Author Topic: what's the current state of UK Audax ?  (Read 15651 times)

what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« on: May 30, 2018, 03:25:10 pm »
new to this discipline, know nowt about it, apart from a couple of 200k's I've done...is it on the up, more events and participation, homeostasis or decline ? Seen a few videos on youtube that mention it's changed a lot recently but that's true for all types of cycling being a bit more 'golf' like...
look down from t' hills across a land traversed..having known at least a route through, and written it in body and ascribed the mind to its ways

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 03:28:54 pm »
Hold on. Let me get some popcorn.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 03:48:48 pm »
Number of events is basically static, membership grows about 10% annually, participation in longer events has grown similarly in recent years after a decade of static numbers starting around the turn of the century.

http://www.aukweb.net/results/statistics/ gives some numbers.
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frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
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Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 04:02:56 pm »
Surprisingly healthy (given the increased competition from sportifs, night rides etc).  If there was a period of decline it was around 1998-2008, but since then things have looked much healthier statistically.
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2018, 04:10:26 pm »
My dad says it's changed - it used to have the reputation of a bunch of slightly weird older men sleeping in bus shelters, eating flapjacks, drinking cold tea and scowling at passers by. Now it's got a better rep with wider and more diverse participation, more like low-intensity sportives with even more stops at cafés or even - pause for effect - pubs.
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https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2018, 04:17:40 pm »
Depends which end of the ride. Front end=mostly normal, back end= Morris dancers on bikes.

Pick a spot

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2018, 04:20:59 pm »
I like the weird and wonderful bikes... I always get disappointed if I don't see trikes, foldings, recumbents, faired Velomobiles or else...




mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2018, 04:29:24 pm »
My dad says it's changed - it used to have the reputation of a bunch of slightly weird older men sleeping in bus shelters, eating flapjacks, drinking cold tea and scowling at passers by. Now it's got a better rep with wider and more diverse participation, more like low-intensity sportives with even more stops at cafés or even - pause for effect - pubs.
For me, the great thing about audax is that it's (mostly) for riders who don't much care about reputations. And it's easily the most diverse niche out there.

(heck, we even welcome Flatus and his plastic bikes).

It's not like cyclists have that great a reputation in the UK generally, no matter how cool you think your kit, your bike, your hair, or your choice of event are!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2018, 06:19:26 pm »
..... the most diverse niche .......

Oxymoron?
 ;D

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2018, 06:31:05 pm »
My dad says it's changed - it used to have the reputation of a bunch of slightly weird older men sleeping in bus shelters, eating flapjacks, drinking cold tea and scowling at passers by. Now it's got a better rep with wider and more diverse participation, more like low-intensity sportives with even more stops at cafés or even - pause for effect - pubs.

Here's a photo of mattc stopping off mid-ride for a quick dance


Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2018, 07:47:28 pm »
Participation at the longer distances is cyclical. AUK was founded to put on qualification rides for the 1200 km Paris Brest Paris, which is held every four years.

200, 300, 400 and 600 km rides are required for what we call PBP. So they are much commoner in PBP years. Change becomes very apparent in those years, as 4 year's trends are expressed.

The UK has one of the higher foreign participation rates in PBP, but it's been relatively stable in comparison with the rapid growth in some countries; Thailand especially.

London Edinburgh London is another popular ride, but that has no qualification requirements. It raised the profile of AUK in 2013 and 2017.



Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2018, 07:52:08 pm »


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Bianchi Boy

  • Cycling is my doctor
  • Is it possible for a ride to be too long?
    • Reading Cycling Club
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2018, 08:11:13 pm »
This conversation goes around from time to time. Audax is a special kind of cycling because  only a limited number of people will consider riding 600km in a weekend a sane idea. Just get your head around it please. You give up a whole weekend to ride so far you are incapable of rational thought. Then you are so tierd you only function at 50% for a while. Please come on it is not normal to ordinary people.

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Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2018, 08:45:22 pm »
This conversation goes around from time to time. Audax is a special kind of cycling because  only a limited number of people will consider riding 600km in a weekend a sane idea. Just get your head around it please. You give up a whole weekend to ride so far you are incapable of rational thought. Then you are so tierd you only function at 50% for a while. Please come on it is not normal to ordinary people.

