Category Archives: Permanents

Permanents are back!

Yes, that’s a bison, and it has nothing to do with the new program.

The new permanents program starts up August 1st. Changes from the old program include:

Administrative aspects

The program is run on a national basis.

Ride registration and result reporting is online.

Routes are no longer locally “owned.” Route contributors will likely stay engaged with their routes for maintenance, but they will have no administrative role – no longer processing ride registrations and results.

There will be an annual fee.

Changes for riders

Getting started

You need to create an account on the RUSA site. Use the link in the upper right corner. Once you have an account you will access Permanents through the My Account link.

There is a fee of $10 to cover the remainder of 2020. (Not live as of 7/29)

Registering for a ride and reporting results

Registration is online (not live yet as of 7/29). 

The registration page will have methods of searching for routes.

You will report your ride result online (not live yet as of 7/29).

Ride results are self-verified – you will click a button to promise you are truthful.

Proof of passage materials should be retained for a year in the unlikely event of a RUSA audit.

Proof of passage options

You may choose to take photos at controls, record a gps track of your ride, or use a traditional brevet card. Information controls are eliminated.

Photos: Controls will have brief instructions specifying what to photograph. At a business photograph the front of the establishment if not otherwise directed. The time embedded in a photo’s metadata is adequate for establishing when you reached a control.

GPS track: Alternately you may record a gps track of your ride.

Brevet card: Or you may use a traditional brevet card, noting times of arrival yourself.

Only the overall elapsed time matters. Intermediate controls are no longer timed. For convenience the time limit is listed in the last cue of a route, and sometimes the first as well depending on the route contributor.

Route materials

The primary route document is a Ride with GPS file. If you want a paper route sheet, you will have to create your own using RwGPS’s printing options. (There are other methods, too, discussed below.)

Likewise, if you want to use a brevet card, you must create your own.

Start locations

A significant change (for SIRs) is a loop route may be started from any control and ridden in either direction. A point-to-point may be started at either end. Generally a RwGPS file for only one start and direction will be provided. Riders must create their own route materials for other start locations or direction of travel.

As a practical matter, most gps devices will begin following a route from any point on the route. When you reach the formal end of the route you will probably have to restart navigation and continue to the control where you began your ride.

Reversing a route is a less trivial matter because of one-way streets, curious road configurations, and the possibility of hazards existing only in one direction of travel. Be careful planning a reversed route.

Free routing

All routes are now free routes. The provided RwGPS routes are only suggested ways to get from control to control; riders are free to take alternate routes so long as they pass through the controls in the sequence defined by the suggested route, and as long as the route you ride is at least as long as the suggested route. You only receive credit for the distance of the suggested route, not for any additional distance you cover. While shorter routes between controls may exist, the RUSA rule requires: “The rider must ride at least the distance of the official route. If the rider’s route ends up being shorter than the official route, the rider must make up the distance at some point during the ride (e.g., at the finish).” RUSA allows omitting additional controls to force riding the suggested route if the shorter route is deemed too hazardous by the designer or bicycling on the shorter route is illegal.

At controls

If you are recording a gps trace of your ride, you do not need to stop.

If you are taking photos, the control cue will tell you what to photograph.

If you are using a brevet card, note the time you arrived.

A practical note regarding photo controls with gps navigation: Many gps devices will not adequately display the somewhat lengthy instruction of what to photograph at a control. You should have a backup method of reading control cues. Two options are:

  • Use the free Ride with GPS app on your phone. Even if you only have a free RwGPS account you can download routes for use without cell coverage and read the cue sheet.
  • Download the route sheet and edit it and print it to just show the controls.

The routes

Due to the Covid-19 crisis only 100 km and 200 km routes are available. (200 km means routes shorter than 300 km.) Initially only existing routes are being offered; new routes will be accepted at a later date. Since RwGPS files are now the primary route documents, and are required to contain all the information that a paper route sheet would have, many routes have required extensive overhauling. Route owners were also urged to update their routes to make them as current as possible. Volunteers at RUSA are reviewing updated routes to ensure they meet the new standards. Consequently only a limited selection of routes is available right now. New routes are added every few days.

Many SIR routes will be permanently retired. Examples are: All alternate start routes, since one may now start from any control; routes that have an improved “2.0” version; routes that are very unpleasant or are ill-advised due to road changes or increased traffic volume, such as riding I-90 or US-2 over the Cascade crest.

All routes using the Centennial Trail between Snohomish and Arlington are being held back until the sinkhole in the trail is repaired. After consulting with Centennial “frequent flyers,” it was decided rerouting on parallel backroads (such as Burn Rd) would change the nature of the routes too much.

The SIR Permanents team is endeavoring to add routes to the new program as rapidly as we can. Criteria for selecting routes are:

  • Popularity based on counts of rides in the last several years
  • Geographical diversity of start locations and terrain covered
  • Whim of the volunteer who is revising a route

The RUSA route library is here. To see available routes in Washington, enter “, WA” in the location field (note the comma and space). Don’t despair if your favorite route is not available; routes are being added as rapidly as they can be processed by the chain of volunteers.

