Flèches Nationales are annual events held in various regions or countries during the spring, whereby teams of cyclists all head to a common destination from various starting points. Teams ride during 24 hours to cover the longest distance possible (at least 360 km). After the ride, all participants meet and celebrate together.
The mother of those events is the 1947-created Flèche Vélocio, whereby teams head to the traditional Easter cycling rally in Provence (France). To respond to a growing demand by French or International randonneurs who want to meet in a location outside Provence, the Audax Club Parisien promotes and homologates team events patterned after the Flèche Vélocio: the Flèches Nationales (in France and abroad).
The Flèches Nationales can also be named National Arrow, Easter Arrow, or named after a country, a region or a famous person.
All ACP-sanctioned Flèches events must be run according to the rules of the Flèche Vélocio. The traditional event date is the Easter weekend, but for regions that have snow at this time, it may be held until the end of May.
In France, the alternative Easter cycling rally is called Pâques en Quercy (Quercy is a former province of Southwest France), but any organizer may suggest another place.
ACP-sanctioned Flèches or Arrows are also organized in many countries around the world.
Today, the features and values of the old Flèche Vélocio are appreciated in the worldwide family of randonneurs : building a strong spirit of camaraderie, striving during 24 hours to achieve a common challenge and finally meeting and socializing with fellow randonneurs from across your country, region or province. An unique experience that belongs to a randonneur’s career ! Moreover, riding a Flèche Nationale (outside France) or a Flèche Vélocio (in France) will be on your credit for your Randonneur 5000 award and/or the Randonneur 10000 !
If you are interested in these events, please contact the ACP or your local ACP representative.
You may also be interested in the ACP-sanctioned Traces (Darts), a spring team event which is run parallel to the Flèche, but on a smaller distance and with an 8 hour overnight stop.
1. RULES OF Flèches Nationales
To respond to a growing demand by French or International randonneurs who want to meet in a location outside Provence, the Audax Club Parisien promotes and homologates team events patterned after the 1947-created Flèche Vélocio: the Flèches Nationales (in France and abroad).
These events can be named :
- Fleche Nationale
- Easter Arrow
- National Arrow
The word “National/e” can be replaced by the name of a country, a region or a famous person.
These events must be organized according to the RULES of the FLECHES VELOCIO. The Flèche Vélocio has three main features :
- Building a strong team spirit by training and riding together.
- Riding the longest possible distance in 24 hours, despite limited preparation and difficult climatic conditions.
- Getting all together in a symbolic place to share a nice time of conviviality.
The Flèche Vélocio heads to the traditional Easter Cycling Rally in Provence, organized each year by the French Federation of Cyclotourism, in memory of Paul de Vivie (Vélocio).
Thus the routes of other Flèche events should be directed toward a meeting place where all participants come together at the end of their ride. We suggest that this place be a scenic or historic site like :
- the castle of the Wartburg in Eisenach, Germany
- the Opperman Museum in Rochester, Australia
- the City of York, England
Summary of the Rules of the Flèche Vélocio
Each team is limited to a maximum of five members and a minimum of three members (multi-rider vehicles count as a single member).
Teams ride continuously during 24 hours (no rest stop may exceed two hours). All team members ride the whole distance.
Each team designs their own route. At least 360 km must be covered during the 24 hours, but the goal is to ride the longest distance possible.
The team captain must submit a proposal with detailed route and time schedule to the local organizer. The organizer verifies the schedule and determines the controls along the route.
If the meeting takes place on Sunday, teams can start from Friday 6 a.m. to Saturday 10 a.m. Different teams cannot ride together. If several teams use the same starting point and the same route, the starting times for individual teams shall be spaced at least one hour apart.
Teams must have their location and time verified at the starting point and at each designated control. During the 22nd hour and at the end of the 24th hour, the exact time and the location of the team must be noted on each route card. A minimum of 25 kilometers must be ridden between both verifications.
It is not necessary that teams reach their announced finish point or that they stop there. The recorded location at the end of the 24th hour will be recognized for their homologation. For example : You start Saturday at 9h a.m. You must get your card stamped Sunday at 7h (22th hour) and then, at least 25 km further, at 9h (24th hour).
No following cars are allowed. Teams can meet a support car only at the rest stops.
For a Flèche to be certified by the ACP, it is required that:
- At least three team members have ridden the same distance and arrive at the finish together.
- The covered distance be within plus or minus 20% of the announced mileage (with an absolute minimum of 360 km).
- At least 25 km have been ridden between the 22nd hour and the 24th hour of the ride.
- The team captain or a delegate be present at the meeting between 08:00 and 10:00 a.m., and submit the completed brevet cards to local organizer.
Obligations of the Organizers
The Audax Club Parisien promotes and validates the Flèches Nationales. The local organizers assume the entire responsibility of their events.
Insurance for organizers and participants
All organizers and all participants, including foreigners, whether they are members of a sporting federation or not, must be insured as required by local laws.
The organizer contacts the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) or its local representative to obtain the authorization to organize a Flèche Nationale. The Audax Club Parisien reserves the right to withdraw the authorization if its rules are not followed.
The brevet cards used by the organizer must specify: “Verified and validated by the Audax Club Parisien”. These cards must be approved by the Audax Club Parisien before they are printed.
The dates of the event must be communicated to the ACP before November 15 of the year preceding the event, to be included in the annual ACP calendar. The dates of the Flèche should be at Easter. For regions that have a lot of snow at this time, the event can be postponed until the end of May.
The organizer announces the event to the local ACP representative and/or to its regional/national organization within these time frames to ensure effective publicity.
The organizer undertakes the administrative procedures to comply with local, regional and national laws. This includes obtaining the necessary authorizations to use public roads, if required.
The organizer requests adequate authorizations for the event (use of private roads or spaces, travel through protected or restricted areas, establishment of temporary food service facilities, playing of music, etc.).
The organizer determines the fees to participate in the event, while keeping the fees moderate. These events are not intended to generate revenue.
The organizer or the local ACP representative will transmit a small sum per team to the Audax Club Parisien to cover the costs of validation. The payment will be transmitted at the end of the year after receipt of an annual invoice.
Validation and awards
The organizer must check each Flèche ride, especially: the actual distance ridden, compared to the planned distance; whether the riders have checked in at all controls; and the distance ridden in the last two hours. If everything is correct, the organizer transmits a summary of the results to the ACP Flèche coordinator for France or to the local ACP representative who will combine the various Flèches that are organized in their country and will send them to the ACP. The results must be sent to the ACP before October 31 of that same year.
To obtain the validation, the organizer must include the following information :
Name of the organizing club
Name and date of the event
Name and/or number of the team
First and last name of each rider
Club of each rider
Start location and time (time includes day, hour and minute)
Location and distance at the 22nd hour
Location and distance at the 24th hour
Distance announced at registration
List of tandems and list of female riders for each team
Each homologated member will receive a certificate with mention of the covered distance. The Audax Club Parisien will send these certificates to the organizer or the ACP representative after the annual award ceremony of the ACP (in early January). The organizer can add a medal and various other sports awards as they please.
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The Audax Club Parisien can modify the actual rules at any time.
2. REGISTRATION TO Flèches Nationales
Please register with the Fleche (Arrow) Organizer in your country.
3. List of Flèches Nationales
Given the current complications due to the epidemic, countries will have total flexibility to schedule and postpone their Flèches Nationales events in 2021.
4. RESULTS OF Flèches Nationales
Results by country
Resuts by Flèches Nationales