How to Play Rouleur Derby

Predict. Win. Have fun.

For each major bike race, Rouleur Derby creates a series of questions, known as propositions. Typical propositions include “Who will win the Tour de France?” and “Will Peter Sagan win the Tour of Flanders?” Each proposition will have two or more options that reflect the possible outcomes.

Bet points on the option—or options—you think will be the correct outcome. If that option turns out to be correct, you win points. The longer the odds, the greater the reward.

Rouleur Derby is set up as a parimutuel, a form of betting common to horse racing. Odds fluctuate based how many points have been collectively bet on that outcome. For any given bet, odds are locked in when the bet is made. (This is a change effective with the 2019-2020 season.)

There are rules. They are listed here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the odds work?

Rouleur Derby uses fractional odds. In fractional odds, the numbers combine to reflect the potential profit for each point bet. Given 4/1 odds, for example, a 100-point bet would return a 400-point profit, or 500 points total. Given 3/2 odds, a 100-point bet would return a 150-point profit, or 250 points total.

Odds are designed to reflect an outcome’s chances of happening. If an outcome has odds of 5/1, the crowd has deemed it to have a 1-in-6 chance of happening. Odds of 1/1 are called “even odds,” meaning the outcome has a 1-in-2 chance of happening, the same as a coin flip.

Options within propositions are listed in order from most to least likely.

How often do the odds change?

Odds are recalculated periodically. Frequency varies depending on the proposition’s action and how much time is left to bet. Recalculations occur at least once a day but may be as often as every 20 minutes.

What is Wide Angle Podium?

Wide Angle Podium is an artist-owned network of cycling podcasts, including the excellent Slow Ride Podcast, and it is an official Rouleur Derby partner.

Members of Wide Angle Podium are entitled to a 500-point bonus at Rouleur Derby. Not a member? Join here. Your bonus should appear within 24 hours.

(To receive your bonus, you must use the same email address at both Rouleur Derby and Wide Angle Podium. If your addresses are different, or if there is some other error, contact Rouleur Derby.)

How is this better than other fantasy cycling games?

Other games are great, but Rouleur Derby, like cycling itself, rewards guile, patience, and taking calculated risks.

In Rouleur Derby, going with the herd will still earn points, but more points are earned by spotting outcomes that are undervalued by the other players.

In addition, Rouleur Derby introduces a variety of fun side propositions, not just race winners. Popular prop bets include “Who will get over the Poggio first?” and “Will there be a dog- or livestock-related crash at the Tour de France?” With dozens of prop bets available, players can spread their resources across the game, placing more points on the outcomes they feel strongest about.

And unlike other cycling games, Rouleur Derby can be played almost every single day of the cycling season.

What races are included?

Rouleur Derby will follow all major European races, with extra attention on the classics and grand tours. Also included will be major American races, such as the Tour of California and national championships. Most propositions will become availble the week before each race, once start lists are finalized.

How long is the season?

An annual winner will be declared after the UCI world championships in September. After a short break, the following season will begin by tracking the major cyclocross races.

Is it free to play?


Is it gambling?


Are there prizes?

No. That would make it gambling.

I was late to the party, and it looks like other players already have a big lead. What fun is that?

It can still be a lot of fun!

It’s a long season, and it's never too late to catch up. In addition, separate leaderboards are kept for each of the grand tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España). Those contests are judged by percentage gained, so your initial scores won’t matter.

Can I place more than one bet in a race?

Yes. And you can place multiple bets on the same outcome, at various odds.

Can I cancel a bet?

No. If you make mistake or change your mind, your best recourse is to place additional bets on the other options in the proposition.

What if I run out of points?

Once you drop below 100 points, you will be shown an option to take out a bailout loan. These loans must be repaid, with 10 percent interest, by the end of the season. Furthermore, for the first three days after a loan, you will be not be allowed to be more than 100 points within a single proposition.

Once you have accrued enough points to pay back your loan, you will be shown an option to do so.

I don't know anything about cycling. Should I still play?

Absolutely. Use the same strategy that you would if you were at the horse track. Which is to say, bet on the riders with the goofiest names.

What are leagues?

Leagues allow players to rank themselves among small groups of friends. Although anyone can belong to a league, only members of Wide Angle Podium are able to create leagues.

Leagues rank its players by raw points as well as by percentage gains within each contest.

League owners can invite fellow players upon creation of their league. Owners will also be provided with a secret link that can be used to invite additional players.

What’s the deal with nemeses and victims?

Rouleur Derby approximates a “zero-sum game.” Just about every point that someone loses is won by someone else. As such, the game keeps track of whose points you're winning, as well as from whom you are winning yours. Players who have lost points to you are your victims. Players who have won points from you are your nemeses. Wag your fist at them if you see them on the bike path.

This is so much fun. How do I get more people to play?

On your public profile page you will find a secret link that you can use to invite new players. For each player who joins using your link, you will earn a 100-point bonus (maximum 300 points). Feel free to share this link on social media or your favorite cycling forum.

How do I stay up to date with the game?

Rouleur Derby Report is an occcassional email newsletter with news, upcoming races, and other developments, and players are invited to join the Rouleur Derby Slack community. Also be sure to follow Rouleur Derby on Twitter and subscribe to theSlow Ride Podcast, which featues “Let It Ride” episodes dedicated to discussing Rouleur Derby tactics and predictions.

How do I join Rouleur Derby on Slack?

New players should receive an invitation link when they join Rouleur Derby. If you cannot find this link, contact Rouleur Derby for a new one.

Can I be a jerk or harrass people on Slack?


What is a “rouleur”?

A rouleur is a bike racer who is a good all-arounder, as opposed to specialists like sprinters, climbers, and time trialists. Likewise, players who thrive in Rouleur Derby will be the ones with a wide breadth of knowledge who can make accurate predictions on a wide range of propositions.

Why are you doing this?

Rouleur Derby started in 2010 as an exercise to teach myself Django, a popular web application framework. The exercises in the books were boring, but bike racing is fun!

After going on hiatus after the 2013 season, Rouleur Derby returned for the 2019 season. It is still built in Django, this time with a React front end.