DIY - What is it, how does it work?

"Do it yourself audaxing".

I promised to explain what a 'DIY' is, since I've been referring to a DIY in a couple of earlier posts. If you have come across this post because you are serious about doing a DIY, don't take it all to the letter, there is more to DIY than is written here, there are exceptions, there are regional variances, there have been recent changes ...

What happens normally, is that you 'enter' to ride an event which is organised by an 'organiser' and is set to run on a particular day of the 'calendar'. You get a routesheet and a brevet card.

But there is nothing stopping you creating your own route, which you can ride any day of the year. They are called DIYs.

These do it yourself rides have a few rules. The rules are written up by the Audax organisation and are available on their website, but you don't really understand the implications of those rules till you go through the whole process of a DIY and have broken the rules. And then also, you begin to realise why somebody wrote as a top tip: "Make sure that there is a shop in the village where you can get a 'proper' receipt".

A 'proper' receipt, is a receipt which has the location and the accurate date and time (I have caught myself asking for an 'audax receipt'). This will act as 'proof of passage'. Sounds easy, only you designed an interesting route which goes through a picturesque village. You've been there before, you know there is a shop. This time the till has run out of paper and the cashier on their Saturday job, doesn't know how to refill or where the spare rolls are. There you go - show stopper. Now cycle back home, the whole purpose of audaxing is cycling, so why sulk?

You see, I already wrote that you can ride a DIY any day of the year. This isn't true, you need to tell the 'organiser' (who doesn't organise anything, but is extremely essential - crucial - in this process), exactly when you are going to do this ride. They don't need much notice though! Soon, a tweet a minute before you get your starter receipt will do. For now, an email the night before suffices.

Don't start thinking you can just send an email and ride a 200km the next day. You need to have 'entered' first. Entering a DIY involves filling in an form and sending it to the 'organiser'. You need to specify something here, I don't know what it is exactly. But what the 'organiser' needs to do is verify that the shortest possible distance of the ride is going to be at least 200km. So for that, I guess, he needs to know a start point, a few middle points and an end point. You can add as many points as you like, but remember the receipt rule! Points make receipts. Points are officially referred to as 'controls'.

This shortest possible distance effect is something you don't believe until you've ridden 240km to cover 200. The organiser will use mapping tools, like, with settings like 'by bike', to find the shortest possible distance of your proposal. But you might not want to cycle through double roundabouts and main roads, so you choose an alternative route for that section. The detour miles soon add up! There is an art in designing DIY routes.

But again, you might think its all about cycling, what's wrong with cycling an extra mile or two? Its fine, as long as you have enough time to do those miles. There is a minimum speed of 14.3kph you need to adhere to. So if you are over distance by 40km, you are going to have to start thinking about your ETA a little bit more (Estimated Time of Arrival).

A DIY is also called a DIY Permanent, not to be confused with normal Permanents. Now this is advanced Audax jargon ... and I'm staying well out of it until I have at least 10 years of audaxing under my belt with 5 LELs and 15 BCMs. Don't worry mum, only joking!

1 comment:

  1. Very well explained, but rather difficult for two oldies like us to understand. Anyway very interesting to read it. Thank you very much.
    Meim and Peip