Oslo Dawn Patrol slowly coming back to life!

Since Covid-19 struck and restrictions were imposed throughout society Oslo Dawn Patrol has been on hold. It hasn’t been the time for group rides with 30+ people.

But things are turning to the better know, and on Tuesday we took the first small step towards getting Oslo Dawn Patrol back on the road again. There are still quite strict limits on how many people can gather and the Norwegian Cycling Federation does not recommend group rides just yet. But I had an idea of getting people out cycling early and keep the spirit around Dawn Patrol alive. I thought about doing it already early on in the lock down (back in the beginning of April), but realized that we weren’t ready for it then. But now was the time!

Svartskog Kolonial is a small countryside cafe and shop, which sits very close to the normal Dawn Patrol route. But obviously it’s usually closed when we pass it around 6.15am. But this week they were so kind to open their cafe and out door seating between 6am and 7.30am for us. Within that time frame early birds arrived for coffee, waffles, cinnamon buns, smoothies etc. had a chat with all the people they haven’t been able to ride with for two months. I didn’t arrange any group riding out there. People were to make their own way and I set it as a requirement that they arrived alone or maximum 5 riders together. I think most people actually respected that.

Throughout the morning around 40 people dropped by and it was super cosy. The feedback was phenomenal and there has been numerous requests to do it again. So I guess we’ll do it again soon 🙂 An out door coffee event with social distance was superb. Just what we needed!

Sponsors – Chapter 2

A few weeks ago I called for sponsors of Oslo Dawn Patrol. Not the entire event, but just someone to pick up the coffee bill. A few actually did reach out to get more information about this. But I also had the chance to discuss with a number of trust worthy and knowledgeable people in my network.

Based on the feedback I’ve had I’ve decided to kill the idea of sponsors. I don’t want Oslo Dawn Patrol to be a commercial event. It’s an environment where people join because of cycling and the social community. And I want it to stay like that.

Therefore, there will be no sponsoring of Oslo Dawn Patrol. It’s a commercial free zone. We are there to ride our bikes and just have a great time together.

Oslo Dawn Patrol and sponsors

I am often being asked whether I’d build club or team based on Oslo Dawn Patrol. But until know I’ve rejected the idea. And I still do – because I want it to be an open social cycling event for everyone. If I change it to a team or club there will suddenly be a barrier for joining. And that’s not the purpose of it. The whole idea is that we meet. We ride. We socialize.

All that being said, I’ve realized that there might be a potential for inviting sponsors to host the coffee we are having at Supreme Roastworks every week. During the summer season (April-October) we are a crowd of between 30 and 50 people hitting the cafe. Until now we’ve all paid our own coffee and whatever we may have. The total spending of the group is in the area of 1.000,- to 1.500,- kr each time. This is where I’d like sponsors to chip in. It doesn’t have to be the same sponsor every week. It can change. I’m open to anything. I just want the people joining Oslo Dawn Patrol to have great morning and to be able continue their day with a good feeling. And I don’t think a cup of coffee sponsored by someone with a commercial interest is going to ruin that – rather the opposite!

Of course a sponsor would need some sort of exposure. They won’t get access to the naming convention. Oslo Dawn Patrol is called Oslo Dawn Patrol. But the sponsor will get a number of honorable mentions – both in real life and in social media. And at Supreme Roastworks we’ll arrange a prominently positioned sign around the ODP coffee station. It might even be an option with a small stand where people can get more details about the sponsor. For sure, no one will leave without being fully informed about who paid their coffee.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this then please send them in my direction. Contact details are here: https://www.hansflensted.cc/contact/

Now hiring: Road Captains

In order to meet the demand for early morning cycling in Oslo in 2020, I’m looking for 2-3 people who can assist as road captains at Oslo Dawn Patrol rides. You will be responsible for organizing and leading Oslo Dawn Patrol once or twice every month. In addition you will be co-leading the group when the turn-out is high during summer.

The ideal candidate can say yes to the following:

  • Cycling is your passion!
  • Experienced group rider.
  • Never late but always on time.
  • Ability to verbally and clearly communicate important information to a large group of people (in either Norwegian or English).
  • Comfortable giving feed back and directions to less experienced riders on how to ride a bike most effectively.
  • Equally comfortable giving directions to riders who are much stronger and more experienced than yourself as well as tell them to shut up and slow down if that is needed.
  • Basic first aid skills.
  • And you can ride up Kongsveien in 6½ minute (7.45 with studs) without being pushed beyond your limit.

This is your chance to get to know a lot of great people and get well connected in the Norwegian cycling community, as well as developing your organisational and leadership skills. I’m also working on a compensation model, where you will be rewarded for your time and efforts. However, this will mostly be of a symbolic character, so don’t quit you day job just yet.

If you’re interested let me know by you preferred platform of communication. E-mail works fine (hello@hansflensted.cc). You can also go here: https://www.hansflensted.cc/contact/

Anyone who might be interested is encouraged to reach out, regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, nationality, number of years you’ve been cycling etc. Nothing should hold you back.

And another thing: just because you might not think you fulfill all the points listed above doesn’t mean you aren’t the right person. None of us have it all.

