Schmoozing from the bike saddle

Friday, August 22, 2008

From an article by Mike Ivey in The Capital Times:

When Associated Bank senior vice president Tom Dott schedules business meetings this time of year, he often asks clients to bring along the bike.

And when Dott talks bicycling, he's doesn't mean a ride around the block. Rather, he's thinking a three-hour tour of 40 miles or so along the backroads of Dane County.

"We've been holding rides with clients about every month," he says. "They've been really popular."

Indeed, for a growing number of fitness-minded business people, bike tours have become the "new golf." Where deals were once cut on the country club fairway, more and more are getting done from the saddle of a high-end road bike with a carbon fiber frame.

Corporate bike rides are already a big deal in California and are increasingly catching on in Wisconsin. Given the number of bike-related businesses in the state, that's not surprising.

While location or size of the rides vary, they're pretty similar: men and women, some on bikes costing upwards of $5,000, ride on a fixed route at their own pace, ending the day with a dinner or beer bash. Riders get to network, talk shop, sweat some and even flex their cycling muscles.

Often, the rides include a charity fundraiser, with business and employees raising money for a good cause.