My first ride with Club Peloton
How to keep the peloton together, and other things I learnt on the Club Peloton Sevenoaks training ride
By Jessica Phillimore, Corporate Account Executive (Club Peloton & Coram Partnership)
A 5am alarm signalled the start of my day supporting the Club Peloton training ride through the Kent countryside. After recently joining Coram to manage the Club Peloton partnership, the day with the Club Peloton team was an excellent opportunity for me to understand the format of the rides, and the meticulous planning involved.
We all gathered at The Grasshopper Inn, near Oxted, for a briefing from Nick Hanmer, CEO of Club Peloton, and one of the Ride Captains of the group, before we set off. ‘Ride Captains’, just one of the cycling terms I’m getting used to hearing, are based within the group of riders (the peloton) and communicate with each other and the support crew to ensure that the peloton is safe and rolling. This is one of the amazing things about a Club Peloton event – the team consider and plan absolutely everything from the stops on route to a full support team including a mechanic and medic, to ensure that riders can concentrate on the cycling and networking.
I have to admit that I wasn’t in the saddle for the duration of the ride, but I was attempting to be a helpful navigator to Nick who was driving the lead car and showing the way for the cyclists. As we passed through picturesque villages and around open countryside, the riders did have to contend with some challenging hill climbs – thanks to (!) and carefully planned by Club Peloton’s Event Manager, Rhi. Along the route, it was fantastic to hear words of encouragement amongst the riders, particularly in the tricky sections of the route when the cyclists were navigating busy roads.
Many riders were using this training ride to prepare for Club Peloton’s upcoming 1,500km cycle to MIPIM, now a well-established ride for the property sector, which finishes at the international property conference in Cannes and raises vital funds for Club Peloton’s main charity beneficiary, Coram. Since 2012, Club Peloton riders have raised over £1 million for Coram – an incredible achievement. The Club Peloton and Coram partnership is unique in the way it brings people together, and through fundraising, aims to change the lives of vulnerable children and young people. During the training ride, it became clear to me why riders return to these challenging rides again and again; the chance to get outside and enjoy an activity they are all passionate about with likeminded people from their sector.
As a corporate fundraiser, you often find yourself supporting a partnership in a number of different ways – meeting supporters or participants, attending events and taking the time to understand how the partner organisation works. This might even mean getting involved with something completely different to your job. Stewardship is important as every partnership is different and I learnt a lot from the Club Peloton training ride - I could really see how the work behind the scenes from the Club Peloton team creates a fantastic experience for riders. Now, I'm looking ahead to supporting the cycle to MIPIM ride. Of course the early starts and long days will be challenging, but it will be amazing to be part of such a special event that brings so many people together to raise funds to support the most vulnerable children and young people in our communities. Who knows, next year you might spot me in the peloton…!