Is cycling the new golf when it comes to networking and doing business deals?

Clive Thomas, managing partner at Watkins & Gunn Solicitors

They do say cycling is the new golf as a leisure activity - and I have been known to join the MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) myself. I'm not sure it's the greatest thing for networking though - it's still difficult to beat a round of golf or a trip to a good sporting event to mix business with pleasure successfully and hopefully come away with a very happy new client!

Paul Byett, managing partner at UHY Hacker Young Chartered Accountants, Newport

The formula is the same as it has always been, it’s better to get to know your clients in an informal environment. Today, the fact remains that after three plus hours on a golf course you must know whether you have sealed the deal with that particular client. Cycling appears to be particularly popular at the moment and we are lucky to have Steve Theaker at UHY who does the Tour de France route each year for fun. Regardless of the activity, the key to getting under the skin of your clients is to spend quality time with them in an informal environment. Golf has certainly lost its way in this effect as few senior executives today have time to give up. Cycling may be one of the future opportunities, but it cannot be overestimated when compared with networking events such as the M4 Breakfast and social events such as the forthcoming autumn internationals.

Simon Tee, Partner, Kilsby and Williams, Newport

When I started cycling two years ago, I hadn’t realised how useful it would become for our business. It soon became apparent that the much derided MAMIL (middle-aged men in lycra) sector actually included clients, connectors and influencers within new businesses we could target. Many within this circle are business leaders and ex-high profile sportsmen, who are keen to keep fit and enjoy the social aspect of cycling. The latter still having very competitive juices in their blood! We have held a number of events at the Newport Velodrome and have taken clients out on organised rides on signature Welsh climbs with Bearings West. We have also entertained clients at events such as the National Time Trials at the Celtic Manor - South Wales is blessed with cycling opportunities at genuine national attractions which clients outside the area are willing to travel to. The Velodrome in particular is very inclusive for all ages and sexes as bike ownership is not required. It is a real experience for beginners and experts alike and lends itself to a perfect corporate afternoon.