Is Cycling the New Golf?

People are always looking for a way to do business development in the summer that is fun and ensures ample time to get to know your client or potential client better. For decades that has been done on the golf course. It is often said that if you can spend 5 hours on the golf course together then you won’t mind working through the details of a transaction.

But not everyone likes golf and certainly not everyone is good at golf.

The sport of cycling has steadily been growing in popularity for the last number of years. Maybe it was the Lance Armstrong effect or the ability to watch world-class cycling events easily, or maybe it’s because anyone can do it. No matter the reason, people are cycling more and it can be a great way to do business development.

This year I was asked to join a group of riders in support of Multiple Sclerosis. My contact knew that I was a fairly active cyclist and thought I would enjoy a ride from Grand Bend, ON to London, ON and back again. I jumped at the chance as not only did it give me a reason to be on my bike but I also knew it would be a great way to learn more about him and his company.

The great part about cycling is that almost all of us have done it at some point or another. Most rides are not set up as races but as tours meaning there are lots of stops and support people. Other riders are not keeping track of time, rather they are too busy enjoying the scenery and talking with the other cyclists. There is no limit as to who can participate either – in the case of my group, our team has over 60 people among the 1,500 riders.

From a business development standpoint, not only are you spending a day or two riding with like-minded people, but you also have likely done a number of training rides together as well. In the case of a golf game you will spend half a day together once a summer. In the case of cycling you may end up with the person on a weekly basis for several months – plenty of time to get to know someone and their business.

There are countless rides of various lengths all across the country that people can participate in. I encourage you to dust off the bike and get outside.


  1. As someone who just completed a cycling fundraiser also, I have definitely been seeing this trend (I was one of about 200 riders that rode 660 km in 6 days between Toronto and Montreal).

    We are seeing the same challenge as with golf, however: not as many women as men have the time to train and participate, so it is (except for the fundraisers) currently a male dominated pursuit.

    I have “the bug” now, though, and would love to see more women riding. And playing golf, for that matter.

  2. Or meeting up other employees who bike to work regularily at the work site communal bike lock-up I have for over the past 2 decades.

    The Grand Fondo rides such as Banff, Whistler aren’t cheap and are not fundraisers, but do attract business related acquaintances as well as anyone else willing to pay the fee.

    As you know Connie, there is an annual international wk. long bike ride of library/information management folks that ride across several European countries with mini daily agenda on information management issues, visits, etc.

  3. At the other extreme of health, I know of files that came into lawfirms because the shivering smokers outside in winter struck up conversations with smoking clients – and that led to work being assigned. It’s all about the opportunity for unhurried casual conversations.

    Not that Slaw would ever commend smoking.

  4. “not as many women as men have the time to train and participate, so it is (except for the fundraisers) currently a male dominated pursuit”

    [citation needed]

  5. Geneviève Gélinas

    The legal community in Quebec is joining the fun for the second year with the Juritour for Cystic Fibrosis that will be held September 20th in the beautiful (and somewhat hilly) wine country around Frelighsburg, QC. More info at

    SOQUIJ, as well as the Young Bar Association of Montreal and Norton Rose are sending good sized teams and folks from all legal spheres will take part : lawyers, notaries, paralegals, process servers, etc. There’s still time to register :^)

  6. Mike, I don’t need a citation for my personal opinion.

  7. Jeremy Hessing-Lewis

    The MAMIL (“Middle Aged Men in Lycra”) scene has become a big part of Vancouver’s legal community. I find that cycling does a much better job at connecting age demographics and keeping an otherwise sedentary profession moving. I’ll have to agree with Connie on the gender divide, but I think it does offer an improvement over golf. Besides the networking on weekend rides, I’m surprised that more firms have not taken advantage of the marketing opportunities presented by cycling.

    Other than event and team sponsorship, I have been hoping to see some firms develop appropriate promotional items: A set of wool bike jerseys would be a marketing home run in these parts.

    These options make even more sense for personal injury firms, for whom cyclists represent a core client base.