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Seattle International Randonneurs

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How to Organize a Monthly Populaire

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First Things First


Thanks for volunteering to organize the Monthly populaire.  Like all the brevets and events we put on, less than 5 weeks is not possible. Any route of less than 200Km qualifies, and any of the currently approved populaire routes may be used. Here is the official definition from the RUSA website:

populaire (pope u lair) - A shorter "randonneuring" event usually run under the regulations and pace of a standard brevet, but being less than 200 kilometers in length, they lack the official sanction of the Audax Club Parisien. Populaires are often 100 or 150 kilometers in length and frequently used by experienced randonneurs for training and/or socializing, as well as introducing new riders to the ways of "randonneuring".

Purpose and Intent

Note that routes of less than 200Km can be used and routes between100Km and 199km may be used as qualifying rides for the P-12 award.   For our purposes these monthly populaires are intended more for “socializing, as well as introducing new riders to the ways of "randonneuring" than training. At least for this first year we are attempting to attract new riders, to allow them an opportunity to experience the positive aspects of the sport while not unduly injecting challenges.  As the season progresses it may be appropriate to develop longer routes with more challenging terrain, which seem to be attractive to new riders in the summer months.  Through the winter and early spring, 100Km may be enough of a challenge for these riders.

Try to use easily accessible commercial venues for controles.  If commercial venues are not available and you cannot recruit enough volunteers to staff all the controles, information controles can be used. 

Try to have your ride end at or near a rider friendly venue where riders may have the opportunity to get a post ride bite and beverage of their choice.  Bonus points for ample free parking, and DOUBLE bonus points for a restroom at or near the start and finish.  It is not uncommon for new riders and members to spend a few post ride moments in pleasant conversation which is likely to help new riders feel more welcome to the club and the sport. Remember, one of the objectives of the Monthly Populaire series is to attract new riders.

Notification

Once you have the approval of the RBA you should post a ride announcement on the SIR Website.  Your announcement should be a tantalizing ride description, noting any particularly interesting aspects of the ride.  Be sure to emphasize that riders should come early (up to an hour) to sign in.  Remember non-members MUST complete an individual waiver prior to the star.  Your announcement can include this fact, and you can mention that they can print an individual waiver from the club website and complete that before they arrive.


Provide this ride description/announcement to Albert Meerscheidt, ideally as soon as you have received approval from the RBA. The earlier you post the notice the more likely you are to attract riders.  A populaire is conducted according to the rules attendant to other brevets.  It might be good to mention this in your pre ride notification with a link to the SIR Brevet Rider Expectations posted on the club website.  This notice will also trigger an on line pre-registration opportunity.  This magically appears on the club web page, though Bill Dussler, Eric Vigoren, and Albert may have something to do with this magic.  This will be useful to you later, so do not disregard it.

Collaboration with Cascade Bicycle Club


Albert may also share the ride announcement on the Cascade Bicycle (CBC) website. If that occurs, a ride leader for CBC will participate in the ride, making it a Cascade sanctioned event.  In that case a CBC waiver form will be present at the start of the ride (brought by the CBC ride leader) and must be signed by all riders regardless of affiliation.   More on registration, waivers, etc. later.

Waivers and Registration


Though SIR or RUSA membership is not required to ride the populaires, ALL riders must complete an SIR waiver form.  Club members may sign a group waiver.  If one in is not pre-printed from the pre-registration list, print off a blank group waiver from the club website and have members sign it prior to the start, just like a normal brevet.  Some may show up with an individual waiver they printed from the club website which is fine and will be accepted in lieu of signing the group waiver.   You may not get a printout of the pre-ride registration list.  If that is the case, make a copy of list on the webpage the night before the ride and use it to create your own excel spread sheet.  You will need this spread sheet for post ride reporting.  A simple four column spread sheet is all that is needed; Riders First Name, Riders Last Name, RUSA membership number, and Ride Time.


Non members will have to complete an individual waiver.  (Be sure to bring enough of these to the event for all non members)  This is the only way we can capture their personal information including emergency contact information.  ALL RIDERS MUST COMPLETE A WAIVER, NO EXCEPTIONS.  Remember, there is no ride fee and there is no requirement that riders be members of RUSA or SIR.


