Corporate Cycling Days - Unique team bonding by bike

 


 

Early September and the cars, vans, motorbike outriders and cyclists which make up the Tour of Britain caravan are all climbing the infamous Tumble at 15:40 on a Tuesday afternoon.

Watching are hundreds of cycling fans from South Wales, South West and the Forest of Dean.

Lots of people had taken the day off work to catch sight of the tour. Aside from those involved in the tour circus, I was the only one standing on the grassy verge “in work”.

By Jason Smith

Tuesday 13th February 2018

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It’s quite possible that on that Tuesday I was part of a growing trend among Professionals.

Corporate cycling days are beginning to emerge from the plethora of networking events.

Is cycling becoming the new golf? Are the Middle Aged Men in Lycra (“MAMILS”) transferring their leisure pursuits to the networking arena?

I was first approached by Stills and Kilsby Williams accountants back in the summer of 2013 to put together a corporate cycling day package for 20 or so of their clients and contacts.

A ride around Monmouthshire, taking in a climb of the infamous Tumble, followed by a networking BBQ at the Gliffaes Country Hotel.

Demand grew, to the extent that on the day of the event in September 2013, 26 riders left the Gliffaes after a morning coffee and pastries.

Even a writer from Cycling Weekly travelled hundreds of miles to join us and write a story on what he considered a ‘first’.

So why a corporate cycling day? There’s no disputing the growth of cycling, particularly amongst professionals.

Road cycling is fast becoming the new ‘middle aged crises’.

Fast cars are being swapped for ultra-light carbon bikes and replica Team Sky Jerseys.

Strava stats are being checked and pored over as regularly as the obligatory work e-mail.

Everyone’s trying to lose the middle aged tummy and bag a KOM.

I guess back in the day, the same was true for golf. At one time it was the growth sport. In turn, the golf course was maybe the place to network. Maybe corporate days just reflect leisure (or rather men’s leisure) pursuits?

Trawling through Linkedin I’ve discovered a number of ‘cyclists in business’ groups, with various posts about corporate days and client cycling meetings. Many city firms of traders, lawyers and bankers now host corporate cycling days, charity events and even replicating stages of the Tour de France. When topic gets coverage in the Economist, it’s now beyond a novelty.

Unquestionably with a corporate cycling day everyone shares the rush of endorphins on a fast descent or the euphoria in tackling something like the Tumble.

There is also an easy rhythm about conversations on a bike.

Perhaps the most compelling reason why cycling is a good way to network is because, for many professionals, it’s a passion and a way of life. Getting out on the bike is what we’re all dreaming of while we’re sitting at our desks. And a shared passion is a fantastic way to start any relationship.

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