Tour de Capital

How long does it take Capital Group associates to cycle more than 3,500 miles?

Just one day, when they all work together.

Recently, 140 CG associates from 12 CG offices got on their bikes and together cycled a combined 3,549 miles (5,712 km). That’s far enough to embark on a truly grand tour of Europe, cross the U.S., or—with a bit of imagination—travel from Singapore to Tokyo.

Just what is the Tour de Capital?

The Tour de Capital first ran last year to mark the London Lord Mayor’s City Giving Day, from which a variety of charities benefit. Sixty associates across Europe cycled a total of 1,830 miles (2,495 km). In addition, they raised about £3,164 (about US$4,000). In the report of that story, the call went out to all offices to participate this year.

As reported by Luxenbourg business development associate Constanze Smits, “The Tour de Capital is a great event to connect Capital associates and demonstrate that team spirit goes beyond defined teams.”

Here’s how it works: Each team of up to six cyclists, led by a captain, cycles as far as possible in 24 hours (midnight to midnight, wherever they are). The cycling can be anywhere and of any type—before work, at the gym, after work, with colleagues or friends. Any distance counts if it’s on two wheels.

London distribution and production manager Allen Knight, who originally proposed the idea for the Tour, explains the thinking behind the event: “I wanted to showcase how getting involved in a team and taking even a few small steps really can deliver some big numbers or improvements, be that in distance or in contributions to charity.”

The evolution of the tour

This year, the Tour de Capital truly went global, with associates from eight offices around the world joining in.

Many cycled together in the gym, while others went outdoors, be it on their commute to work, alongside Lake Genève or as a peloton along California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

On the day itself, the Singapore Flyers set an early record that seemingly couldn’t be beat—263 miles (424 km). But then came along Irvine’s Chain Gang, who managed a massive 555 miles (839 km), including some miles ridden on the preceding weekend*! Chain Gang team captain Amish Patel, a technology engineering manager, was particularly impressed by the team’s performance outside the office: “I’ve worked with these people for years without realizing how gifted they are as athletes. Cycling is the new golf!”

An added benefit

Getting to know associates from different offices and business lines is one of the most pleasant and important aspects of the Tour de Capital. Constanze mustered a cross-functional team from across Europe: “Keeping the team together and motivated during the day was great fun. Everyone was extremely supportive, even those who couldn’t bike due to injuries or heavy travel schedules.

“Our team combined members of several departments that don’t usually have that much interaction on a day-to-day basis,” Constanze continues. “It brought us closer—from being a bunch of representatives of several departments at Capital to colleagues of the Luxenbourg office.”

Pushing the pedals for philanthropy

Associates could take part just for the fun and fitness or to raise money or awareness for their team’s chosen charity. Intermediary presentation services manager Sara Fairfoot from Los Angeles’ Spoke and Mirrors team notes, “It’s so wonderful to enjoy spending time with your colleagues and do good at the same time!”

Marketing manager Phil Gibbs from London’s Team Publishing set out a very personal target at the start of the day: “I will ride for Parkinson’s UK and attempt to tick off 87 km (54 miles) today as a nod to my Nan’s 87th birthday this week. Given it’s a work day, it’s a tricky challenge involving four rides as commutes, on my lunch break and during the evening in the dark once the kids are in bed.” By the end of the day, Phil had cycled 94km (58 miles)!

Next year...

After last year’s cycle, Allen set what seemed like an ambitious target for this year: cycling 3,700 km (2,299 miles) among all the offices. In the end, associates cycled far enough to join all the offices and had more than enough miles to make it back to London again.

In terms of a goal for next year, Allen’s focused on getting more people involved: “Next year’s target is 300 associates—the rest will take care of itself!”

Get involved

“It was such a great feeling to have Asia and the U.S. cycling with us this year,” says senior contributions associate Maeve Murray-Smith, who’d like the Tour de Capital to become a multi-day event, like the great cycling tours themselves. “We want to build on what we’ve accomplished, so for next year, we’re considering a three-day event, including a weekend, to give as many associates as possible the opportunity to get involved, and really rack up those miles!”