While browsing the world wide web early in 1998, I read the specification for the St John Street Cycles Audax bike (http://www.sjscycles.co.uk), and the background information on Audax events. After also reading the Audax UK web pages(http://www.audax.uk.com), I decided it might be interesting to try a few of the shorter Brevet Populaire rides. Audax rides are from 200km upwards, to be done at an average speed of 15-30kph, the best known being the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris (which has been successfully completed by riders of folding and separable cycles). These longer events represent a considerable challenge to the stamina of the rider, and even 200km at this speed is a greater distance than I have done in a single ride. The Brevet Popularies are shorter rides of 50, 100 or 150 km, and in some cases the minimum average speed is set lower note however that some of the shorter rides are very hilly and equally challenging, those with Grimpeur in the name and/or AA points. Audaxes and BPs are NOT races, and in most cases mudguards are obligatory, and the rules state that the route should be interesting.
When I first thought of trying a few 100km BPs I was planning to do them on my Moulton AM7, but I subsequently thought it would be more interesting to tackle them with a number of different folders and separables, and use the events as a basis for comparing the bikes not just for riding the event, but also factors such as carrying the necessary luggage (for a day ride of this kind one can travel quite light, but one is expected to be self sufficient in terms of tools etc), and getting the bike to the event.
Although Audax UK has a very large programme of events, finding suitable ones was not all that easy as I wanted 100km events, and I needed to be able to get to the event, complete it and return home in a day. This ruled out most Sunday rides, as there are no trains available in the mornings, and getting to the start point early enough on a Saturday is not always easy by train most events start before 10.00am.
The series of rides has now been completed, and a summary and some conclusion will be produced very shortly and will be added to this page. This will include some observations on the advantages and disadvantages of using folders and separables rather than conventional bikes for this type of event.
If anyone would like to comment or start a discussion on these tests, we will provide a further space here. email me any material for inclusion in this discussion area.
There are no doubt many of you who would not regard 100km at 15kph as a long ride at all, but on the other hand there are others for whom that represents more than they would consider doing on a folding bicycle. Whether you belong to one of these groups, or, like me, you are somewhere between, I hope that you will find something of interest in this comparison of some of the most popular folding and separable cycles.
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Last updated: 20 August 1999