Thanks to everyone who participated in the first ever Ciena Partner Bike Ride! So far, we’ve collectively raised £3,058 (and counting) for KidsOut, which creates positive experiences and exciting memories for disadvantaged kids.

On the day, riders from Ciena, BT Colt, Telindus and many other strategic Ciena partners took to the Surrey roads in three capability defined categories, completing either an 85k or 125k route. Everybody started and finished in Kingston, and both routes also featured the beautiful, but challenging, climb up Box Hill.

Even top cyclists need support

After the ride, we heard from Monika Sattler, a seasoned cyclist who last year completed “Haute Route Triple Crown” – a 2,150km marathon cycling route across the Europe’s highest mountain pass roads in the Pyrenees, Alps & Dolomites. Monika’s speech really embodied what we were trying to achieve with the Partner Bike Ride in terms of building strong, mutually supportive relationships with our partners.

Monika talked about how a solid support network is essential for achieving seemingly unattainable goals. She explained how relationships had sustained her through the 21-day ride. When her mind and body were exhausted by day 12, she got crucial support and encouragement from riding buddies, her masseuse, and even the man who handed out free coffee on the top of each mountain. While her sponsors got her to the event in the first place, she needed all that extra support to sustain her through to the ultimate finish line.

At our bike ride, it was all a little less intense, but we still needed support from the maintenance team, who fixed a broken chain and otherwise kept bikes and our riders on the road. We also had team members providing food and water along the way to ensure everyone was fed and hydrated, and able to finish the ride in good health.

Supporting each other in partnership

But whether you’re riding a major international race, attending the Ciena Partner Bike Ride or delivering a complex project, the theory is basically the same. None of us can truly succeed in a vacuum, and we’re not just talking about athletes either. In business terms, we also need that support network to thrive, and that’s exactly what Ciena’s partnering strategy is centered around.

So, going forward, we will be looking for even more new and innovative ways to build stronger relationships with our partner community. This way, we’ll be able to work even more closely together in the future, create even more new joint business models and commercial opportunities, and evolve our portfolios together to deliver the next-generation of adaptive network innovations.

Is cycling the new golf?

I overheard one of colleagues at the Partner Bike Ride said that cycling events are taking over from golf as a forum where new partnering and business ideas can be shared. Based on our experience of organising this event, we’ve definitely found that to be true. So much so, in fact, that we’re now looking forward to planning the second Partner Bike Ride – perhaps in Germany next time?

In the meantime, thanks to all of the riders and support teams who participated in the Partner Bike Ride to make it such fun, and such a success. We look forward to future events, and hope you’ll want to get involved. In the meantime, let’s keep working together to build our success, and to create the network solutions of tomorrow.