Covid-19 - Update 23 April 2020

COVID-19 PANDEMIC: ALL AUDAX UK EVENTS, COMPETITIONS AND AWARDS REMAIN SUSPENDED
 

Just over a month ago I had to write to members to announce the unwelcome but necessary decision to suspend validation of all Audax UK Events. It was heartening to receive so many supportive responses from members, who I hope are not offended by not receiving a personal reply.

I promised that the Board would review the position at its next scheduled meeting, which we held yesterday, 22 April, and that I would let you know what was decided.

It should come as no surprise that we agreed the suspension should remain in place, at least until there is any meaningful and relevant change to the current guidance on social distancing and group activities from the government. We are also closely monitoring the decisions being taken by other national sporting bodies, and organisations such as British Cycling and Cycling UK, as well as talking to our counterparts in other countries, some of which appear to be at a different stage of managing the pandemic. In the event of a change, the Board can convene a meeting at short notice to respond quickly.

With that in mind, we have also begun thinking about the best approach to resuming events, bearing in mind that it may not always be possible for organisers to reinstate rides – particularly calendar events – immediately.

Our foremost concern is the safety and well-being of our members, event organisers, their event staff, and the wider community touched by our events. These will be the most important consideration when making any decisions about lifting the suspension, whether partially or completely.

In the meantime, I know members have been busy with other Audax-related activities. Many have taken the opportunity to write that article for Arrivée that they have been thinking about for ages; Liam Fitzpatrick has begun hosting Friday night “RandonnChat” sessions using Zoom, with a variety of guests sharing their stories and opinions with other participants (email lfitzpatrick01@gmail.com for details and to register); we’ve heard of at least one AUK riding virtual brevets on Zwift; and I’ve no doubt many are spending a lot of time with OS maps or on route planning websites, dreaming of future DIYs.

Many thanks also to everyone who has responded to the membership survey that we sent out recently. Almost a third of members have now replied, which is an impressive response rate, but you still have until the end of May to give us your opinions. I hope we will be able to share some of the initial findings in the next issue of Arrivée, with full analysis following later in the year. One common request that has emerged is for past issues of Arrivée to be searchable online. In response, we plan to create a basic index of articles – but we need your help. If you would be interested in reading one or two old issues and cataloguing the contents please contact Rob McIvor on communications@audax.uk. All the issues are online, so you won’t need to have an original copy. We are also planning a photography competition for you to share your favourite Audax shots and to help us build up an archive of images for use on the website and elsewhere. Please keep your eye on www.audax.uk for details of that. Finally – and in an optimistic spirit – planning has begun for this year’s Reunion, which will be held in the south of England. Guest speakers have already been lined up and the intention is to have an even greater emphasis on social activities and rides than has traditionally been the format.

The suspension generated a large number of individual queries from members and organisers and I hope that my fellow board members and I have been able to resolve these to everyone’s satisfaction. I also want to say thank you for the many messages of support that we have received in the past few weeks. As I write this, with the sun streaming through the windows from a cloud-free blue sky, I can feel the frustration of our 8,000 or so members at not being able to pack a saddlebag, stuff a brevet card in the back pocket (in landscape format so it doesn't fall out) and ride out on the road. Please keep yourselves and your families as safe as possible, and I look forward to seeing everyone back in the saddle when these uncertain times are over.

Chris Crossland

Chair, Audax UK