On Your Bike: Former Olympian launches networking on bicycles franchise

The group encourages entrepreneurs to get in the saddle and start cycling, to socialise and network, on a weekly ride over 50-100km which takes in historic market towns and stunning English countryside.

On the initiative, Paul Hopewell, senior healthcare partner with The Health Insurance Group said: “Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned small business owner, networking is an important aspect of business. There are numerous events and communities out there for making connections but we felt the whole ‘business on bikes’ group was a great way of getting people involved. We set out on a different route every week and it’s fun, healthy and perfect for making new contacts among enthusiasts that also happen to do business”.

The Bryan Steel Cycling Group meets every Sunday morning at a Mansfield restaurant Il Rosso and is open to cyclists of all abilities. The three-hour session starts from the Nottingham Road venue and takes a route through picturesque north Nottinghamshire. The founding-group has already attracted 20 local business people, while other cycling groups have expressed an interest in expanding the network.

A ‘business on bikes’ franchise will be available for others to set up their own cycling network groups. An induction programme introduces the format and covers: business relationships, group responsibilities such as health and safety and advanced-riding techniques i.e. drafting, coping with crosswinds and climbs, and group rider roles.

Steel added, “Some of our early members have told us that ‘business on bikes’ is a breath of fresh air and less intimidating than traditional networking events. It’s been great for everyone’s fitness and some have already made connections with owners and directors of large multinational companies.”

Representatives from the British Bike Hire organisation join the group to service people’s bikes and offer tips about cycle care. And as well as taking part on the ride, there is also a chance for cyclists to enjoy a coffee and bacon roll, and a post-ride drink with an Olympian.

Hopewell and Steel formed a close cycling partnership a year ago, when the two friends trained for an epic 240 miles in 24 hours, with 24 cyclists, to raise money for the King’s Mill Specialist Premature Baby Unit in Mansfield.

Bryan Steel was a silver medallist in the team pursuit at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and also won bronze in the same discipline four years earlier in Sydney. Steel currently travels the UK as a motivational mentor and coach to business, sharing the secrets of his success through his own development programme.