What is a Permanent or a Populaire?


A Permanent is a long distance cycling route that is “permanently available,” so you can ride it any time, not just on one specific date like with a brevet or other event. It is essentially an official route that you ride on your own schedule, rather than on an pre-appointed date. All of these routes are certified by Randonneurs USA (RUSA). They used to be “owned and managed” by private members of the the national club but are now part of a national network. Like brevets, routes can start and finish in the same location, but they can also run point-to-point or you can start at any control along the way too. Permanents are only open to RUSA members. They can be ridden alone or with a group (all members of a group should be members). Permanent rides in the US are validated by RUSA and recorded on your lifetime RUSA database, but do not count toward any international ACP awards or as a qualifier for a 1200km Grand Randonnée (except with special permission). A Permanent can count toward your yearly RUSA Distance Award totals or the R-12 award. The R-12 award is an excellent year-round goal (it requires you ride at least one Permanent or brevet, 200K or longer, each month for 12 consecutive months).

Interactive Map of U.S. Permanent Routes

A Permanent Populaire is merely a shorter Permanent between 100km to 199 km in length. Riding one of these rides each month will qualify you for the RUSA P-12 award.

See this page for information on brevets, which are very similar to Permanents, except they are “organized group rides” held on specific dates.
See this page on RUSA site for more information on Permanents.

Steps for Riding a Permanent (RUSA Members Only)

Register as a member and then get out a ride. Be sure to have an appropriate “proof of passage” like a Strava upload. You can then submit your own results to the RUSA website for certification.

Brevet Card Tips (now optional for permanents)

The purpose of a brevet card is to record your times or answer questions for informational controls as a means of “proof of passage.” In Europe, where randonneuring started, it is (or was) common for most stores to have rubber stamps. Randonneurs usually had their brevet cards stamped and had the clerk write in the time. In the U.S. however, receipts with a time imprint, are the more common proof of passage.

Steps for Creating & then Applying for Your “Own” Permanent Route (Resources Page)

  1. Cue Sheet: To create the cue sheet, I go in on Ride with GPS (i.e. RWGPS, it is free & best done on a desktop computer) and use the cues that are automatically created, but first I take out some of the clutter or extra cues that RWGPS puts in there first. I also verify via street view or in person, that the signs on the road match the cue sheet. I then add in the first and last cues as needed with checkpoint address (or control) info. For most permanents that which I mostly end up riding, I create a “quickie” cue sheet. I do a screen shot of the cue sheet and in Photoshop resave it as an approximate 6×9″ PDF file. I don’t like that RWGPS put the total mileage on the far right, but I only use a GPS so the cue sheet is to follow the RUSA rules, and rarely, if ever, use them for navigation. For most brevets or permanents that others are riding, I take more time and create an Excel-style cue sheet and save it as a PDF. I export the cues from RWGPS as a CSV file and import them into Open Office, but his takes more time. Regardless, all cue sheets must have the open and close times on it for all store checkpoints. Info CPs don’t need em. The open and close times are calculated via this page on the RUSA site.
  2. RWGPS link(s): Be sure that your file is saved as a public one. With a free route permanent, Crista (or whomever is the current coordinator) will want to see the shortest possible route RWGPS link (which should match your cue sheet) and then an alternative RWGPS route to illustrate options.

After your first ride, on your first permanent application, as a newish member, RUSA will want to see a completed brevet card & receipts or signatures, just to be sure you are doing things correctly. Once again, like cue sheets, I personally never use paper cue sheets or brevet cards for routes I own, as I just look at my elapsed time on Strava and enter the results on the RUSA website. Some people, on the other hand, like to have a memento of their ride, so a brevet card is a nice keepsake.

Mount Nebo & Mona Reservoir (Land O’ Goshen & Nebo routes)

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