Define 'normal'   and 'ordinary people' ?
I'm very ordinary but my definition of normal has been re-calibrated by repeated audaxing, not only that but mind & body have adapted so that I am able to function tolerably well after a 600km; probably rather better than those whose idea of 'fun' is to become inebriated on a Friday evening and remain so until Sunday.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2018, 09:00:49 pm »
Depends which end of the ride. Front end=mostly normal, back end= Morris dancers on bikes.

Pick a spot

I'm so glad I've been doing my Audax rides on the Continent. I'm very much a full value rider, and push the time limits so much I have taken to giving ride organisers access to my InReach tracker so they can see where I am...

Am definitely not a Morris dancer...

J
--
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Smeth

  • less Grimpeur than Whimpeur...
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2018, 11:15:22 pm »
Emotional ramble warning:    After a gap in a long cycling life I came back to find that rather than everything being run by volunteers there was huge publicity for commercially run events. Re-finding Audax proved that the Corinthian, amateur, volunteering ethos is still flourishing, getting a good feed of new riders from Sportives who want that spirit along with some truly epic challenges and less fuss (and cost). Wierd, friendly, traditional, retro, trendy (!) forward looking, respecting traditions, however you want to look at it. The variety of events is huge, there is razamatazz if you want it though not often. Or you might be sent on your way by a bloke in a car park with "see you in two days". Self sufficiency, physical and mental challenge, cameraderie, ride alone, ride with a group, hares and tortoises, diversity, smaller events, meaning quieter smaller and more wonderful roads presented by the local expert.

And the grumpys in bus shelters? They're still there, but in with the steel there'll be titanium, tubeless, tri-bars, gpx, bike-packing kit and other new fangled devices. They'll be the ones with the route sheet, spares to lend you and a wet wipe for your brow. And it's great to see younger riders appreciating steel, Carradice, Brooks, fixed wheel.

In other words, it's in a good state.

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2018, 11:31:37 pm »
Over the 8 years I've been audaxing I've noticed that whilst the number of bearded riders has increased, the average length of beards has decreased, with the long bearded sandal wearing audaxer becoming a rare sight indeed. 
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2018, 12:20:25 am »
Am definitely not a Morris dancer...


Yet ...


The Morris is like Audax - before you knew about it, you had no idea how it would take over your life.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2018, 12:32:10 am »
Am definitely not a Morris dancer...


Yet ...


The Morris is like Audax - before you knew about it, you had no idea how it would take over your life.

Meeting in strange places on odd days - check
Sect clothes that are appropriate for what you do but are pervy weird for the other 99.99% of the population - check
Odd rituals that spook normal people - check
Ringing tinny bells to attract attention - check

Yes. Audax is the new Morris Dancing.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2018, 07:34:24 am »
I've been an AUK member for far too long (my membership number is 12xx),  and although I no longer ride events, I'd say that from my armchair AUK and audax in the UK is in better fettle than I've ever known it.

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frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
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Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2018, 08:37:20 am »
My dad says it's changed - it used to have the reputation of a bunch of slightly weird older men sleeping in bus shelters, eating flapjacks, drinking cold tea and scowling at passers by. Now it's got a better rep with wider and more diverse participation, more like low-intensity sportives with even more stops at cafés or even - pause for effect - pubs.

"Better"  ::-)
"This is a complex subject, with a need for more than one highlighter pen."

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2018, 08:55:01 am »
Here's the answer to the OP:

Rise of the ultra-cyclists: a new breed of riders go the distance

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2018/may/31/rise-ultra-cyclists-london-wales-london-audax?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

Front page of The Guardian Mobile site.

Shows how far audax has come in the last decade.

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2018, 10:18:31 am »
I was alerted by a fellow AUK member to the deputy editor of Cycling Plus riding Paris Brest Paris in 2015. I interviewed him, and put some of the footage from PBP and the qualifiers over it. It would never have occurred to me to edit out riders with beards, steel bikes or sandals.
It's inevitable that mainstream aspects of Audax are emphasised in presenting Audax to the mainstream, but it's a diverse field.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm8X11r-MdU

redfalo

  • known as Olaf in the real world
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Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2018, 11:06:51 am »
My dad says it's changed

like, well, everything in life. You can never step into the same river twice and all that sort of stuff

Re: what's the current state of UK Audax ?
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2018, 12:00:12 pm »
My gut feeling is that Audax is growing but on a lower trajectory when compared to cycling more broadly.
KIDDERMINSTER KILLER AND CLEE AUDAX, 20th July 2019; SOUTH SALOPIAN, 5th Oct 2019. http://beaconrcc.org.uk/audaxes/