Some of the routes have significant changes due to new bike trails or other opportunities for more pleasant routing. While free routing means you can still probably ride your “old familiar” by memory, we have tried to improve the routes where possible so please try the new versions. Some routes have one or two controls added to provide alternate start locations. Other routes have seen controls moved to locations more suitable for photos.

Permanents info on the RUSA site

Go to for the latest info direct from RUSA. Direct questions to

Other route sheet printing options

If you prefer to format route sheets yourself in a spreadsheet app, here are two options to get the .csv:

  • Download the .csv:
    Click at the end of the RwGPS url in your browser and type “.csv”. Hit return and a .csv file will download to your computer.
  • Pull the route sheet into Google Sheets:
    • Copy the link to the RwGPS route.
    • Enter this formula in a cell, pasting in the link and typing “.csv” after it. Include the quotes:
      =IMPORTDATA(“copied rwgps link.csv”) 

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High Impact Detour: Bothell Landing Bridge Replacement

Replacement of the Bothell Landing pedestrian bridge will begin soon. The project is projected to finish in August of 2020. A portion of the Sammamish River Trail will be closed. A number of permanents will be affected, as well as commuters. Fortunately there is an easy detour.

Eastbound detour    Westbound detour

City of Bothell project page

Routes known to be affected: 341, 401, 1321, 1704, 1851, 3788

Thanks to Tom Brett for bringing this to the Permanent team’s attention.

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Permanent Change: Gifford Pinchot Forest Road 26 is Open

After being closed for many years due to severe washouts, road 26 in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is open again. This road runs from south of Randle up to road 99 near Spirit Lake and Bear Meadows. We last used this road on the 2014 Summer 600 brevet. It features in two permanents, which are available again: #511 Elbe-Bear Meadow-Elbe and #512 Ashford-Bear Meadow-Elbe.

Special thanks to Tyler Gillies for checking on the status of road 26.


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Permanent Change: Closure on the Interurban Trail in Kent

The Interurban Trail in Kent will be closed until late 2020 between a detour point south of S 212th St to James St. Theo Roffe has investigated the signed detour on 68th Ave S and does not recommend it. He recommends going one block farther west to 64th Ave S. This detour adds about 2 km to a 2 km long section of the trail.

According to the City of Kent, “There are times when the roadway at the trail crossing will not be affected by the construction for several weeks or months. During those periods of time, the trail will be open“.

Theo’s recommended detour

City of Kent blog post about the project

At least six of our Permanents are affected: #751, 978, 1076, 1132, 3066, 3592. As noted, detouring does not add much distance so no one should feel discouraged from riding these routes.

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Permanent Change: Restoring the Human Touch to Routes

By: a gang of beer-drinking randos sitting around a table after the Populaire

Online mapping tools like Ride with GPS have made randonneuring routes precise and accurate. Laborious work with paper maps that only provided approximate distances are a thing of the past. We no longer have to ride or drive a route to determine distances between instructions. And those distances were only as accurate as one’s bike computer or car odometer calibration. Complementing Ride with GPS, we frequently use a Google Script to create route sheets directly from a Ride with GPS route. Tedious spreadsheet work is avoided; no transcription errors due to hand-entering distances occurs. The result: Dependable routes unaffected by human foibles.

And yet, some feel such extensive use of technology has removed the human touch from route documents. To that end, we have developed the TrueRando script. TrueRando randomly inserts errors in the route sheet, flipping left turns to right turns, altering distances, and so on. Everything you fear and dread on the road in the dark at 3AM can be made to happen with TrueRando!

Wait, there’s more! Through the use of nerd knowledge the enhanced TrueRando+ script also injects different errors into the Ride with GPS route. Not only will the route sheet be unreliable. The GPS track will disagree with the route sheet at other locations! Truly, no better simulation of human weakness when handling details is available today.

TrueRando and TrueRando+ are available for a per-use fee of $1000 payable via anonymous wire transfer from your numbered Swiss bank account to permanentsteammallorcajunket.

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Permanent Change: Hail the new Perminator!; New waivers required

Return of the Perminator

Thanks to Adam Glass’ intense work and randonneur never quit spirit over the last several weeks, the new Perminator is available for online registration of SIR’s Permanents. We have to expect some glitches as everyone begins using it – please be patient and send bug reports to

Please note the new Perminator works differently in some important ways from the departed Perminator:

  • You will download ride materials from the site once the Perminator approves your registration. You will not receive an email.
  • You no longer snail-mail your card after your ride. You will enter your ride result (finish or dnf) yourself. You will upload scans of your card and receipts as proof.

All of this is detailed on the new Perminator’s home page.

Emailed paper registration remains available for a short time while all you eager k-hounds stress test the new Perminator.


