Sportive or Audax: Which is right for you?

Sportives and audaxes are the most similar of all the different cycling events and races we’ve looked at but which is right for you?


We’ve explained what sportives are before but in summary they are non-competitive, mass participation cycling events.


Audaxes are very similar to sportives. They’re non-competitive events. They are usually cheaper than sportives and a have a little less fanfare surrounding them. Instead of a feed stop, they might have a designated cafĂ© where riders can by their own refreshments. Instead of detailed signage, they usual come with a route map and direction sheet. There probably won’t be marshals and support wagons, riders are expected to be self-sufficient. They are typically more social than a sportive because the riders are not pretending to race. They are also usually cheaper than a typical sportive.

Another interesting aspect of audaxes is the distance. While there are “normal” distance audaxs, around 100KM, there are a lot of seriously long distance audaxes ranging from 200KM – 600KM regularly. As such, riders on audaxes often use specific audax or touring bikes fitted with long distance cycling gear like dynamo lights.

George Longstaff Audax Bike

A typical Audax bike.

It’s possible to complete national series audax events to qualify for some of the very long distance events like the London – Edinburgh – London or the Paris – Brest – Paris.

Audaxes in the UK are run under the umbrella of the Audax UK organisation. Keen riders can become members but it’s not a requirement for riding an audax.

Sportive or Audax

If you’re just starting out and want the security of on hand help, you might be better off with a more expensive, more organised sportive.

However, if you’d like a more relaxed, social ride or a longer distance ride, an audax may be the answer. If you want the thrill of self-supported riding but to have had someone else worry about the majority of the route, then have a go at an audax.

There’s no reason not to ride some of both, whenever you see a sportive or audax that takes your fancy or has a particularly interesting route. They’re both complimentary, non-competitive cycling events.

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