Since riding PBP in 2011, I’ve developed a Twitter and Facebook addiction for tracking randonneuring events. It originally started when I discovered that I could follow ultra-running events like the Barkley Ultrarun in practically real time. That was so cool! Even though I have no thought of every doing Barkley, the fact that I could have a little as-it-happens window into the event felt pretty amazing.
I then noticed people like Mark Thomas (Seattle International Randonneurs) and Jerry Phelps (North Carolina Randonneurs) posting Facebook updates of their rides. Fantasy randonneuring!
It was great to check in on what other RUSA members were riding, and even see pictures of their riding companions. Through Facebook I’ve virtually accompanied people like Mark and Jerry on numerous brevets and permanents.
Twitter is another excellent source for real-time-randonneur action. While riding buddy Alec B. was riding the Shenandoah 1200K, I periodically checked his Twitter account for photos of the ride and progress updates. Alec’s Twitter was my main source for learning about what was happening on the ride.
Twitter and Facebook accounts are ideal for checking in the ACP brevets as well as RUSA permanents, but they are AWESOME for looking in on the progress of “big ride” like the 1000K and 1200K distances. If you can’t be on the course with the riders, then following their updates is the next best thing. Pictures, tweets, status updates… your legs never get tired from pedaling, but you still have an insider’s view of the ride.
In the past, I’ve followed blog updates (and those are great, too so please don’t stop doing them, ride organizers!), but over the past couple of years I have turned more to Twitter and Facebook since more and more randonneurs seemed to post ride updates via these outlets.
Twitter and Facebook are also good for following rides in faraway places. I have eagerly followed events in Australia and the UK. Twitter especially is a great tool for checking in on events and randonneurs, and it is perfect for a quick shout of encouragement to riders. Felkerino and I have benefited from the virtual support of riders we know personally as well from those who are part of the global randonneuring community (big thanks for that, tweeps and Facebook peeps).
Twitter. Facebook… and here I thought they’d never be useful for anything.