How to do Audaxes/Brevets
First of all, let's get some of those confusing terms out of the way. A "Brevet", "Audax" or "Randonnée" all refer to the same thing: a type of cycling event where participants have to complete a given course within a predefined time. Another term that you might also read or hear of is "Randonneur" simply meaning a participant of a Brevet or Audax ride.
Brevets have a long tradition reaching as far back as the 1900s with riders challenging themselves to complete long distance rides such as Rome - Naples (don't forget that back they rode on fixed gear bikes!). Since the early 20th century there exists an international organisation called the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) which defined the rules of how Brevets should be organized. To this day, brevets are organized across the globe based on the same rules, with the most famous being the 1200km long Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) which is held every four years.
But we still haven't talked about what it actually means! Well, in a nutshell, for a brevet, organizers provide you with a predefined route that passes along some defined check points. At each of the check point you will have to stamp your brevet card, proving that you've been there. There is a maximum time for the completion of a Brevet/Audax. The time for the most popular brevet distances are: 13.5h for 200km; 20h for 300km; 27h for 400km; and 40h for 600km. Brevet rides are self supported meaning that riders must carry all their equipment themselves.