IF the ride is advertised on the CBC website, work with the CBC ride leader to assure all riders sign the CBC waiver in addition to the SIR waiver. A word of advice here:  How you set up registration can help the process.  Signs stating MEMBERs and NON-MEMBERS may help reduce pre-ride confusion.  Members sign the group waiver and non members complete an individual waiver.  All riders sign the CBC waiver and all riders get a route sheet and brevet card.  

At the start when registering riders ask if they have ridden a brevet before, specifically ask if they understand how the brevet card is used as proof of passage at controles.  If they are not completely familiar, explain the process to them. 

Route Design and Cue Sheet


As mentioned above, any previously approved populaire route may be used for a monthly populaire event.  New routes may be used but must be submitted to the RBA for approval first.  If you need help creating a new route ask Paul Johnson or Geoff Swarts, but ask early.

As with any brevet it is best to pre-ride or drive the route. Not only should you assure that there are no detours or miscues, but you should also look for ambiguous or misleading route configurations.  If the route has any or many unsigned roads or turns it would be good to note this on the cue sheet and to mention it during the pre-ride announcement.  Winter courses should take into account rider fitness, and weather conditions. Spring and summer courses can be more challenging, which seems to attract more riders.

Create your brevet card using the SIR Brevet Card Template on the club web site.  When calculating the times for the controles, use the actual distances from route sheet which was approved by the RBA.  Use the route distance calculator found on the RUSA website.

Your cue sheet should include a name and phone number riders can call if they elect to DNF on the ride.  This is important, because with members and non-members on the ride it can be challenging to keep track of all the riders from start to finish.

Pre Ride Announcements


In your pre-ride announcement make sure to mention:

·       All riders are expected to ride in accordance with the SIR Brevet Rider Expectations mentioned above.
·       Riders should be courteous in commercial controles.
·       If they abandon they need to let the ride organizer know (post a phone number on the cue sheet)
·       Any known hazards such as railroad crossings.
·       Make sure that all riders have signed or completed a waiver for SIR and for CBC (if this is a CBC sponsored ride)
·       Each rider is responsible for his or her own safety.

What to bring (to the start)


·       Controle Cards
·       Route Sheets
·       A printed copy of the list of pre-registered riders from the website.  Bring additional copies if you will have staffed controles
·       Individual Waivers (downloaded from the club website)
·       A blank group waiver (also downloaded from the club website)
·       A floor pump is nice
·       An SIR controle sign is nice, especially if you will have a secret controle along the route.  Contact Mark Roberts or Mark Thomas to locate these signs.
·       Extra Pens and a clip board or two for sign in are also nice.

Post Ride


Collect and validate all brevet cards.  Make sure all riders are accounted for.  Some riders may elect not to use their brevet cards and just want to ride along without turning in the card at the end.  This is OK so long as they signed a waiver prior to the start.  These riders should be accounted for on the Excel spread sheet as DNF.  Not to worry, DNF’s are not published for our Populaires. Riders who choose not to sign the waiver will not be allowed to participate in the ride. 

Complete the Excel spread sheet and send a copy to Mark Thomas and Eric Vigoren.  Send the cards to Mark Thomas, and all other paperwork to Eric Vigoren. The CBC waiver will be collected by the CBC ride leader.

Consider this an experiment, a trial run or possibly the beginning of a new tradition.  It is not cheap; the club must pay insurance for every ride we put on so do not take this lightly.  If these rides are not of interest to riders in the future they will be discontinued; we don’t want to burn scarce funds on activities that club members don’t support.  But please pay attention and take note of observations from the new riders.  If they like these rides note that down, if they suggest improvements make those notes as well.  If these rides are useful in expanding club member then they have fulfilled their purpose.  It is reasonable to think that at some time in the future we will have attracted all the new riders we are going to with this effort, at which time we may need to look for other ways to attract riders.

Finally, when you are done, give yourself and any other volunteers a pat on the back.  Without volunteers like you, there would be no brevets to ride.

Contributed by www.drcodfish @ blogspot.com

 

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