The Flèches-USA are 24-hour randonnées held in various regions of the United States during the
spring. The traditional event date is Easter weekend, but it may be held from one week before Easter
until seven weeks after. The Flèches-USA are administered by Randonneurs USA (RUSA) and its Regional
Brevet Administrators (RBA). These rides are patterned after the Flèche Vélocio held by the Audax
Club Parisien (ACP) in France, and count toward the ACP's Randonneur-5000 award.
The Flèches-USA are regional events whereby teams of cyclists all head to a common destination
from various starting points. The RBA in each region establishes the finishing destination each year.
Each RBA will conduct the event and process the results in his or her own region only. (A team's route may start in another region.)
There can be other similar team randonnées anytime during the year, such as the RUSA Arrow or
Dart rides, but an RBA can hold only one Flèches-USA ride per year.
The Flèches-USA are team events; no individual entries are allowed. Each team may start its ride
between noon Thursday and 10:00 AM on Saturday. The minimum distance required for the 24-hour
period is 360 KM. No rest stop may exceed two hours in any one location.
If several teams use the same starting point and the same route, then starting times for individual teams shall be
spaced at least one hour apart. Choice of routes and starting times is customarily assigned according
to the order of receipt of registrations, but the RBA has discretion to do otherwise if need be.
The Flèches-USA are randonnées, not races. Riders must be civil at all times, they must abide by
all applicable traffic laws, and they must follow the directions of all law enforcement personnel.
Riders are expected to observe local customs of decorum at all times.
During the event, each rider is considered to be on a personal ride. RUSA, the ACP, and other
organizers cannot and do not accept responsibility for any accidents that may occur during the
course of the event.
(In the event that the team's progress or route is materially affected by the instructions of
law enforcement personnel, the team shall endeavor to adjust their ride to match as closely as
possible the timing and distance of their original route. Event officials may make reasonable
adjustments to accommodate the situation.)
Each team is limited to a maximum of five members and a minimum of three members.
Each tandem or other multiple-rider vehicle counds as a single member. Members of the same team may assist one another.
However, teams are expressly forbidden to aid each other, even teams from the same club. The one
exception to this is in the event of a medical emergency. During the event, riders may not draft
anyone except their flèche teammates.
No following cars are allowed under any circumstances. Teams using a support car can receive
support from their car only at the control points listed on their route cards. Assistance from
other motorized non-participants is also not permitted, except in the case of a medical emergency.
There may be secret and roving checkpoints.
Only human-powered vehicles are allowed. All vehicles must be equipped with functional front and
rear lights, per standard randonneuring regulations. Front and rear lights must be firmly affixed
to the vehicle and be of sufficient brightness to satisfy the applicable State Highway Code(s).
They must be mounted on the vehicle during the entire 24-hour period. Support cars may not carry
the riders' lights during daytime hours. Riding in a group does not change the lighting requirement;
all riders must use their lights. Roving event officials can and will confiscate the route card of
any rider riding without lights.
During the hours of darkness or other low-light conditions, reflective ankle bands and a
reflective vest/sash/Sam Browne belt are required to be worn by each participant, per normal RUSA
brevet regulations. Reflective arm bands and white jerseys and jackets are recommended for riding
at night, as is placing additional reflective tape upon the vehicles. Fenders are also recommended
in order to help the team in case of inclement weather.
An approved helmet must be worn at all times while cycling during the event.
Each team is to design its own route that is at least 360 KM in length. The traditional format for a
flèche is point-to-point, like an archer's arrow (flèche in French) flying toward its target. Though
not a classic flèche route, a large circuit or loop may also be used, such as to make a scenic tour
of a region. However, an out-and-back route is not consistent with the traditions of the flèche.
Out-and-back route segments are permitted, such as to obtain food and supplies in remote regions,
but no control may be used more than once and no road segment may be used more than once in the same
direction. If an out-and-back route segment is utilized in the overall route design, a control point
must be located at its turnaround.
The shortest legal and safe distance between successive checkpoints is credited, not the actual
Maps or mapping software with accurate mileages will be used to
determine distances. In the case of forced detours due to road construction, accidents, etc., only
the additional mileage verified by a postcard checkpoint or verification by a stamp from a merchant,
post office, or police station at the far point of the detour will be counted. A business receipt
that is imprinted with date, time and location would also be accepted. Further, such mileage will be
counted only if shown on maps or mapping software. No matter the circumstances of any particular
detour, a minimum of 360 KM must be ridden in the 24-hour period.
A successful Flèches-USA team ride counts as 360 KM in ACP and RUSA Distance Awards, even if a
longer distance was covered in the 24 hours.
The start time and starting place approved with the team's registration must be used. Event
officials or RUSA officers may be on hand to officially supervise the start. All team members
must have their route cards in their possession at all times during the ride and must present
their route cards to all officials making such a demand.
At least 25 km must have been ridden within the last two hours of the event. At the end of the 22nd hour of the ride, the exact time, elapsed distance and the location of the team must be noted on each route card. The location shall be verified by the signature and/or stamp of a local merchant, official, etc. A business receipt imprinted with the time, date and location will also be accepted. This could be an automated receipt such as from an ATM machine, so long as time, date, and location are shown. A verification by postcard is acceptable, but only when no local businesses are open. (In the case of a postcard verification, all members of the team (or those still riding together) must sign the postcard.) Failure to follow this requirement will result in disqualification.
In the event that the 22 hour point is reached where no verification is available, the time, distance, and location of the team shall be noted by the team members on their route card and verification must be obtained at the next available location along the route.
Teams must have their location and time verified at the event destination point, or nearest town or village at the end of their 24 hours. Verification must be via a stamp and/or a signature obtained at a place of business, a police station, or at a train/bus station. A business receipt imprinted with the date, time and location will also be accepted. This could be an automated receipt such as from an ATM machine, so long as time, date, and location are shown. The exact time and location must be noted on the route cards, as well as the mileage completed. A lost route card or postcards (unless duly mailed) used for verification which have missing signatures will result in the automatic disqualification of the team member(s).
In the event that the 24 hour point is reached where no verification is available, the time, distance, and location of the team shall be noted by the team members on their route card and verification must be obtained at the nearest available location.
For a Flèches-USA team ride to be certified by RUSA and the ACP, and any regional team awards to be
- At least 3 team members must legally complete the team's course and arrive at the finish together. (Reminder: tandems and other multi-rider vehicles count as one member.)
- All riders arriving with this group who have legally completed the course receive credit. Riders arriving before or after will not, even if they've legally completed their team's course.
Any fraud, cheating, or deliberate violation of these rules will result in the exclusion of the
rider from all RUSA-sanctioned events (including those sanctioned by the ACP and RM) for a period of time to be determined by
the RUSA Board of Directors.
Any rider who registers and starts a Flèches-USA agrees by these actions the following: Any
complaint or questions about a flèche or its organization must be submitted to the RBA in writing,
within 48 hours from the finish of the event. The RBA will review the complaint and forward it, with a
recommendation, to RUSA for a final decision.
Randonneurs USA will be the final arbiter of any questions that arise which may not be covered
explicitly in these rules.
A version of these rules is available for download and distribution.
Approved by the Randonneurs USA Board of Directors on February 17, 2004, revised 4/2011