Cycling is a growing sport across Europe and in the USA. In the UK, 3.25m bikes were sold in 2021 and the popularity of cycling is growing as a sport as well as a means of transport. Everywhere you go from London to the smallest of country lanes, cyclists are now a familiar part of the landscape – from those in alarming looking lycra with goggles and helmets in cerise, to those wearing overcoats and wellies and others with baskets on their handle bars. What defines them all is the look of concentration and wellbeing as they whizz along propelled by gravity downhill and on the way up the hill, by furious pedalling.
TEAM BERTHON ON THE LONDON TO BRIGHTON RIDE
Berthon across all 5 offices is a business full of cyclists. In the UK operation there is a Berthon ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme that actively encourages us to leave our car keys at home and to rely on 2 wheels not 4. For those living further from our Lymington base, bikes are slung in the back of the car for a cycle ride at lunch time which clears the head and sharpens the mind for the rest of the day. With His Majesty’s Customs and Excise approving and supporting initiatives like this – what’s not to like?
Nowhere is more cycling centric than the Berthon Dockmasters Office where Dockmasters arrive on 2 wheels, and the clack clack of their cycle shoes are heard on the way to the changing rooms, and later, cycling gear shed, they emerge in their familiar Berthon blue and white livery plus deck shoes!
In 2021, one of their number, Luke Machin, signed up for the Tour 21 – a fantastic event organised to raise money for Cure Leukaemia. This event shadows the Tour de France, and Luke’s volunteering led to the offer to ride all 21 stages of the Tour de France. A massive challenge and very gruelling and a long way from a bicycle to the shops with a basket and a bell! This event has the cyclists riding 14 hours a day for 100 plus miles – everyday. Aside from the discomfort and exhaustion come the opportunities to climb mountains with beautiful scenery, ride through vineyards and see countless villages and towns as well as eating the best pastries in the world, which of course can only be found in France. Best of all was the camaraderie of riding with strangers who soon became lifelong friends and having the opportunity to ride the world’s most iconic race route whilst raising serious amounts of money for charity.
The whole of Berthon was rooting for Luke. Sadly a broken knee cap saw his Tour de France career cut short but his enthusiasm for bike riding has dimmed not a jot. His colleague Phil Glasgow is also cycling mad, qualifying for the UCI Gran-Fondo World Championships in his age group (his GB Jersey is a treasured possession and remains safely at home). He also has done his bit for charity, completing 2 events for Children in Need on the Velodrome, riding for 24 hours in team relays.
So why do we do it? Of course, there is the obvious fact that it is an efficient and delightfully inexpensive way of getting around. It’s good for the environment and good for the rider whose health is massively affected to the good by the exercise. It’s a versatile sport, but most of all – it’s great fun. For those of a competitive nature there are a legion of events, rallies, races and stuff to do where you pit your skill and fitness against your fellow riders. And then there is the camaraderie… whether you are cycling to and from the shops or competing at high level, there is that sense of oneness with the other cyclists you come across.
Lifelong friendships are forged on the back of a bicycle and many cyclists ride in groups which bring with them trust and a sense of community. The guys in the Dockmasters’ Office find that being on a bike with others breaks down barriers and the opening gambit of conversation about your bike and kit very soon leads onto much more. Cyclists look out for each other whenever they meet up in a sort of 2 wheel international self-help pact.
Bikepacking is another great thing that you need a bicycle to do well. The Dockmasters team have visited Sierra Nevada in Spain, Valencia and Bordeaux. It is a great opportunity to see the culture and landscapes internationally at a cyclists’ pace rather than rushing past in a car.
Of course our office in Mallorca sees more than its fair share of cyclists and every year the island welcomes elite cycling teams from all over the world who visit to train in its wonderful Mediterranean climate and to scale the steep mountain sides in its interior.
TEAM BERTHON ON THE LONDON TO BRIGHTON RIDE
And then there are the gadgets… Cycle computer for navigation – and this technology is improving all the time, not only does it provide the obvious to helping you to get to your end point, it enables you to see and plan for what is coming up in terms of inclines, traffic and the rest. For the keen cyclist it is also important to have onboard data to track fitness – they monitor watts, heart rate and more. However, the gurus in the Dock Office say that by far the most important of all the kit is having a really comfortable pair of shorts!
Cycling enthusiasts take all of this very seriously and as they are the engine of their bike, monitoring their performance is a key part of the process. A good understanding of physiology drives fitness, and this has massive benefits in terms of wellbeing outside riding a bicycle and none of this can be bad.
So the next time you see a cyclist roaring into Berthon (you may spot a tunic with Berthon lettering on it in an attractive shade of pink) wait a few minutes and you will see a Dockmaster appear from his cocoon of lycra ready to help you with all things yachting at Berthon.
WITH OUR VERY OWN MOTOR YACHT BROKER ‘HUGH RAYNER’