This year’s crop of Minnesota Randonneurs have trained for the 745-mile course, to be completed in less than 90 hours. This weekend, 15 members of a Minnesota cycling group will be in France riding in the oldest long-distance road cycling event in the world: The Paris-Brest-Paris. And it’s not a race — it’s a journey.
It’s about 745 miles from Paris to Brest in Brittany and back again. Cyclists need to complete the course in 80 to 90 hours. It’s a test of endurance held every four years.
Chris Carlson, president of the Minnesota Randonneurs , joined Morning Edition by phone from France, ahead of the Sunday event. He said randonneuring isn’t about competition.
“That’s what’s fun about it, we tend to say it’s biking far with friends,” Carlson said. “It actually goes back to the beginning in the 1890s. A lot of people were biking for a living, if you can believe it. And some people got sick of racing … and they just wanted to do it for fun.”
And that’s how in 1981 the Paris-Brest-Paris was born. The Minnesota Randonneurs train for the 745-mile route. “That kind of was the beginning of the randonneurs, which is a funny word,” Carlson said. “Some people call us ‘random nerds.’ And it’s just a bunch of people having a good time back and forth.”
While it’s not a competition, the challenge and team spirit of the endeavor is what drew Carlson in for his first Paris-Brest-Paris attempt. Others in his group have completed the […]