The Service Course Oslo

Back in 2016 (I think) a guy called Christian Meier and his wife, Amber, started The Service Course in Girona. According to the website they give you a “world class cycling experience”. I’ve never been there, but from what I hear it’s a pretty cool place. And it probably doesn’t hurt that it’s in Girona, which is a pretty good destination for a cyclist. This weekend they opened up a branch her in Oslo as well.

I’ll admit that it’s not totally clear to me what exactly their business model her in Oslo is. It’s not a normal bike shop. Not a training studio. Not a travel agency. But a bit everything I guess. They have been pretty clear that gravel is the unique selling point here in Oslo. Attracting cyclists to Oslo to get the chance to ride some of the fantastic gravel routes we have just outside of town is certainly a good idea. But the season is short; the weather is not what Girona can offer; and Norway is an expensive destination for tourists. So it’s going to be interesting to see if they can actually get customers to pay the price for this.

In addition to the gravel tour guiding and selling insanely expensive custom built bikes they do actually have a Zwift training studio as well. For a place like Oslo with a winter lasting for six month and quite a bit of snow, I have no doubt that this is a good addition to the concept. I don’t just say that because the studio is fitted with bikes from my personal sponsor – DARE Bikes Norge. I honestly think its’ a good offer to the local cycling community for them to stay fit – as well as stay in touch – through the winter. Most have their own Zwift setup at home in a small pain cave in the garage or a shed in the garden. But being able to ride Zwift in more fresh surroundings is definitely attractive. It all depends on how much it’ll cost. Not everyone ride outdoor all year like myself. Even I could be tempted to sign up for that studio.

It’s not spinning. It’s Zwift training on Dare Bikes 🙂

The Sunday Salida

On Sunday they hosted the first – of hopefully many – open social group rides, Sunday Salidas. It’s something they do down in Girona as well. I had been looking forward to this. After I started Oslo Dawn Patrol I’ve been hosting a lot of group rides with large groups of people. That’s hard work so I was looking forward to join as one the riders and just have a good time. But obviously, I couldn’t stop myself from taking a few mental notes on how they did things and what I would have done different myself.

Let me be clear: It was a great ride! Around 35 people on a cold and snowy Sunday. That’s good. We did a 2-hour loop on what is normally gravel, but was snow covered roads on the day. It was a good route that wasn’t too long or too difficult – apart from the fact that it was soft snow. But that’s just fun.

That being said, there’s room for improvement. The pace was high from the start. We dropped people already on the way out of town and after about 8 km, we turned into the woods. Unfortunately, a small group had been caught by a red light (and we didn’t wait), so they missed the turn and continued straight ahead. Out of pure luck they found us half an hour later when our paths suddenly crossed. It was a coincidence that basically shouldn’t be possible. It was not a social ride. It was a tough ride. I myself got dropped a couple of times and only managed to catch up when there was a short stop in the front group. The sequence below from Strava Flyby is a good example of how a left turn was missed by quite a few people. Where were the road captain and the lantern rouge? As I said: room for improvement. But it’s actually just minor adjustments that will make all the difference.

The group was stretched out after a long climb. The front group turning left, without re-grouping.

But still, it was a good day out for me. I met a lot of people, which is always nice. And I’m always impressed when someone takes a chance and starts something up. No doubt The Service Course is going to be good for the entire cycling community in Oslo. And I hope they will make it. Kudos to the team at The Service Course Oslo.

Photo credit: All the photos in this post are from the Facebook page of The Service Course Oslo. Give them a follow.

Cycling and cocktails. What’s not to like?

One of the things that I’ve learned about Oslo Dawn Patrol, is that when people share a passion there is a high appetite for socializing – also in settings that doesn’t exactly involve the shared passion. I’ve realized that a lot of the people who show up for Dawn Patrol are connecting with each other also outside the core setting of Oslo Dawn Patrol. Friendships have been made and I even have a feeling that some might have hooked up (but I’m not gonna pry into that – you’ll have to pick up your gossip somewhere else!). I don’t think you can imagine how good it feels when you see people build relations through something that you’ve arranged. That alone makes it worth it all.

Festive ODP is what we called the night!

This eagerness to spend time together was also why I decided to throw a fairly low key party on Saturday. I pretty much did it the easiest way possible: reserving a few tables at Calmeyer’s Hage – a cool sky bare at the top of the newly renovated Clarion Hotel The Hub in Oslo city center. The manager there happens to be one of the regulars at Oslo Dawn Patrol. Thanks Aaron! All I did was to invite people to come over for drinks at their own expense. Aaron pulled some strings and arranged a bit of complimentary champagne and some seafood snacks to get the conversation going. But from there we were on our own. And we had a blast! About 35 people showed up – both those who’ve done 30+ Dawn Patrols and those who’ve only done one! Again I saw people talking to people they’ve never met before like they were old friends. And it wasn’t just because of intoxication.

Pre cocktail ride on a lovely autumn day.

Obviously, I made sure that there was an option join a social ride in the afternoon. I have a theory that the longer the time span is between hanging out together on the bike and an off-bike activity the more difficult it is to convince yourself that it’s a good idea to go. And it seemed to work, since most of those who joined me riding in the afternoon showed up for drinks as well!

I’m already planning the summer party!