Monday, January 30, 2017

Favo(u)rite Distances: RUSA vs. Audax UK

Randonneuring has lots in common among all riders and organizers. But each country is different in what they emphasize and how they do things. Vive la différence!

I had a look at the Audax UK annual report (thanks to our friend Mark Thomas for the link). Interesting how our ridership levels differ at the various distances. For Audax UK, the most popular distance is 100km. For RUSA, it's 200km. So I decided to compare the overall 2016 stats (click chart to enlarge). It's kind of a dramatic difference:

As you can see, 100km is a hugely popular distance for AUK riders. For us, I think we are using Populaires as intros to the longer distances, starting with the 200k's. So we are not emphasizing the populaire distances as much. Some RUSA regions offer only a few. And of course we don't have a 50km (31 mile) distance at all.

At the longer distances, the ridership contrast is still pronounced. Looks like we have more folks going after 300k's, 400k's, and 600k's. One difference, admittedly, is that we have a lot of 1000k events and a good offering of 1200k's every year. The 2016 1200k offering in the UK is probably the fascinating Scottish Highlands 1200k you may have read about from our rando colleague Ian Flitcroft in American Randonneur.

Eldorado Canyon near Boulder

Of course, this year, our four 1200k's are not going to compare with London-Edinburgh-London's ridership. :-)

And Audax UK's absolute ridership is actually greater than ours (overall, though not at specific distances), despite their being an island nation much smaller than ours. It's all just a difference in styles, history perhaps, and emphasis.

So there you have it.  Your thoughts appreciated!


This is the second in a series of "stats" posts that I hope you'll find interesting. I have not yet published the first - about RUSA membership - so you can feel free to anticipate!


  1. Jphn Lee -- this is based on brevet-populaires and brevets, yes? No permanents included, correct?


    1. Very good point, Martin. It's only based on populaire and brevet events. No perm data included. The AUK report did not include similar stats for perms, unless I missed them. Also, their perm program includes GPS/DIY perms, so that might be apples vs. oranges.

      In any case, I ran the stats including perms, and yes, we had a more robust <200k showing because of the perm realm, probably because of the P-12.

      -john lee

    2. two things:

      (1) thanks for adding that clarification, John Lee. I looked through that AUK annual report: I think it would be useful for RUSA to do a similar year-end report, starting with membership counts and financial information. I think we should not try to duplicate the scope and length of the AUK report, but should start small and simple, making any additions slowly.

      (2) regarding my comment above, one would think that I ought to be able to spell "John" correctly. (Hint, my middle name is "Martin," but I've never been called by my actual first name. Have you guessed what my first name is?