After 10 weeks of intensive post-holiday training, the cyclists are ready.
They’re real estate professionals by day, but on March 3 they’ll wear different hats—helmets, actually— for a 1,500 km bike ride from London to Cannes, arriving just in time for the annual MIPIM property convention. This year, more than 80 cyclists will participate in an event that had just 17 riders when it first started in 2006. What’s more, the 6th annual Aedas Cycle to Cannes (C2C) tour, sponsored by leading architectural firm Aedas, is peddling towards a major milestone this year. The organisers anticipate that this year’s donations will take the total raised since 2006 beyond the £1-million mark.
“The best parts are the networking, and the feeling of doing something useful. It’s really empowering to be doing something so worthwhile,” said Christopher Coombe, a Real Estate Partner for Linklaters, who will be riding for the 6th time this year.
Among the charities that will benefit from the sponsored ride is one very close to Christopher’s heart. Tom’s Trust was established by the parents of a Linklaters colleague who was mugged and murdered just before the inaugural ride in 2006. Tom’s Trust provides educational opportunities to disadvantaged youth in an effort to tackle the root causes of gang culture and violent street crime. Other charities to benefit from the money raised by corporate and individual sponsorship include The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Article 25, Land Aid, and The Multiple System Atrophy Trust. All donations can be made via the C2C website.
Apart from the chance to give something back, Christopher’s reasons for participating in C2C are the same as his reasons for attending the MIPIM conference—fantastic opportunities to learn, network, and forge meaningful bonds with real estate contacts. “C2C is very professionally organised, so the event reflects well on everyone. MIPIM brings together a number of international players, and you meet many people in a short time and space. The cycle ride is an extension of that – it’s a different type of forum for making connections,” he said.
Getting to Cannes is certainly no easy feat. Teams must complete at least two of six stages each day, covering 1,500 km of tough terrain in less than a week. Their route takes them from Greenwich through to Calais, Reims, Dijon and Lyons before finishing in Cannes on March 8. “There’s nothing better than getting from A to B off your own bat. It’s a real achievement; it makes you feel good, especially when you know you’re travelling in an environmentally friendly way,” said Alexandra Houghton, an Assistant Director at Drivers Jonas Deloitte, taking part this year for the second time. She has a good point: a flight from London to Cannes creates carbon emissions of approximately 125 kg per passenger. Cycling the same distance creates effectively no carbon emissions, apart from those associated with the support vehicles.
“Cycling is about teamwork and the charities we ride for reflect that – in some way, they all contribute to greater social cohesion and community feeling,” said Houghton.
And on behalf of the entire MIPIM community, we offer the riders and their support personnel every encouragement as they set off! Good luck!
Main image: Diana Jarvis; © Cycle to Cannes