for you at the end of your first populaire.  

Please make sure that your bike is in proper working order before you show up for a ride.  Riders are expected to be self sufficient on their rides and that‘s a lot easier if you have good tires and a well maintained bike. 

The rides will be scheduled, as much as possible to be completed during daylight hours.  In the dead of winter however there is the possibility that you may start, or finish (or both) in dark or low light conditions.  In that case you will be required to equip your bike with suitable lighting that meets these requirements.  Many randonneurs ride through the winter with some lighting on all the time just as an added safety measure.  In low light and after dark you will also be required to equip yourself with reflective clothing that meets these requirements (see Article 10).  You will be impressed at how much more visible you and your ride companions are when equipped with proper lights and reflective gear. 

These rides will be scheduled generally for the first weekend of the month.  They will be advertised here on the SIR website.  You will have the opportunity to pre-register so that all you have to do when you show up is sign the insurance waiver and pick up your brevet card and cue sheet. 

Non-members will have to complete a brevet registration form the day of the ride.  This will be our way of capturing your contact information and it will serve as an insurance waiver.  If you show up without pre-registering (or bring a friend who decided to come along at the last minute) you can still register on site and ride the event.  All we ask is that you arrive at the start 30 minutes early to allow the ride organizer to register you so that he or she can ride the event also.

Icy or otherwise dangerous weather conditions cancel.  Rain however is not considered dangerous so plan to ride rain or shine, just come prepared for it. That means appropriate rain gear, and we’d sure appreciate it if you furnish your bike with fenders and a mud flap.  Otherwise you may be invited to ride at the back of the group as no one is interested in bathing in your rooster tail.

If you are thinking about it but have questions you can contact the ride organizer listed on the website or me, Paul Johnson at pjinoakvilleATcomcastDOTcom. Randonneuring may or may not be your next bicycling adventure, but you’ll never know for sure unless you give it a try.

Information about the first few Monthly Populaires is posted here.  Check back occasionally to learn about future Populaires.

About Volunteering:

As all randonneurs know, these rides only happen if people volunteer to organize them.  The monthly Populaire series is less demanding of volunteers than our longer brevets and given that they are designed to attract new riders volunteers will automatically earn double karma points. 

Volunteers may use any of the existing approved Populaire courses, or if you have a new course in mind we will help you develop the control card and cue sheet so that it can become an RUSA approved course.  The only proviso for new routes is to remember that it MUST be approved at least five weeks in advance of the ride date.  Just keep in mind that the idea here is to attract new riders to the sport, not to scare them off; so a scenic, interesting, and moderately challenging course is ideal.  An added benefit is that these rides count toward the P-12 award.

The following dates are available and waiting for you to volunteer to organize a ride. Contact me (Paul Johnson) if you have questions or want to take this on.

November  20, 2011
December  4, 2011
January 21, 2012 (#3 of the Winter Training Series - Camano Island)
February 18, 2012 (#7 of the Winter Training Series - Conway-Chuckanut)
March 4, 2012
April 7, 2012
May 6, 2012
June 3, 2012
July 7, 2012
August 4, 2012
September 2, 2012
October 7, 2012
November 4, 2112
December 2, 2012

 

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