Thanks for joining me!
Randonneuring is an ultra-endurance form of cycling. You have a distance to ride — a very long one — and a specific time in which to complete it. It is not racing, but it does have controls. These ensure that you are following the route, and doing so in a timely manner. Like all sports that test human endurance, randonneuring pushes its practitioners to their physical and mental limits.
I like randonneuring because it enables me to intertwine ideas of ethics with physical activity. It forces me to weigh the pros and cons of solitude and teamwork, to assess the risks of exertion vs. the safety of conservation, and, ultimately, to question the acceptability of the activity itself.
What is too far?
Can you even trust yourself to decide what is excessive, or what is … not enough?
Why? What kind of person would want to ride through the night in order to cover 600km?
What are you sacrificing? What are you missing? What have you abandoned?
What have you gained?
Have you made a fair trade?
Cycling has been a major part of my life ever since 1988, when I bought my first Bianchi and used it to ride all over York Region in Ontario. I tried racing very briefly in the early 1990s, but really disliked the machismo and destructiveness of criterium culture. Since that time I have continued to ride, primarily alone, and have only recently started riding in groups again.
In 2014, I joined the Randonneurs Ontario. I was voted the Rookie of the Year. I have started this blog to recount my randonneuring experiences in order to entertain other cyclists, and, perhaps, to help them accomplish their endurance goals. I will also include some photographs from my various rides. The above photo is of the Holland Marsh early one Tuesday morning in late June 2018. I took it at the start of a 600km ride I did to mark the Summer Solstice. Below is a photo from my first brevet of this season, the so-called 200km “Gentle Start.”
Diary of a Randonneur by Timo Grav is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.