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5 Valuable Business Lessons That Only Cyclists Learn First Hand

Cycling is not only good for your health, it can teach you valuable business lessons. Here are just a few.

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BY Kevin Daum - 16 May 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I absolutely love getting on my road bike. I love the speed, the transfer of energy, and it’s great to watch the world as you fly down the road. I even stepped into adventure biking, completing a 234-mile trip in Maine and a 439-mile trip in Louisiana.

This week is National Bike to Work Week, and if it’s an option for you, biking to work makes for an excellent start to your workday. Taking the bike lane every morning puts you on the path for business success.

There’s a lot to learn from riding a bike. To ride, you have to learn control and persistence, and you need to develop strength in the right muscles. To continue riding, you need to learn how to maintain and care for yourself and your equipment. Here’s why business is like riding a bike; the analogies abound!

1. You Better Be Passionate

Cycling isn’t easy. It takes leg strength, agility, and balance. It can hurt your… well, it can hurt. But for those who love it, cycling becomes an obsession. Every day of nice weather, all you want is to be out there on the road. That passion is what makes the pain worth it. Similarly, you need to have passion for your business, whatever it is. You need to love what you do enough to stick with it through the hard times, and enough to inspire those around you.

2. Use Good Equipment in the Correct Size

It’s important to use quality equipment for your bike. PEDs or no, even Lance Armstrong couldn’t win the Tour de France on a shoddy bike that didn’t fit. Now, this doesn't mean that you must have the most expensive equipment from the most famous manufacturer. But it does mean that you need good quality and proper fit, in both your equipment and your people. The same is true in business. You don’t need to poach the highest-price colleague, but you do need hard workers who are good at what they do. And don’t forget that they need to fit into the culture you’ve been trying to build, and with the other people already in place.

3. Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Old equipment isn’t necessarily bad equipment. I have a leather bike seat that’s traveled many miles with me, but it’s perfectly broken in and still in great shape. I take good care of it, and I can’t imagine replacing it for a long time. But here’s the thing: when it’s time for it to go, there is no time to be sentimental. In bikes and in business, you can’t wait too long to replace equipment that just doesn’t work any more. Waiting too long could mean it’s already too late. And if the wheels fall off, there’s simply too much damage to fix.

4. Healthier Bodies, Healthier Brains, Healthier Business

Cycling is great for you, physically and emotionally. Regular exercise is linked to longer lives and happier people. On top of that, exercise correlates to sharper brains. Whether it’s on a bike or on a run, leaders should encourage their people to stay active and healthy. It’s good for your whole team and for your business.

5. Use It or Lose It

There’s a ubiquitous adage that “X thing is like riding a bike. You’ll pick it right back up!” But I disagree. You may be able to get on the bike and ride around the block, but you definitely won’t be able to make it past a few miles. You need to get into good habits and maintain them. Business muscles atrophy just as quickly as leg muscles.

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