Randonneuring, in simple terms, is long-distance cycling, wherein riders bicycle for 200 km or more. Though the concept existed in the city for some time, the locals are now warming up to the challenging idea. In fact, the city will witness a 200 km randonneuring event on Saturday, which will see around 250 participants.
When the idea was first introduced, the number of participants was barely a trickle. However, thanks to the development of a robust cycling ecosystem and increasing awareness towards a healthy lifestyle, the numbers have consistently increased. The randonneuring event to be held tomorrow is being conducted by Hyderabad Rondenneurs, which is known for its long-distance events.
The rides are referred to as Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs) or just brevets. So, anyone who finishes 200 km is a Randonneur. Those doing 200 BRMs, 300 BRMs, 400 BRMs, and 600 BRMs in a single season are called Super Randonneurs. According to one of the members of Hyderabad Rondenneurs, there are some who finish 1000 BRMs in a season.
All care is taken before the riders are flagged off. They are given detailed cue sheets though some use smartphones. Since they are long rides, the riders will need power banks to charge mobiles, lights, and reflecting vests for nighttime. Though many eat rice during rides, most of them carry caffeinated energy bars, gels, and some chikki too.
However, the trick is to use road bikes as they have a better aerodynamic design and are light in weight. One is told not to use electric bikes. Also, the riders need to be prepared to troubleshoot problems on the way, like fixing punctures or dealing with breakdowns during the course.
It is also important for the riders to fend for each other during rides and be alert of their surroundings at all times. One of the female riders shares an incident wherein some people riding on a bike tried to pull her hand during a ride. She says she ended up being safe thanks to her fellow riders and insists one must stay in a group when going that extra mile.