Could cycling be the secret to success?

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How one man pedalled his way to Chief Operating Officer of a globally renowned hotel group

For centuries, human beings have sought out to uncover the secret to success. So much so that if you input the phrase “The secret to success,” into your Google search engine, you will find approximately 1.6 billion results. 

Whilst most will tell you that the secret to success is taking risks, remaining optimistic and working hard, few will tell you the truth – that cycling offers the most promising route to success. Well not necessarily…But isn’t it a strange coincidence that many successful people enjoy cycling? 

From Joe Biden to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, J.Lo and  Pippa Middleton to Matt Damon, who raced South Africa’s 109 kilometre Cape Town Cycle Tour on a tandem bike with his brother Kyle Damon before filming Invictus – the road to success certainly seems full of cyclists. 

But why cycling? 

Tim Cordon, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East and Africa for the Radisson Hotel Group, shares four reasons why he loves cycling, how it’s helped him in his career and what it could do for you. 

A sustainable sport

With rising temperatures, the change in seasonal cycles, the increased prevalence of natural disasters, diminishing wildlife species and the growing reality of a global climate disaster, practising sustainability is more important than ever. Whilst averting a global climate crisis is a major undertaking, it begins with small, realistic and sustainable changes to your lifestyle – like cycling. Opting to ride your bike when travelling short distances instead of driving your car is one way that you can reduce your impact on the environment. Cycling does not only reduce air and sound pollution but it also promotes biodiversity and ultimately reduces your contribution to global warming. 

Sustainability is integral to the Radisson Hotel Group, its operations and its people who are committed to achieving a 1.5° future. 

Cycling is the new golf

Any successful business executive will tell you that you’re only as good as your network. Just like playing golf, joining a cycling club allows you to meet new people with various professional backgrounds. Due to its increasing popularity among executives and CEOs, cycling is a great way to network with accomplished business professionals. It gives those who are early in their careers a chance to connect with more experienced professionals and vice versa in a relaxed environment. 

Motor your mind 

Most exercise is good for your mood and mental health, and cycling is no exception. A study published in 2019, observed  100 adults of which one-third were non cyclists, another third cycled at least three times per week, and the final third used e-bikes. Over an 8 week period, participants were asked to maintain these cycling (or non-cycling) routines. It was discovered that the participants who cycled at least three times per week — either on traditional bikes or e-bikes — demonstrated notable improvements in mental health, cognitive function, and overall perception of health and well-being compared to the noncyclists. This is because different types of riding stimulate different cognitive functions. For example, mountain biking is technical and so requires you to be focussed, which improves your concentration whereas road cycling allows you to ride at greater speeds, which spurs a rush of adrenaline and endorphins and allows for a greater sense of enjoyment. 

The versatility of the sport also allows you to service your emotional need for self-reflection during solo rides as well as your need for socialisation during group rides.  

Cordon takes full advantage of this duality, sharing, “Whilst I enjoy the incredible sense of freedom, peace and solitude that biking gives me, I equally look forward to riding with The Cycle Hub race team, which is great fun and super important to me – after all cycling is a team sport!”

Life is like learning to ride a bike

Life can be likened to cycling. Just like life, cycling teaches you the art of balance. Balancing not going too fast and missing the scenery with not going  too slow and becoming stagnant.  It teaches you that just like oiling your bike makes for a better ride, taking care of yourself makes for a better life. Riding a bike teaches you that the only way you’ll know if you can do it is by taking off your training wheels, as is the case with life. It teaches you that with good planning you can conquer even the roughest terrain and so it’s important that you plan your life goals according to your values and have fun even when doing the hard work. Most importantly, riding a bike teaches you to enjoy the ride.

Cordon concludes, “To me being a great cyclist means demonstrating self-control, patience, respect and most importantly, humility. These are the lessons that I have taken into my career and one of the reasons I am where I am today” 

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