CYCLE TO MIPIM: MEET THE RIDERS – MIKE AXON
With four weeks to go until the Legal & General Real Assets Cycle to MIPIM 2019 departs London for Cannes, we’re meeting four riders, three who are participating in the ride for the first time, and one who is a familiar presence, to give their perspectives on what they are looking forward to about the event. Today’s is the turn of Mike Axon, Director at Vectos. Mike is virtually a veteran of Cycle to MIPIM, having completed three and twice taken on the role of Ride Captain.
- Tell us a bit about your involvement with Cycle to MIPIM.
This will be my fourth year cycling to MIPIM and my third year as a ride captain. Last year, I also participated in the Leeds to London extension before Cycle to MIPIM so it was about 1,800 kilometres all up. I organise a few of the training rides and attend many others, and also take part in a variety of other charity ride events throughout the UK and Europe.
- What keeps you coming back?
Everything else aside, the event is for an amazing cause, supporting Coram, one of the UK’s oldest children’s charities. If you haven’t been to the museum yet, I’d highly recommend a tour: it opens your eyes to the truly incredible work the charity does and the importance of the funding they so desperately need through events like Cycle to MIPIM.
In terms of the cycle itself, quite frankly it’s just a great event. Brilliantly organised, a fantastic support crew, the opportunity to experience an event as close to Tour de France as possible, and beautiful scenic views. Of course the networking opportunities are fantastic as well. The camaraderie bonds you, particularly when you’re cycling through torrential rain or other challenging conditions. It’s unlike anything else I’ve experienced.
- Cycle to MIPIM can be a daunting challenge for first timers. What three bits of advice would you give them?
Training, not spending more time on the bike that your fitness allows and packing well!
The ride is a big undertaking and while it might not be appealing to get up for early morning rides in the peak of winter it is critical! Some people want to cycle the entire ride, not just their assigned stages and you need to be wary of that, not just in terms of injuries but also because your fatigue may lead to longer days for the entire group. If you’re staying on at MIPIM you also need to consider that your fatigue might negatively impact your time in Cannes. Packing for each day well and ensuring you have extra kit is critical – I think you certainly improve each year. I have a guide to packing, training, diet and other useful tips, so if anyone if interested please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How do you think the ride can encourage greater inclusivity and diversity?
I think it’s important to highlight that riders aren’t obliged to ride the entire distance, in fact, riders are strongly encouraged to only ride their nominated stages. This means you don’t need to be an overly experienced rider to take part and it also provides you with the time off the bike to network.
- What do you think having a more balanced (improved female to male ratio) peloton means for the peloton?
Last year we found that having female riders at the start of the peloton worked extremely well. They led at a more consistent pace which was beneficial to everyone. It removed the macho element and was fantastic for maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Just as for the men, there are a wide variety of skills and strengths amongst the women. Take my co-captain last year, Sam McClary, who is a very experienced and strong cyclist: she often shows up the male contingent and brings strong leadership to the peloton!
- As well as networking, how does the ride help with reverse networking and mentoring?
Reverse networking and mentoring is very important for me personally. As leaders in mobility, Vectos needs to understand the behaviours and mindsets of the younger generations. They are completely changing the way we live and move around and we need to keep abreast of this to futureproof our developments. We do a lot of research into the psychology of movement, active travel and innovative technologies including autonomous vehicles, and the generational divide is huge! Driving licenses are reducing and the sharing economy through phone apps is skyrocketing. Understanding the next generation is key to designing our roads appropriately.