The month of February is most notably known as the month of ‘love’ due to Valentines Day falling on the 14th every year. It also happens to be the birthday of my lovely, gorgeous niece, Alice. With love on our minds, outside our families and friends, what do you do to cultivate more of what you love in your life and challenge what you think you’re capable of?
This year I’m on a mission to combine my work passion for marketing, branding and communications with technology and wellbeing businesses, with my personal passion for cycling by networking more whilst in the saddle so to speak. For those that know me, you’ll appreciate I have a sense of adventure and like to visit places, home and abroad, on my much loved two wheel machine. We’re living in times where we work differently, with employers offering more flexibility in line with employee demand and lifestyle choices. As for meetings with my clients and their teams, I’ve always been a fan of the ‘Walk and Talk’ as our minds function better and are clearer when we’re moving.
Sweatworking – moving meditation where great ideas flourish
Definition of Sweatworking: The business of networking while taking physical exercise and so working up a sweat.
‘Sweatworking: like networking but sweatier’ started to be promoted in the USA in 2012, needless to say I’m a big advocate for this becoming normal practice. To kick-start my thinking, within the first week of January I secured a wellness client through cycling with south London club Bella Velo in Richmond Park. It has been said that we create our reality and this is a perfect reflection of that.
In addition to networking on two wheels, I’ve taken up the cycling challenge of doing a Randonneur Series which involves doing a series of 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km events, ultimately leading to Paris Brest Paris in August if I successfully complete these distances and there are places available. With the event taking place every four years, and the rising popularity of cycling, registrations are well above average, so a place is not guaranteed even I if do manage to complete the qualifying distances.
Your choice of activity for ‘Sweatworking’ may be sailing, running, skiing, golf or five-a-side football, it just happens that my choice is cycling. It’s accessible to all, is a great means to get and keep fit, and it keeps your mind on the ball. Perhaps it’s a bit like moving meditation, which is when we receive moments of inspiration, with great ideas coming to the forefront of our minds. Moreover, sharing memorable and possibly challenging experiences is also a great way of establishing strong bonds, certainly ones that would not be created across a table in a stuffy, stagnant meeting room.
What’s 1200km between friends…
For the non cyclists amongst us, Paris Brest Paris (PBP) takes place every four years in August and is a self supported ride that spans 1200km, and has to be completed in a maximum of 90 hours.
I first became aware of PBP in Pearson Cycles in Sheen in 2014 when I was asked, having done the Raid Pyrenean, if I was training for it? So I guess that’s when a seed was planted in my subconscious mind.
As a child I loved wearing my Dads retro cycling kit, borrowing his steel road bike and taking it down muddy paths… needless to say it irritated him as I always returned it dirty and he was fastidious about keeping his bikes spotless.
How things have changed… some 15 years ago I truly discovered my love of riding when my Dad built up the very bike I used to ‘borrow’ to see if I’d take to road cycling. At the time I rode a mountain bike and was not convinced I’d convert – how wrong I was. So with his vivid yellow and turquoise steel Paganini set up for me, complete with red saddle and matching red bar tape – my journey and love of the two wheeled ‘Road’ machine took off!
After doing a series of sportives in the UK, then ‘one day’ events abroad such as the Etape in France and Maratona in Italy, I migrated to some week long trips in Mallorca, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Morocco, Corsica and Sardidia, and then to a couple of multi day events like the Raid Pyrenean from Hendaye to Cerbere in 100 hours and Raid Alpine from Nice to Geneva over six days. The events are exhilarating and brutal in equal measure. My longest ride to date is 375km in a 24 hour window so I’ve got some serious work to do in the coming months.
Join me for a sociable cycle
Setting out to enter PBP will be a challenge mentally, emotionally and physically. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure, en route I’ll meet some amazing people, make some incredible friends, create memories that will last a lifetime, and continue to build collaborative relationships where my work life will flourish – ultimately combining what I love.
Last night is a perfect example. Having ridden 105 miles, I drove to Oxford to an event called ‘Going Places: Adventures by Bike’. Hosted and organised by Cowley Road Condors, the evening showcased four inspirational women – Emily Chappell who won the gruelling 4000km PEdAL Ed Transcontinental race in 2016 and co-founder of The Adventure Syndicate, Jasmine Muller who has some impressive pal mares to her name such as World 24 hour time trial champion, and Raz Marsden and Cat Dixon (both in their 50s) who will be attempting to break the world record for cycling around the world on a tandem. An evening to fire the imagination, it made me think – what am I capable of next?
Do feel free to join me on a ‘Sweatworking’ ride – there’s terrain and more importantly a cafe that will serve the best cup of coffee and slice of cake available to fuel our bodies and minds. You are welcome to join me for a social in Richmond Park or for a PBP qualifier, I’m booked on the following…
- 200km – The Winter Boat Ride – 10th Feb (complete)
- 200km – Gentley Bentley – March 17th
- 300km – 3Down (London / New Forest) – 6th April
- 400km – Tour of the Southern Shires – 27th April
- 400km – London / Wales / London) – 4th May
- 600km – Wander Wye with KWCC – 15th / 16th June
And having heard from these four inspirational women, it looks like I may be adding La Loop into the mix – possibly in 2019 and 2020.
Let’s work together
If you are struggling to connect with your target audience, are looking to raise brand awareness and equity, and want to develop your brand strategy to take your business to the next level, then it would good to talk so I can understand the bigger picture and help you solve your marketing challenges.
I’m always keen to meet with decision makers and speak with people who are passionate about their business, especially when they are seeking to make a positive difference in the world.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org