Good book(s) about randonneuring?
February 22, 2008 9:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good read about bicycle randonneuring, in English or French.

I know there are a ton of memoirs/bios available about racing and racers, especially the Tour--I am more interested in peoples experiences on brevets, audaxes, and fleches, Paris-Brest-Paris, and so forth.
posted by everichon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not quite what you're looking for, but you like history, you might be interested in John Foster Fraser's "Round the World on a Wheel":

"Being the narrative of a bicycle ride of nineteen thousand two hundered and thirty-seven miles through seventeen countries and across three continents"

Three Englishmen take a round-the-world bicycle ride, in 1896.
posted by fings at 10:14 AM on February 22, 2008

It's not a book, but a friend has a personal randonneuring blog at The Long Haul. He hasn't yet published his PBP experience from last year, but I like of his writeup of riding the Furnace Creek 508.
posted by turbodog at 10:14 AM on February 22, 2008


here's a good one from a friend of a friend.
posted by atom128 at 10:14 AM on February 22, 2008

I get all of my rando info from Joel Metz. His site is full of general info about bicycling history as well.
posted by monkeystronghold at 10:18 AM on February 22, 2008

Not a book, but you might find some good info/tales of first hand experiences on Felix Wong's web site, specifically this section on brevets and randonées. I stumbled on his site a year or two ago and have really enjoyed it. He discusses the rides he took to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris and some other rides of length. It's a nice read.
posted by mosk at 10:48 AM on February 22, 2008

Sorry, that would be "randonnées".
posted by mosk at 10:49 AM on February 22, 2008

I've never seen any books, though the paperback guide I got when I joined RUSA has a few stories in addition to the rules and advice. Vintage Bicycle Quarterly sort of goes in that direction. Bikelore I & II might also have a story or two, if memory serves.
posted by fixedgear at 10:49 AM on February 22, 2008

Not a book. However, Sheldon Brown's wife, Harriet Fell, has written about her PBP experience. It's the article that introduced me to the notion of randonneuring.
posted by mumkin at 11:05 AM on February 22, 2008

Response by poster: Great web resources, folks--thanks.
posted by everichon at 11:15 AM on February 22, 2008

everichon -- I completed PBP 2007 in August. You can read about my experiences on my LJ. On a friend's urging I also posted a summary entry that includes tips and advice for interested newbies, do read it over and feel free to provide feedback or ask questions if you have them.

When I was still eyeing the borderline craziness of randonneuring, I should note that my immediate interest was less in PBP and more in the now defunct Boston-Montreal-Boston. As a result, I spent a lot of time reading through the websites of New England randonneurs, including John and Pamela Blayley, Chip Coldwell and Sandiway Fong.

The Blayleys, in particular, have an extremely informative website. Pamela herself is awesome and has been riding brevets for decades and can be a treasure trove of information.
posted by bl1nk at 4:20 PM on February 22, 2008

I should also add that RUSA is in the process compiling their PBP yearbook, which will be in electronic form this year. If you want a comprehensive survey of (American) randoneering experiences, then join RUSA now and/or monitor/lurk in the RUSA Googlegroup for the impending announcement of the yearbook's release.

The RUSA handbook is also worth the price of membership, I'd say. If you are still in the process of spec'ing out a brevet bike, then you might want to write to Jan Heine and get a copy of the most recent Bike Quarterly article, which includes the results of an equipment survey for PBP riders. Personally, I think that the survey is of relatively limited utility due to some limited data profiles and poor controls. RUSA sponsored a more comprehensive survey around the same time and I expect that results will be published in the next newsletter issue.
posted by bl1nk at 4:35 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, bl1nk, that survey is available as a .pdf--will digest forthwith.
posted by everichon at 7:52 AM on February 23, 2008

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