It’s a cliché that cycling is the new golf but for Matt Dixon of Purple Patch coaching it’s based in fact: business deals now get done from the saddle, not on the golf course. Dixon is a British exercise physiologist and former pro triathlete who now coaches athletes and serious amateurs, including a number of Silicon Valley’s top executives.
"Google, Yahoo, all the tech companies, they’ve now got executives who are mad keen cyclists. They love cycling’s metrics, all the measurements that are available, from heart rate to power; they love the ‘toys’, carbon road bikes are beautiful pieces of technical equipment; and they love the community angle, cyclists sticking together. They also love the fact cycling is so conducive to travel and exploration. The top tech guys in America love travelling to Europe and often take their bikes."
Dixon was speaking to BikeBiz at PressCamp in Utah. He had been flown in by Camelbak to give a lunchtime talk about hydration to the 30 assembled editors. Before his talk, Dixon shared his thoughts on ‘cycling is the new golf’ in the Camelbak condo.
"A lot of tech deals used to be done on the golf courses of Pebble Beach in California. They’re now done on the Old La Honda road, a road bike climb above the tech town of Cupertino, home of Apple," said Dixon.
Dixon coaches an impressive roster of Silicon Valley A-listers, including Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal; Sami Inkinen, co-founder of real estate search engine, Trulia; and Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital (he was made a KBE in last week’s Queen’s birthday honours list).
Inkinen was overall amateur champion at Hawaii 70.3. Ironman and age group world champion runner up at Ironman World Championships in Hawaii with a sub nine hour finish time.
The other co-founder of Trulia is Pete Flint, formerly on the management team of Lastminute.com. Flint lists one of his hobbies as road cycling.
As it’s now a cliché that ‘cycling is the new golf’ is it on the way out?
"No. It’s very much on the start of the ramp-up," said Dixon. "It’s at the bottom of the curve, there’s a lot more growth to come as more and more people discover the mindfulness and health benefits of cycling.
"The biggest negative is the perceived risk of cycling. We lose a lot of people from the sport because they find the roads are too dangerous for their liking. Cars dominate and it’s clear there needs to be a paradigm shift in culture to make streets safer for everybody."