Team Building Insight From The Saddle

Poisson Rouge MD Mark Katz reflects on his recent European cycling trip. “Last month I along with 6 pals decided for no good reason to cycle from Geneva to Milan across the Alps. From the saddle and being part of the process gave me some fascinating team building insight as we worked hard together over four days to reach our goals.

It all seemed a good idea and jolly good wheeze when sitting in the pub 6 months earlier – and a fitting follow up to our London to Paris adventure last year.

It was simple really – we would all do a bit of training – get some ‘hill repeats’ under our belts, get some miles into our legs and off we would trot ….as the meerkat would say – Simples!

Teamwork, delegation and leadership

Only what very quickly became apparent was that there was a huge and complex logistical “piece” that we had all overlooked and the whole thing – whilst a brilliant, fabulous, life affirming experience became a classic case study of teamwork, delegation and leadership.

Firstly – someone had to be responsible for planning all the routes. This involved plotting a detailed route using the cycling App (Strava). Each day had to have a route for each leg of the journey – checking each segment in minute detail to make sure the distances and climbs were all achievable on a daily basis (we had 4 days to complete the 360 miles climbing through over 2000 meters of elevation.)

That task fell to me and so I took on my team role as Planner. I was supported by one of te other team members who had been planner for the London to Paris trip so we shared the checking and rechecking – sharing suggestions as we went.

Then there was logistics and this quickly fell to my wife. She immediately got onto every aspect of the trip – hotels, lunch stops, flight options, support vehicle hire, local bike shops where we could provision in Geneva, restuarants each night – all the time negotiating best prices and holding availabilitiy.

Each team member had to be responsible for their own transport to and from airports and of course flights. They also had to make their own arrangements for bike transport which involves bike bags, wheel cases etc..

Two of the team had roles as driver / support (one rode part the way as well)

Once in Geneva – with a relatively early night behind us – we assembled into the morning sun and excitement and nerves building – set off along the shores off Lake Geneva (first day 100 miles!)

Team Building Insight

I have never experienced such a shared sense of being part of a unique and special team – 6 normal – not that fit – not that sporty people – doing something amazing – all in our late 40’s or early 50’s and all because we wanted to.

We had collective drive, mutual support and a shared goal and not only did we all make it – we got stronger and tighter as the journey unfolded.

By day 4 – 6 cyclists had become one – riding in harmony as one peleton –looking out for each other – taking it in turns to lead.

Success was down to the fact that we all had the same desire, passion, focus, energy, goal. We all took turns to lead – we all played our part and we all finished together.

Next year – Milan – Rome (400 miles ) bring it on.”

Poisson Rouge can boost your team. More here on team building ideas and challenges >>

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  • team building insight Team Building Insight From The Saddle

    Mark Katz cycles from Geneva to Milan across the Alps. From the saddle and being part of the process gave him some fascinating team building insight working hard in the saddle over four days to reach their goals.