Straight on at roundabout


Is Audax destined to be a minority sport?
October 30, 2010, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Audax information, PBP, Why

A depressing afternoon watch Saracens get beaten by Exeter sent me home wishing I’d been out on the bike. At least the day wasn’t wasted as I have planned my 2011 Paris Brest Paris campaign – I think I have worked out which qualifiers I would like to ride; which is probably a bit sad in October.

Perhaps that slight obsessiveness is one of the reasons why Audaxing doesn’t seem to appeal to as many people I would hope.

In fact there has been quite a lot of debate on the web recently asking why, despite the massive growth in the popularity of cycling, the numbers of people doing audax events hasn’t really risen much in the last few years.

This has led me to a few conversations with a number of people about how do we get more media coverage for audax events and a few weeks back I did a little research into the external image of Audaxing.

On-line no one really talks about Audaxing.  According to Google Insights people rarely search for Audax events (they do search for Audax-type cycles) and a conversation with a very good friend at the excellent Evans Cycles tells me that no one ever walks into a bike shop and asks about Audaxing.

However, a review of media coverage shows that time and again the word ‘challenge’ comes up in the connection of cycling events.  People seem to buy a nice bike, get the hang of local routes and realise that they can do something more.  They realise quickly that actually riding long distances like London to Paris or Lands End to John O’Groats is actually achievable with a bit of preparation.  Whilst most of us couldn’t imagine doing something like the Marathon Des Sables, we can sit on a bike for a few hours – and actually have fun in the process.

And Audaxing should fit the bill quite nicely for people looking for a bit of a challenge.

Every weekend there are events ranging from just 50Km to astonishing distances of 600km or more – which anyone can enter.  They cost almost nothing (most events cost about £5) and they are full of friendly people who will strike up a conversation at the drop of a hat – there are few aggressive young men racing for a time.  And best of all, when you get back to work on Monday and mention that you spent Saturday cycling from London to Wales and back your colleagues hail you as some form of modern Shakleton.

Audaxing is a challenge – but it’s democratic.  All you need is a bike, a fiver and a bucket of determination.  You don’t need to be a member of the Royal Marines, a five grand bike and a year of living as a monk.

But it get’s next to no media coverage.

This is going to be a challenge in the coming months that I’ve agreed to help rectify… so watch this space.

Liam

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