Randonneurs Nova Scotia was formed in 2003, so that Nova Scotia cyclist Mark Beaver could qualify to ride Paris-Brest-Paris ’03. In our first year we had eight members, and two riders completed a “brevet series” of a 200k, a 300k, a 400k and a 600k brevet ride. Mark went on to successfully complete PBP-03 in a finishing time of 84 hours for 1229 km.
Since then, Randonneurs Nova Scotia has offered a schedule of rides every year. Our members have completed other major brevets such as the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200, the Rocky Mountain 1200, the Granite Anvil 1200, London-Edinburgh-London 1400, and most recently the Coulee Challenge 1200. The tales are epic and the rides are too.
In 2007, Randonneurs NS had eight riders complete a brevet series to reach their “super randonneur” status and five Nova Scotia riders went to France to participate in PBP-07. In 2011, we had seven riders achieve their “Super Randonneur” status, and two of our riders headed off to PBP. In 2013, four of our riders successfully completed the “Granite Anvil 1200” in Ontario. In 2015, two of our members successfully completed Paris-Brest-Paris once again and in 2016, three members rode the Rocky Mountain 1200k in British Columbia and Alberta, and in 2017, two completed the challenging “Granite Anvil 1200” in Ontario. In 2018, eleven NS riders achieved their Super Randonneur status, and three riders completed the first ever “Coulee Challenge” 1200 in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including Micheline McWhirter, who became the first Nova Scotian woman to complete a 1200km brevet.
A full schedule every year
Each year we organize a full schedule of rides, including the aforementioned brevet series, and also a 1000km brevet. Our 2018 Fundy Park 1000 headed up to Noel, Parrsboro, Amherst, Fundy Park and Sussex NS and returned via the Sunrise Trail through Tatamagouche to Halifax. Fourteen riders from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire completed the ride. For 2019, we offered two 1000km brevets, one around the South Shore of Nova Scotia and the other, an unsupported point-to-point ride from Quebec City to Halifax. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 1000k brevets have been cancelled.
Interest at an all-time high
Randonneuring is a growing sport around the world. This was evidenced in 2015 by the planet’s participation in the grand-daddy of all ultra-marathon cycling events, the “Paris-Brest-Paris” 1200km ride – 90 hours or less. There were 5800 riders from 66 countries around the world who attempted P-B-P in ’15, up from 4100 riders in ’03. (PBP happens every four years). In 2019, five of our members headed over to France to attempt the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200, by far the largest grand brevet in the world with 6,600 riders.
You should join us
Most of our club members will have a riding average speed of 25-28km/hr for under 150km and 22-26km/hr for longer rides, depending on the individual’s fitness level and pace. We do have shorter rides, too, check out the ride schedule. If you are interested in trying long-distance cycling, you can find the 2019 Randonneurs Nova Scotia ride schedule under “Schedule“.
Everyone is welcome
You do not have to be a member of the club to participate in any of our club rides; all cyclists are very welcome. Those who join the club will get a weekly update by email with the details of the coming weekend’s ride, as well as maps and cue sheets for the ride and carpooling to the start of those rides which start outside of the metro area. Membership in the club also includes Bicycle Nova Scotia’s 24-7-365 liability and disability insurance coverage, while riding anywhere in Canada. We have a lively presence on Facebook and Instagram as well.
If you would like to join the club, the application form is available there as well. You can follow some club happenings on Facebook as well, search “Randonneurs Nova Scotia”. We look forward to seeing you on one of our rides this spring!
Mark Beaver, founder
Randonneurs Nova Scotia CC