Continuing our series of interviews with the riders of this year's Knight Frank Cycle to MIPIM, we meet James Goldsmith, Head of Leasing at AXA IM Real Assets, who's returning for his second year...
What’s your job title / what do you do?
Head of Leasing, AXA IM Real Assets. Which for now means the marketing, leasing and activation of our 1.35m sq ft 22 Bishopsgate development, all with the help of a great team of course.
Tell us a bit about your involvement with Cycle to MIPIM
Last year was my first Cycle to MIPIM, and I was more than a little impressed by everything about it. And being honest, probably underestimated what it would take, even with the experience of a couple of Haute Route multi-day race events under my belt, and having converted to the road after too many years getting hurt on a mountain bike!
In what ways is your company involved? Are they supportive of the challenge?
22 Bishopsgate is a team sponsor. This is in recognition of the huge cycle park that we’re putting in the building, all designed with that help of Justin Sires and his Five at Heart team. Our measure of success for the bike park is that it will be full during the day and empty at night – we want every bike, of all types (not just carbon racers and fixies), to be used and not just stored.
How do you value the networking and/or business benefits you get from the ride?
What struck me last year was the ethic of the ride, which arrived at MIPIM as a fully-formed community. Six long days on a bike, with dark early morning starts, cycling in all conditions: you go through a lot of emotions, which are shared with everyone else. And that builds a special sort of relationship.
What has drawn you back this year?
This is only my second time but there’s hopefully more to come. There were several reasons for returning this year. Don’t underestimate the chance to turn off your phone, guilt-free, for six days. It’s almost spiritual!
Name three things that no one ever tells you about Cycle to MIPIM:
The weather can be brutal (last year, in the Provence Alps, I have never been so cold in my life); the peloton rolls out very early and won’t wait for anyone (last year I had to play catch-up more than once); and how several hours into a ride, you find yourself baring your soul to someone you’ve never met before.
What does fundraising for Cycle to MIPIM’s charities mean to you?
This year, especially, a lot. Shortly after last year’s event, my wife Claire was hit by a car whilst on a training ride. She has suffered serious and permanent brain damage that for now requires 24-hour care. Her life was about children, and releasing their potential. Club Peloton’s primary charities are about children too.
What has been the most effective way to boost your fundraising efforts?
Very kindly, our 22 Bishopsgate agents, JLL and CBRE, took advantage of the corporate sponsorship package. I’m also working up the idea of a personal fundraising event with an industry legend; let’s see.
How do you plan to celebrate once you’ve reached Cannes?
I don’t know. At some point, looking out towards a glittering Mediterranean and reflecting upon how lucky we’ve been – assuming we get there of course!
And lastly, here's the quick fire round:
- Who are your riding buddies? A few from last year, too many to name. And this year I’m rooming with Toby Chapman from JLL. Toby was star performer on our Desert RICS Marathon des Sables team, a couple of years ago. He can pedal a bit too.
- What’s your favourite post-ride treat? Always a tough choice between a mug of tea, a pint and a protein shake. Actually, thinking about it, a massage wins hands down (sorry!).
- What’s your top piece of cycling kit/gadget? I’m hopelessly disorganised and hence struggling on the early starts. A few years ago someone gave me a small ‘bits and pieces’ pouch; it fits every essential and slips neatly into my back pocket without my having to think about anything, other than to remember it, of course.