New Annual Waivers Required

The annual waiver that you filed for 2019 didn’t account for the permanent owner change. Mark Roberts and Mitch Ishihara have produced an updated annual waiver form and it’s ready for you on Perminator. We’ve expired the previous 2019 waivers so you’ll need to fill out and upload this new form to register for permanents on the returned Perminator. Please  allow some time for annual waiver review/approval. Paper registration will continue to be available during this weekend with the expectation that we’ll return to Perminator-only registration next week.

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Permanent Change: Permanents have a new Owner

Permanents Change Owner

After many years as a Permanents owner, Geoff Swarts has handed ownership of his Permanents to Bill Gobie. While we speak of “SIR’s Permanents,” under RUSA rules Permanents are developed, administered, maintained – “owned” – by individuals. Geoff did an amazing job developing many of SIR’s Permanent routes himself, adding routes suggested by others to the inventory, administering the Permanents, and as the number of routes and volume of rides grew, supervising a team of volunteers who keep the system running. SIR’s collection of routes, numbering 370 and growing, is by far the largest under one owner and stimulated the development of the Perminator automated registration system. Thanks Geoff!


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SIR Permanents Available via Emailed Registration

In light of the clamor to take advantage of the current good weather, and the willingness of several volunteers to process paper registrations, SIR’s Permanents are available via emailed registrations.

You can peruse SIR’s Permanent routes at:

Download, fill out completely, sign, scan and return the ride registration. If you use your phone or tablet to photograph the registration set the camera to its highest resolution, take the picture under good light, and ensure it is focused, legible, and includes the entire document. The Permanents volunteers who review the registrations have final and unappealable authority to reject unsatisfactory registrations. We will make every reasonable effort to approve applications, but the volunteers lead real lives so please apply with as much lead time as possible. Quick processing is not guaranteed. Do not pester the volunteers with queries asking if your request was received. If you do not receive approval by your requested start time, you may of course exercise your free will to ride as you please, but you will not be riding under the auspices of the Permanents program and you will not receive credit for your ride.

Email your completed registrations to . Include “Ride request” in the subject line. If approved, you will receive an email with the card and route sheet.

After your ride, snail mail your signed card and the original registration to: Millison Fambles, 3520 Sunset Beach Dr NW, Olympia WA 98502.

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SIR Permanents Suspended; New Perminator Coming

We regret to announce SIR’s Permanents are suspended currently due to the Perminator’s infelicitous demise. Permanents will be reinstated when the new Perminator is available. In case the new Perminator is not running by next weekend, we are considering having several Permanents volunteers lead group Permanents requiring signed paper waivers. The Permanents volunteers are discussing whether to take on the workload involved in handling paper waivers.

From Adam Glass:

As some of you have likely noticed, Perminator is offline and has been for a bit. It suffered a serious failure related to changes in an external service. The data is accessible but Perminator can’t talk to it. Fixing the existing Perminator would require addressing a chain of breaking changes and EOLed components in its dependencies that have accumulated over it’s the 3+ years of operation. The result would likely still be brittle and require replacement soon. As the volunteer developer of Perminator, I need to balance the clear value of Perminator with the cost to maintain and run it.

I’ve been working on and off on a replacement for Perminator for a while. Recently I switched gears to Perminator v3, which was designed to be substantially more robust and easier to maintain for the long term. I made the judgement call after Perminator v1’s failure that the time spent temporarily fixing v1 would be better used completing v3. I consulted with SIR leadership on this decision and have been pursuing that path aggressively since—aided by the crappy weather, but constrained by some family issues and lack of access to good coffee or beer.

Perminator v3 is almost complete and is already being debugged by some alpha testers. We hope to make a public version of it available within the week. Beyond replacing Perminator v1, this new version is more maintainable, more robust, simpler to use and more powerful. In particular, it puts the pieces in place for near term introduction of alternate starts and EPP (Electronic Proof of Passage).

That said, despite my efforts, Perminator v3 will not be ready for this weekend.


Further comments are disabled. Please respond or post questions on Facebook or the SIR email list.


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Important Closure: North Interuban Trail

Normally this notice would be titled “High Impact Closure,” but few people voluntarily ride the North Interurban and we only have two affected routes. Nevertheless, a some riders have been caught out by ongoing construction closures so here is some detour advice. Because there are no good all-hours options for the Maple & Ash Way detour, it is recommended to ride these detours only in the early morning if at all possible.

Affected routes: 1078, 1317

Maple & Ash Way

As of the date of writing, there are two closures. The longest-lasting is at Maple & Ash Way. The project webpage unhelpfully informs that the project will last “two construction seasons.” The closure will likely stretch into 2020. The recommended detour is taken from the 2018 Spring 400. This is likely to have light traffic only early on weekend mornings.

A shorter detour is possible by turning east on 164th St SW. You have to climb a multi-lane road busy with freeway-bound traffic.

52nd Ave W to 44th Ave W

This closure is supposed to last only through February 2019. It is possible to bypass the closure by riding north on 52nd W (which has a bike lane), east through Scriber Creek Park, and continuing east through the Lynnwood Transit Center to rejoin the trail at 44th Ave W. You have to climb a short stairway between the trail and transit center. About half the trail is a graveled path which has some boggy spots.

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