Category Archives: Paris Brest Paris

The Randonap

Since beginning my glamorous randonneuring career in 2005, I’ve not only ridden in places I never imagined, but I’ve dozed in an assortment of spots I never before would have considered comfortable or conducive to sleeping.

Ride long enough, sleep little enough, and you too will find yourself mastering the strategy of the perfect randonap.

PBP Randonap

As the body pleads for rest, the eyes become sharper at identifying flat smooth surfaces the size of a person’s body. Benches, church parking lots, covered gazebos (particularly helpful if it’s raining), parks in a town center, and grass-lined ditches make for some prime randonap locations.

Because domestic events do not have the same number of people participating in them, it’s more difficult to spot someone in the midst of a randonap. During the 2011 edition of Paris Brest Paris, though, we saw plenty of people demonstrating their mad randonap skills.

randonap PBP

People could be found catching a few winks at controles and in the countryside. Many riders brought along mylar blankets to wrap themselves in while they slept. I called them baked potato people, while my friend Andréa gave them the title of human burritos.

Others didn’t sweat the mylar blanket. They identified their randonap location, dismounted their bikes, and closed their eyes for a brief snooze.

randonap on PBP

The randonap contingent was particular visible on the final day of PBP. As we rode along, randonappers peppered the countryside. House, cow, randonapper. Barn, pasture, bench, randonapper.

I’ve become a big fan of the randonap, especially during 1000K and 1200K events, even 600Ks. The reenergizing powers of shutting down for 15 minutes or so are remarkable, especially if you succeed in staking out a quiet open air location accompanied by a smooth piece of pavement or ground. Ahh, you randos know how good it feels!

randonap PBP

The randonap is kind of like camping, only with a brevet card in your hand, a bike parked nearby, the clock constantly ticking, and hundreds of miles crammed into your legs.

The theme of randonapping is also a good conversation starter among rando-friends, say, at the post-ride pizza party or after you’ve had some real sleep. What’s the strangest place you ever slept? Best randonap you ever had?

What are the best places for sneaking in a randonap? Don’t give away your secrets when you answer this last question. Craft your response carefully. You don’t want anyone stealing your most treasured randonap real estate.

PBP 2015: To Go or Not to Go Again?

The turning of the calendar to 2015 also means the arrival of a “PBP year.” Paris-Brest-Paris, the most heralded, historic, and international of all grand randonnees now peeps its head around the corner and beckons to us randonneurs, a mere eight months away.

I thought that deciding on a return trip to PBP would take little internal debate. I would set my sights on it, no matter what. Yet, as of this writing, I feel mixed. Like the self-help books taught me, I drafted a list of pros and cons to aid my decision-making. Continue reading PBP 2015: To Go or Not to Go Again?

All Dressed Up For PBP: The Towns Along the Way

This is the latest in a series of posts I’ve been planning about the incomparable international randonneuring event, Paris-Brest-Paris.

Previously, I wrote about Drew Buck, who completed PBP 2011 on a 1900 Peugeot, a as well as the tandem bicycles (Post 1 and Post 2). Today I’m talking about the towns along the PBP route. Continue reading All Dressed Up For PBP: The Towns Along the Way

More Tandems at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

After digging through the photos archives, I discovered more tandem shots worth sharing from the last edition of PBP. That is, they are not hopelessly blurry or otherwise terrible. Perhaps you will even recognize some of the randonneurs. Continue reading More Tandems at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

Tandem Bicycles at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

Events like Paris-Brest-Paris are difficult to unbox all at once. Some aspects can be, such as the immediacy of the ride experience and the emotions and physical states experienced.

Felkerino and me, bike inspection

Others take time to absorb and appreciate especially when, for many of us, PBP occupies a small space in between a flurry of other activities and responsibilities. It also happens after an intense period spent building our stamina through longer rides, including a full brevet series and summer training. Continue reading Tandem Bicycles at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

PBP Memories: Drew Buck and his 1900 Peugeot

This week BBC News ran a feature about Drew Buck, a long-distance cyclist from Somerset, England, who is famous in the randonneuring community for completing Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) multiple times on vintage bicycles.

Drew Buck arrives at PBP. Love this shot. Photo by Felkerino
Drew Buck arrives at PBP on his vintage retrodrive Peugeot. Love this shot. Photo by Felkerino

The article prompted me to search through my own set of photos from the 2011 edition of PBP, and I realized that Felkerino I had the pleasure of encountering Drew Buck at various points throughout the ride.

Continue reading PBP Memories: Drew Buck and his 1900 Peugeot

Paris-Brest-Paris by Tandem

Have you heard enough about PBP yet? Well, hang on just a minute, because I’ve got one more story to share with you.

Felkerino and I co-wrote a short piece about what it meant for us to complete this past August’s Paris-Brest-Paris by tandem. It was published in the most recent edition of American Randonneur, the quarterly newsletter distributed by Randonneurs USA.

Felkerino and me, with Rob Hawks on PBP 2011 (c) Antoinette Galon

Randonneurs USA members may have already seen the article, but for those who have not, we decided to post it over at one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Randonneur. Click on over and check it out. It will make you immediately want to buy a tandem and start training for PBP. Kidding, though I do hope you like it!

See you on the road, everybody.

2011 in Review: All Rides Lead to Paris-Brest-Paris

Now that 2011 is coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the year, as many people do. For me, 2011 was all about Paris Brest Paris, not just because of the event itself, but also because of all the careful planning and diligent pedaling it took to get there.

In early 2010, Felkerino and I decided that we would attempt to ride the 2011 edition of Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) together on tandem. Continue reading 2011 in Review: All Rides Lead to Paris-Brest-Paris