I get a lot of questions about how Oslo Dawn Patrol has grown into such a great success. There are a number of reasons to this that I’m happy to share. But before I go into that I’ll call out the most important one: Oslo Dawn Patrol would never have been what it is today if it weren’t for all the people joining and supporting it. I’m fully aware that someone has to drive it and make it an option to join. But still – the support from all the fantastic people I’ve met over the last year on the bike is what really makes all the difference!
That being said, I’ve identified three key factors: Predictability, Consistency and Passion.
Every Tuesday morning we do the same thing. There are no changes. We depart 5.40 sharp (no hanging around for late comers). We take the exact same route. And the pace is the same (more or less). We have a bit of racing halfway through at a 2,5 km segment. After this we stop, regroup and split into groups of varying speed when heading back to town. And we have coffee at the same café every week – and they like us 🙂 When having the same setup, people know exactly what to expect. No one needs to worry about whether the route will include too many long climbs, scary descents or whatever. It’s the same and they know it. Just as they know what to expect in terms of the effort that is required. This is significantly lowering the threshold of getting out of bed early.
Just keep on doing it. No matter what! We ride all year in all kinds of weather. From -16 to +30 degrees. I admit that it may not always be just hilarious, when you sit there with frozen snot on your chin and gloves. But afterwards you are invincible! And by being consistent people get the idea that you mean it. It’s not like they have to check the weather forecast to figure out if there’ll be a ride or not. There will be a ride. It’s that simple.
You have to be pretty passionate about cycling to get up that early and go out for a ride. That goes for everyone who is there. But to organize it to the degree of success that we’ve seen in Oslo, it’s more than just passion for cycling that matters. For me it’s about the passion I have for organizing something and trying to give people an enjoyable experience. It’s passion for getting more people out on the bike. And to be honest… I just love to get the chance to be the leader of the group and managing all the people in it. I can’t deny it, but you need that when 65 people show up to ride with you! (I’ll write another post one day post all the leadership and management learnings from this.)
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Therefore, the success of Oslo Dawn Patrol as an open social group ride boils down to predictability, consistency and passion. But none of that would matter if it hadn’t been for all the people who keep showing up every Tuesday morning at 5.40am.