OK, the teasing is over, here is all the info on our four day ride fest in Amsterdam at the end of April. First from the M*A*S*H department, regular followers of this blog will know Andy and I both suffered some health "inconveniences". I was back on my bike for the first time again this weekend, and I will definitely be ready to ride with everybody at the Amsterdam event. For Andy, it's not going quite as quickly but he'll definitely be there, on wheels or on crutches time will tell.
Now on to the event; when we started planning this and talking about it with customers, it turned out that quite a few of you were very interested in joining us on a few Pathfinding tours. And as it turned out, so did a lot of non-OPEN customers. Then when I put together the Amsterdam itinerary, Andy got inspired to look at linking routes together in his neck of the woods.
Then we talked to our friend Sven Thiele (he's a cycling event organizer) at Eurobike last year, and he got the bug too. So today, we're actually ready to announce something much bigger than just a Pathfinding event in Amsterdam (I feel like I'm hyping an Apple product launch now); we're announcing a whole event series of multi-day gravel rides! (gasp, ooooh, wowwww). The name is OFFRIDING, the first event is indeed in Amsterdam, and many more will follow.
OFFRIDING Amsterdam takes place from April 28th to May 3rd with entries costing €975 based on double occupancy hotel rooms.
For the first year, we are keeping the events really small, and we want our OPEN customers to be part of it so you're the first to know. More info is in the below official press release, as well as on offriding.cc
. To sign up for OFFRIDING AMS, please go here
(and yes, you will be able to see the new OPEN Pathfinder frame at the Amsterdam event)
OFFRIDING cycling events launched
A new series of multi-day gravel rides
London, Amsterdam, Basel – 24 March 2015 – OPEN is proud to announce the formation, together with HotChillee, of a new series of cycling events that take you off-the-beaten-path. Developed by long-time cycling entrepreneurs Gerard Vroomen, Andy Kessler and Sven Thiele, OFFRIDING are free spirited multi-stage gravel rides exploring some of the most beautiful sites and regions around the world. It is bound by a sense of adventure to explore and complete the challenge rather than racing. As such, going off-course is actually encouraged.
Events are classified according to the toughness/skills level as well as the equipment required, with some events suitable for standard road bikes with a slightly larger tire while others require a more rugged set-up.
Gerard Vroomen commented “We like the variety of equipment you see at gravel events so we try not to be too restrictive. That said, OFFRIDING events offer a mix of fast and tough sections, so a bike combining a fast road cycling position with the ability to fit bigger tires is ideal, ‘fast enough to get through the forest, rugged enough to conquer the rocks’.”
En route, riders pass through fully serviced and managed pit stops with medical, physio and mechanical services, food and water. The events will be managed and produced by cycling events specialists HotChillee.
Host locations have been researched around the world with the first OFFRIDING taking place around Amsterdam from April 28th – May 3rd. Amsterdam is one of the world’s great cities, with its famed canals (a UNESCO World Heritage site), 100 museums and world-class cultural events. Outside the hustle and bustle of this fantastic city, a completely different world opens up, with beautiful nature and plenty of unpaved joy. Registration for the inaugural event will open on 25 March at offriding.cc.
The concept has already attracted global interest from many regions suited to the event format. OFFRIDING Amsterdam will be followed by several European events with the final event of the year in the Western Cape in South Africa in November.
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister for Economic Opportunities says: “We’re very excited as a region to be a destination for the OFFRIDING series. The opportunities for point-to-point off-road riding, scenery, hospitality, cuisine and of course wine tasting are endless. The ability to experience all of these on a bike, in remote, less-travelled locations means that we have a wonderful way of leveraging what the region has to offer, from simple and flat gravel to challenging and tough mountain trails. Featuring in the OFFRIDING series is another step in the right direction as we work towards the goal of attracting 100,000 cycling tourists to the Western Cape each year.”
About the founders
Gerard Vroomen is the co-founder of Cervélo & OPEN Cycle and co-owner of 3T. As a life-long fan of cycling in all its forms, his appalling lack of talent to ride a bike fast naturally led him to the non-competitive art of offriding.
His favorite rides are any challenge that focuses on the experience along the way and the joy of finishing rather than on how long it took or who is behind him (unless it's Sven or Andy). To name a few events: The Flanders and Paris-Roubaix cyclosportives, the Almanzo gravel ride (his short-lived gravel cycling tradition with the late Steve Hed), the Grape Escape mountain bike race in South Africa and even an Ironman Canada (the old course). And not to forget, the amazing rides around Amsterdam where he lives with his family, and which are part of OFFRIDING AMS.
Sven Thiele is the founder of HotChillee, the events company that lays on a series of road cycling events - “professional events for amateurs”. Like Gerard and Andy all things in and around cycling are a constant attraction for new ideas and endeavours.
As a youngster in the 70’s he converted his steel framed bike to ride off-road trails in and around his home in Cape Town. Whilst his friends rode Choppers, he realized that with a bit of skill and a bigger wheel he was able to cover the distance with less effort. That passion for riding the paths less travelled, no matter the surface or destination, will now be shared by setting up the OFFRIDING series with Gerard and Andy. The research into rides and trails for OFFRIDING in the Western Cape has already resulted in some of his most amazing days on a bike.
Andy Kessler is the co-founder of OPEN cycle and ex-CEO of BMC, has been involved in cycling for 30 years. After working for Scott, Cannondale, BMC and Cervélo, he left the comfort of a bigger company to start OPEN with Gerard.
For Andy, a day without riding is a day not lived. He raced in his early years but found out he did not like to be forced into a schedule. Riding for Andy is about the experience of nature, freedom and also hitting physical barriers (even if they get lower every year). He has done epic off-road rides like 2 weeks in Lesotho while seeing only 4 cars and road rides like Vancouver-to-San Francisco in 8 days. For him it’s all about the journey and not the destination.