Randonneuring is often described as a “big tent” with many valid approaches, and there are many reasons why people ride their bikes long distances. For me, it comes down to three elements:
Beauty: I live in the city, but I love riding through the countryside. Randonneuring enables me to take vacations and ride in places I rarely would visit. I see views that I have not seen before, and discover wonderful roads that brevet organizers have sought out. Night-time riding is a plus – climbing mountain passes under a full moon or a starlit sky is incredibly beautiful.
Challenge: I enjoy testing myself, and randonneuring offers plenty of opportunity for challenging, yet safe, exploits. Can I ride from Seattle to the highest roads on Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier and back in 24 hours? Can I ride 1200 km almost non-stop? Or simply: How long will it take to ride this particular 400 km course?
Friendship: Riding with others toward a shared goal creates strong friendships. It’s not surprising to me that the cyclotouring clubs in Paris formed one of the strongest support networks during the German occupation of World War II – when you ride long distances together, you form strong bonds, and you also get to know people really well. In fact, I have met most of my best friends during randonneur brevets.
What makes randonneuring so appealing is that I can do all these things, leaving right from my doorstep, without a huge investment of time or money.
Which aspects of randonneuring appeal to you?