In my normal life, I work at a fantastic digital agency in Soho called Nitro Digital as an Account Manager. We focus mainly on the healthcare industry and provide lots of different digital solutions to clients.
Whilst wearing my Nitro hat I was invited on an 85 mile networking ride by a company called Ride25 that brought together a group of marketeers from lots of different fields. The idea of cycling to make more business contacts greatly appealed to me. Rather than shuffling nervously around a room with a name badge on trying to madly think of something to break the ice, on a cycling trip there are plenty of ice-breakers like “nice wheels” – “have you got a Garmin?” – “POTHOLE!” – “Jelly Baby?”.
Bringing a practical, physical challenge, horizontal rain and a relentless head wind to the table is definitely the way to network.
At 7:30am my colleague, Peter from Nitro and Kevin from Bike Box London met, bleary eyed on St James’ Mall in London with lots of other marketeers, picked up our Ride25 jerseys and were ready to roll out.
A few things about the organiser, Ride25
Ride25 was set up by friends and travel enthusiasts Rob Hamilton and John Readman after they inspired by an overwhelming response to a UK to Australia charity cycle ride, originally organised by Rob, which raises money for the African children’s charity 1morechild. The event was so popular that Rob and John wanted to open it up to a wider audience, with the aim of giving individuals, groups of friends, charities and companies the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world by bike, one tour at a time, over 25 legs. The ride we were doing, the #MCycle, was the first leg of the Ride 25’s route to Australia. Whilst Peter, Kev and I were only doing the 85 mile, one day ride to Brighton, a few other members of the marketing group were continuing on to Paris on a three day itinerary. That’s a lot of networking!
A little about the weather that day
One thing about wind that I never understand, is why, for me, it’s always a headwind and NEVER a tailwind. There was a headwind for 85 miles of riding. Sometimes when I was going downhill – it felt like I was going back up it in reverse. Of course there was rain too – blowing into my face like a blender with no lid on it. It was character building and all the more excuse for me to proudly wear my shiny 90’s shell suit jacket that I realised at around mile 45 – after catching my reflection in a shop window – makes me look like a giant blob of Blu Tack.
But, what a great day!
When I eventually rolled into Brighton having been blown off my bike sideways several times along the exposed esplanade that nearly landed me in the sea and was handed half a pint of lager – all the pain slipped away and I was very happy to have completed the challenge on a normal Thursday when I would usually be in the office. It was fun to represent Nitro in the saddle and inadvertently network whilst admiring the beautiful views and trying to work out what the beeps of my GPS equipment were trying to warn me of with fellow marketeers.
I highly recommend checking out Ride25 and joining them on one of their well organised and friendly cycles.
Check them out here.