Covid-safe Protocols for The Cambridge Autumnals audax events

In order for Audax UK to sanction these events, we have designed a set of protocols and procedures to minimise the risk of covid-19 transmission between the organiser, helpers, and riders on these events.  These have been approved by Audax UK.  Please read and understand what is required of you during the events.

And I am really sorry for all these rules — this is the only way we are allowed to run these events, so this is a necessary evil.  Hopefully easier times lie ahead.  Please read, understand, and do as requested and required.

Rider protocols

These are necessary protocols to keep you and your fellow riders safe, and importantly on the right side of the law:

  • All applicable covid-19 regulations for England apply to all riders at all times on this event — group-size, social-distancing, mask-wearing, etc.

  • If you have any symptoms of covid-19, or if you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, or if you are awaiting a test result, then you MUST NOT ATTEND this event.  Let me know and we will take it from there.

  • The "rule of six" applies during the entire event.  This is the law in England.

  • The "rule of one-metre-plus" applies during the entire event.  This is the law in England.

  • At no time whatsoever must riders gather in groups larger than six — not at the start, not on the road, nor at the controls.  That includes NO MINGLING!

  • If multiple groups sit down in restaurants to eat then they should remain separate and not mingle.

  • I will set you off in groups of up to six riders per group at specific start times.  I will try to group friends together.  I will notify each of you of your precise start time well before the event date.  Note that you do not have to ride as a group; HOWEVER you SHOULD NOT mingle between groups, even if you never bring the number above six.

  • DO NOT APPROACH ME AT THE START UNTIL FIVE MINUTES BEFORE YOUR ALLOCATED TIME!  Or until I call your group forward.  And stay at least two metres away from me unless we're both wearing masks.

  • Groups should ride no closer than 200m from each other, preferably further — that's roughly half a minute apart at audax pace.  The further the better so that there is no question in the public's mind that you are keeping within the law — for the continued good reputation of cyclists in general, audax in particular.

  • If a fast group wants to overtake a slower group then the fast group should work harder for a few minutes to increase their pace to pass quickly, they should pass with plenty of clear air between the groups, and the slower group should soft-pedal and let them through and then allow a large-enough gap to grow.

  • Failure to follow these protocols may result in you being disqualified from the event and your result marked as "DNF".  I seriously hope not — we're all grown-ups here — I just have to say it so that it's clear up front.

Note that the one exception to the "rule of six" is that at the start/finish then I, as organiser, and any helpers of mine, are excluded from that number, so long as we operate in a covid-safe way — see next section.  This is because audax is an organised sport operating under British Cycling covid-rules agreed with HM.GOV; British Cycling is explicitly named in the Covid-19 Regulations For England document in the section about approved sports.

Organiser protocols

These are the things that I, and any helpers, will do to help keep you safe from covid-19 and to comply with current regulations pertaining to organised sports in England:

  • I will prepare everyone's brevet before the event, sealed in a baggie, and left to stand for at least the magic 72 hours.

  • I will maintain a clean, sanitised workspace when handling the brevets before, during and after the event.

  • I, and any helpers, will regularly sanitise hands at the start.  We will probably wear gloves, too, and replace them regularly, and sanitise them regularly.

  • During the start procedure, I and any helpers will adhere to strict one-metre-plus distancing: two metres, or one metre with additional protection (i.e. mask and gloves).

  • When addressing each group at the start, I will stand about 5m apart from riders and downwind, and you know there's going to be wind on the day.

  • When you return your brevets, I will let them sit untouched for at least 72 hours before handling.  Magic.

  • If I am contacted by NHS Test & Trace within 28 days of the event as regards a positive test for one of our entrants then I will lawfully share the names of the people in the group that contained the rider in question.  That information shall include your full name and the least amount of personal data required for Test & Trace to contact you (I believe they need just your phone number).

  • If I (or one of my helpers) am made the direct subject of a Test & Trace immediately after the event then I may have to provide the details of all participants — one purpose of this protocol is to mitigate against this eventuality, for your sakes.

  • If I, myself, have symptoms, or am told to self-isolate, or am awaiting a test result in the days leading up to the event-day then I will delegate the running of the start to a responsible other person.  If I am not able to arrange that (for example, my number two is also told to self-isolate) then I will cancel the event with full refunds.  I will have a quiet week (i.e. a normal week for me) in the lead up to the event to mitigate against this scenario.

And, for the record, I've just spent a small fortune ordering PPE, towels and alcopop gel dispensers to implement the above.  The only item I already had to hand is a bin.


  • These are x-rated events with a postal finishALL riders will be required to send their signed brevet to me using the envelope provided.  I might be in the car park when you finish, to hear your stories of derring-do, and will accept your completed brevets dropped into a box, but don't expect that.

  • There will not be any food distributed at the start or finish — yes, we are as disappointed about this as you no doubt are.  Ewa's cake will be there again at some point in the future, just not yet.

  • The entire start will be outside.  Which means we're guaranteed rain …

  • There will be a dispenser of hand sanitiser at the start for use by myself, my helpers, and riders.  And tissues.  And a bin.  Note: riders should bring their own bottle of hand sanitiser with them for use at controls.

  • There will not be any toilets at the start.  Not unless you count the hedges around the adjacent playing fields — and I implore you to think twice about that.

  • There will be water available for ECE riders to top-up before they start the main event.  I will handle my bottles and you will hold your bottles, i.e. don't touch mine and I won't touch yours.  We will both wear masks during this process.  Just to be clear: water at the start is for ECE riders only.

  • Validation by GPS will enable many riders to have an almost-zero-touch event — pack a picnic, take the Big Bottles, drop off the back of your group, and you should be able to get around without having to get close to anyone at all!  Just don't forget to pick up your brevet at the start.

  • If an event is cancelled due to local lockdowns imposed just before the event date (force majeure) then I will be forced to cancel the affected event.  All riders will get partial refunds — a small amount may be deducted to cover costs accrued in preparing the event.