By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines exclaiming that “Cycling is the New Golf.” Business Insider and the New York Times have covered the trend, and while golf has long been the go-to activity for business meetings outside the boardroom, there’s a new way to network. More and more businesspeople are investing in road bikes and hitting the pavement.
This trend isn’t just on the rise in Silicon Valley or on the East Coast—thanks to its sunny weather and panoramic views, Colorado is home to dozens of top-notch golf courses, and has made a name for itself as a prime cycling destination, too. These days, it’s no longer just an after-work hobby—a cycling meeting is now a fairly standard way to network in Colorado.
Take Boulder’s Wednesday Morning Velo rides, for example. For more than 15 years, Boulderites have been meeting up at 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday mornings between May and September for a networking ride. In recent years the group has gained in popularity and quadrupled in size from from one group of 20 or 30 riders to four groups of that size.
It’s not only the chance to get in some exercise before the work day that draws Boulder cycling enthusiasts. The Wednesday Morning Velo group describes the weekly outing as a “social ride” that’s “oriented around business networking.” Rachel Beisel, Vice President of Marketing at Gorilla Logic and an organizer of Wednesday Morning Velo, feels that a group cycle is less awkward than traditional networking. “Cycling has led me to every life and business decision,” she told Boulder’s Daily Camera. “I’ve had more meetings on a bike than in a boardroom.”
“We ride at an easy to moderate ‘conversational’ pace most of the ride,” the website explains, “with occasional changes to ‘show what you’ve got’ and then slow up for a regroup.” Wednesday Morning Velo follows a few different routes at various paces for cyclists of different abilities and fitness levels, though it’s not a ride intended for beginner cyclists. That being said, they’re not going to drop (leave behind) slower riders. Rather, it’s a lot like a game of golf: waiting for others is a chance to chat about pitches, news, and potential deals.
Road cycling, in particular, is well-suited to this sort of networking. A 2016 New York Times article points out that cycling, by its nature, “matches the pace and pitch” of emerging industries like tech. It requires a great deal of constant physical output, and it can be frenetic. A younger generation of fitness-focused business people—those who might get antsy playing nine or 18 holes—can stay engaged on a 20- to 30-mile pre-work or lunchtime bike ride.
Similar to the traditional golf foursome, which in many ways is like a several-hour interview, cycling lends itself to networking and collaboration. Riding in a peloton means it’s nearly impossible (and definitely considered bad etiquette) to monopolize one person’s entire workout. While in golf there is a clear winner and loser, a group ride is more about sticking together. Many cycling networking groups, official and unofficial, find cycling (and in turn business) partners via apps like Strava to compares times and pace on the same routes. It can also be competitive—just like the business world.
The high level of physical output cyclists experience, even on a short ride, means many serious cyclists are fit enough to enjoy the other high-level sports Colorado has on offer. Running groups that meet several times a week to work out and train for races have sprung up all over the state, as well.
And let’s not forget the most quintessential of all Colorado sports: skiing. With more than 30 ski areas statewide, some of which offer world-class skiing and draw visitors from across the globe, business people have more opportunities than ever to meet up with potential partners, investors, clients, and colleagues on the slopes or in the lift line, too.
Cycling may be on the upswing, but golf isn’t going anywhere—and Colorado’s got a long list of gorgeous greens to choose from. Resort towns like Telluride, Vail, and Beaver Creek offer some of the state’s best skiing, cycling, and golf opportunities, depending on the season. In addition to its picture-perfect ski slopes, Beaver Creek is home to three championship golf courses. Its Beaver Creek Golf Club, open May to October, is one of the Vail Valley’s longest-running courses. The Vail Valley also boasts some tough rides to 360-degree views, plus a ton of A-list restaurants where business people can meet up with colleagues post-ride, ski, or tee.
Originally written by RootsRated for Choose Colorado.
Featured image provided by Makia Minich