How a Brevet Works

Riders are provided with a brevet card (kinda like a passport) and printed (paper) cue sheet showing the route at the start of the ride. Riders must follow the route exactly and pass through the controls (sometimes called checkpoints) on time. Passing through the control prevents shortcutting. Controls are also provided as brief rest and nutrition refill points. It will be very rare that you need to ride more than 35–50 miles without passing through a town or location with services, or at the very least, a potable water supply. If you should get off course, you must return to the route where you got off track.

If you choose to not submit proof of passage, that is fine, but you will be listed on our site and the national site as a DNF (did not finish) or an unofficial finish.

There are two ways to “get official credit” on our site and on the national RUSA results page:

One — EPP (Electronic Proof of Passage): With more and more cyclists using a GPS for navigation it makes sense that this tool could be used for verification of your “proof of passage,” instead of the old school methods of a signature on a brevet card or store receipt, you may upload of your ride onto a public website like Strava or Garmin Connect. At the finish of your ride, be sure to e-mail the link to the RBA ( The key is making sure you have an external battery source so your GPS will make it to the end. Some riders briefly charge or top off their GPS at each rest stop, while others have a small battery in their top tube or handlebar bag, so it can be constantly charged while riding.

Two — Use a Brevet Card and fill it using one of the five required Proof of Passage controls (or checkpoints) you might encounter during a brevet (these are listed on the brevet card and also the printed cue sheet you will receive at the beginning of the ride). Every rider must stop at each control to have his or her brevet card verified, thereby obtaining “proof of passage.” 

  1. Store Control: Obtaining a receipt from a convenience store or other establishment is very common on brevets. Also acceptable is a stamp or signature by a store clerk with the time notated. Obtaining both a receipt and a signature are not needed, as long as you don’t lose your receipt! If a brevet volunteer is at the checkpoint, he/she can sign your card instead of getting a receipt.
  2. Staffed Control: At certain checkpoints (usually only the start with brevets with Salt Lake Randonneurs), which may or may not be located near a store, a volunteer will be there to sign or stamp your brevet card. If for some reason, a brevet official is not there, obtain a receipt or take a picture instead at the nearest establishment.
  3. Information Control: This type of checkpoint requires that you answer a question about a nearby sign or unique location identifier. Write your answer on your brevet card or take a picture and text it to the organizer (regional brevet administrator or RBA). Recording your time is not necessary. Informational checkpoints are used when a rider could potentially take a shortcut and there is no establishment or store nearby to obtain a receipt or signature. This type of control proves that you took the designated, but “longer” route.
  4. Secret Control: There may be one or more “surprise” or secret checkpoints along your route, staffed by a brevet official. You must stop and get a signature or stamp on your brevet card.
  5. Postcard Control: Rarely used, this type of checkpoint requires that you mail a provided postcard at a specific post office to prove that you passed through that town or location.

Other Rules

Following the Route — It is not enough that you ride the required number of miles or kilometers — you must ride the route exactly as it appears on the cue sheet. Anyone observed taking shortcuts from the official route will be disqualified, but there is no penalty for detours or unforeseen things such as road construction, flooding, or traffic accidents. Brevets are not races, but riders must reach the control on time so as not to be disqualified. Riders can stop and rest any time, but the clock is always running. The minimum overall average pace on brevets is about 15 kph (9.25 mph) to a maximum of 33 kph (20.5 mph) or so.

At the finish, sign your brevet card and turn it over to a brevet official, along with your receipts (if any). The results are sent to the national organization (Randonnuers USA, RUSA) and to the international governing body in France (Auxax Club Parisien, ACP). At the end of the season, if you opt to when you register for a brevet, you will receive your brevet card back, with the official stamp or sticker on the back. Results are then posted on this web site and on the RUSA site. Since brevets are not races, the results are listed alphabetically and not by finish times. RUSA members are entitled to buy medals if they finish a series successfully.

Open & Close Times at Controls — Control #1: You can start up to an hour late (assuming you have a brevet card & have proof of your departure time), but the published opening & closing times will remain the same.
The Opening and Closing Times at Control #2, #3 etc.: The Opening time is the earliest at which you can arrive at a checkpoint. The Closing time is the latest you can arrive. Arriving after the closing time will result in a disqualification, unless you have a valid reason beyond your control. This might include a road closure or stopping to help at a traffic accident, in which case the ride organizer may waive the fact that the rider arrived at the control late and allow the rider to continue. Poor bicycle or equipment maintenance, fatigue, lack of fitness, hunger, etc. are not unforeseen and beyond the control of the rider and therefore will not serve as a valid reason for being late. Failure to make all checkpoints, even if the brevet is done within the overall time limit, will result in disqualification.

Factors to Look For

Weather — The rides are held rain or shine. Bring adequate clothing for variable weather conditions. Brevets are long events and the weather might change a great deal before you reach the finish.

Lighting — Most brevets, 300km or longer, will probably have some riding in the dark. Proper lighting is essential and required by law. Reflective ankle bands, reflective vest (not just a vest with reflective strips on it) or an X-sash, a white light in front and a red light in the back are required. A backup for each light is highly recommended. Many cyclists carry a headlamp for use as a backup front light and also for use as for doing street-side repairs.

Self Reliance and Determination — Brevet riders are expected to be self-sufficient and tenacious. They should be able to repair their bike, read a cue sheet, and deal with bad weather. Having said that, we’re not going to leave you stranded. We do not have the resources to sag but we sometimes can get you back to your car or help you call a friend for a ride.

Integrity — It is not practical to have event officials everywhere. Brevet riders are on their honor to follow the rules. Friendly camaraderie, not competition, is the hallmark of randonneuring.

Sanctioning — All brevets are sanctioned by Randonneurs USA (RUSA) and most are also sanctioned by Audax Club Parisien (ACP) in France too. ACP-brevets (and some RUSA-sanctioned events) can be used as qualifiers for 1200 kilometer events. ACP brevets count towards Super-Randonneur, Randonneur 5000 & RUSA awards. RUSA (USA domestic events) count toward RUSA distance awards, R-12 & the Ultra-Randonneur award (200k+ events). More Info On Awards.

Below is a selection of edited rules for Brevets from the national RUSA website. Also visit these pages for rules on Permanents (which are about the same as Brevets): Perm Rules or Perm FAQ.

Support — Each rider must be self sufficient. No personal follow cars or support of any kind are permitted on the course. Personal support is only allowed at checkpoints.

Lighting — For night riding, bicycles (or recumbents) must be equipped with front and rear lights attached to the frame or bag. Backup lighting systems and/or spare bulbs are strongly recommended in case the primary system fails and cannot be repaired on the roadside. Each rider, whether riding in a group or alone, must fully comply with this requirement.
During hours of darkness or other low-light conditions, all riders must wear a reflective vest, sash, Sam Browne belt, or some other device that clearly places reflective material on the front and back of the rider. During these times all riders will also wear a reflective ankle band around each ankle.
Any violation of these night riding rules will result in the immediate disqualification of the rider.

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