On Sept. 10, I’ll be joining several hundred other cyclists for a 117-km endurance exercise, The Ride, to raise funds for cancer and other disease research at The Ottawa Hospital. It’s my fifth time on the bicycle for this event which started seven years ago, which started with a persuasive call from one of this business’s first clients, Robert Merkley of Merkley Supply Ltd. in Ottawa.
It’s hard to turn down a client request – especially when it is for a good cause and not for selfish business interests. There was a scheduling conflict on the first year’s Ride, so I wrote a cheque. But I decided to pull out my then 30-year-old bicycle the second time around.
That was a painful experience. However, I discovered the effort had value for my health as well as the charity. (Cancer may not be an issue for me, but pre-diabetes is – and there are few better ways to burn off lots of carbs safely than through some intensive cycling.)
Over the years, I’ve improved my cycling skills and speed, and purchased a more current hybrid bicycle for $700 three years ago. This year, I graduated to the special bicycle shoes that clip to pedals and now I commute about 30 kilometres virtually every day when it isn’t raining or very cold. It is fun to pass the cars trapped in traffic, saving some money on gas, while enjoying improving physical fitness.
More importantly, you might consider how to participate in similar community initiatives wherever you live and do business. If you really want to make a major contribution, you can work with relevant organizations on the good cause and initiative a program like The Ride. While the goal here is community service rather than business/personal gain, I can think of few initiatives that help your brand, reputation and relationships (and thus business development) than positive, selfless community service.
Go for it. You will be impressed how far some exercise energy and community spirit will take you and your business.