Audax: Free controls

Discussion in 'Audax, Brevet and Randonnee' started by Dogtrousers, 7 Jun 2017.

  1. All the audaxes I've done have had either manned controls where you get your card stamped, or info controls where you try to answer a question (that is normally straightforward, but sometimes infuriatingly baffling, but that's another story).

    But I've now signed up for one with free controls where you have to get a receipt. Now, years of filling in expenses forms and screwing them up have taught me that if it's possible to do something wrong, I will do it wrong.

    So: For a free control where you're told to get a receipt, what's the procedure. Is it possible to screw it up? Or do I just find a garage and buy a lion bar? What do I do then? Do I have to annotate the receipt for the organiser? What if nowhere is open? Or if I can't find anywhere where I can leave my bike with adequate security?

    What could possibly go wrong?
    Donger likes this.
  2. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels
    Photo of the location on yer phone as well?
    Donger likes this.
  3. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    That should do the trick nicely.

    The organiser has a responsibility to make sure there are appropriate places to obtain proof of passage - the event would not be allowed to go ahead if the controls are deemed unsuitable.

    What event is it? Perhaps others familiar with the ride/locations can help assuage your fears with more specific info...
    Scoosh, Noru and raleighnut like this.
  4. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    Carrying a small, lightweight café lock is a good idea - it only needs to be strong enough to be a deterrent to opportunist thieves. On the recent LWL 400, two bikes were stolen at around 1am from outside the Lambourn control, which was a village hall on the edge of town - it's easy to be complacent when you're in a seemingly quiet location. Luckily the bikes were later recovered but it's not worth taking a chance.
    raleighnut, Noru and Dogtrousers like this.
  5. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    This is very rarely a problem these days. Again, it's the kind of thing the organiser should have considered when devising the route and selecting the control locations.

    No, you can usually just get a balance statement - as long as you don't mind the organiser seeing how stinking rich you are!

    Plastic ziplock bags are usually provided along with your brevet card at the start. Keep your brevet card and any receipts in this bag.
    Scoosh and Dogtrousers like this.
  6. Ajax Bay

    Ajax Bay Veteran

    East Devon
    First of all, the ride is there to be enjoyed, and detail like this must not be allowed to interfere with that. Some riders enter an audax but do not bother with this evidence of passage gathering. So what if their ride is not verified (or whatever) and their name does not appear in the list of those completing. They've had a good ride, or a challenging one; or both. But if external (to the rider) validation is important to the rider then this is a minor issue that needs to be completed with minimum fuss.
    Since you're suggesting this may be an issue for you, here are a few suggestions, based on what I do.
    1) As part of my route preparation for an audax I do an ATM search at the control sites and then Google Streetview them, and also look for on the street stores (eg Coop, McColl, Spar, Premier). At an ATM I just take out £10, which avoids my account balance being shared with an organiser subsequently.
    2) Make sure you select the 'cash with receipt' button, and wait for the printed slip. Check it for a location and a time. Place said slip in a plastic bag. Some put it with the Brevet Card, but I think this has risk as you will be pulling that out to present for stamping at manned controls, or to see what the 'info control' question is and maybe write the answer down (as opposed to memorising it). Whatever; put receipts/slips in a secure and consistent place.
    3) If you want to buy something anyway (banana(s), milk, water, pasty, sandwiches) don't waste time diverting to / visiting an ATM, just make sure when paying you ask for and get a receipt. Check it for a location and a time. If both aren't shown, ask the checkout person to write the location and/or time on and sign it. One's slightly odd situation, with explanation as necessary, means people will invariably be content to do this.
    4) If there's a car park with a ticket machine, this can be an inexpensive option for 'evidence of passage'. Same goes for a railway 'permit to travel'.
    5) As a last resort riders go for a photograph (with 'time of photo' enabled) or with the time showing in the background of the shot of a esoteric 'view' at the control village/town eg a street name plate. This is more complicated to present at the finish, and more trouble for the organiser/check in desk - hassle which both you and they would prefer to avoid. This is normally a 'wee hours' problem.
    You have then to do nothing more than complete the ride and present the Brevet Card and the receipts/ATM slips to the finish (arrivee) check in desk and they will do the rest. HTH
  7. Ian H

    Ian H Guru

    East Devon
    Reminds me of an early Sunday morning stop at the only shop open (on a quick 600, two of us first on the road). I made a small purchase and asked for a receipt. The shop-keeper laughed and said –a receipt? for a few pence? I don't think so. I explained why and he responded, after a suitable pause –but I do have a rubber stamp. So the cards were completed the old-fashioned way.

    Anything with a date and time is fine. In extremis I have asked if someone without proof was with any other riders who could vouch for them.
    PMarkey, Banjo, Scoosh and 2 others like this.
  8. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    The Red Enclave
    This tallies with my experience that organisers are very good at taking a common sense approach to this matter. I've yet to meet an organiser who actually wants to make it more difficult for riders to get validated than is absolutely necessary.
    Dogtrousers, Banjo and jiberjaber like this.
  9. jiberjaber

    jiberjaber Über Member

    We had an issue on Sunday morning at 06:00, the ATM had no paper, I purchased a car parking ticket, some others went looking in a train station and found a permit to ride machine where you can stick in 10p or so and get a 'receipt' you can use as POP.

    It helps the organisers if you stick a number on the receipt and in the brevet box plus highlight the time and date on the receipt.

    Plus if you are posting off your brevet and POP evidence, take a photo of them before you post them off... just in case :smile:

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  10. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Atop a Ti
    You are reading far too much into it and stressing for no reason. Just go to garage or shop. Theres always somewhere open. Forget the Lion bar. Buy an ice cream.
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2017
    mcshroom and Dogtrousers like this.
  11. Ian H

    Ian H Guru

    East Devon
    A friend of mine buys soap.
    Dogtrousers and Ajax Bay like this.
  12. Banjo

    Banjo Fuelled with Jelly Babies

    South Wales
    I know someone bought a sack of coal for proof of passage.He actually paid for it and arranged to collect it the next day .Still raised an eyebrow at the finish.

    Any receipt with a location and time is ideal. If impossible then get a photo of the closed shop or whatever .

    Organizers are all audaxers who have been there and got the T shirt.
    Trickedem, Donger, Vegan1 and 2 others like this.
  13. Deanie81084

    Deanie81084 Active Member

    Harlow, Essex
    Always prefer 'free' controls to manned or info, don't know why.
    Dogtrousers likes this.
  14. Ajax Bay

    Ajax Bay Veteran

    East Devon
    Perhaps you haven't been lucky enough to enjoy manned controls combined with food on offer. The control at Pandy (visited twice) on the Gospel Pass 200 ten days ago, organised by Steven Poulton, was outstanding. And the manned and feeding controls at Penzance and Bude on @Ian H 's Kernow and SW 600 (2016) were similarly excellent, and much appreciated at 250km and 375km.
    Even without 'free' food, eg at a commercial cafe, don't you think it's nice to meet the organising team and chat? And a manned control means all have to visit so there's the opportunity to socialise a bit and team up for the next section. YMMV
    If they could get rid of infos, organisers would (I think it's an Audax UK policy), but often the integrity of the route requires a control along a particular stretch of road, but there's nowhere to get proof of passage.
    Dogtrousers and raleighnut like this.
  15. YukonBoy

    YukonBoy Guru

    Was he taking it to Newcastle?
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