Two weeks ago our 2023 Ride to Provide finished with 34 riders riding 800kms from Bangkok to one of our homes in the Chanthaburi province. It was the first January ride since 2020, and to say there was a lot of eager riders would be an understatement. The ride delivered many incredible highlights. It built new friendships, reunited old mates, provided valuable support for the kids we care for, and delivered a truck load of unforgettable memories.
As always though, I learn a lot from the back of a bike seat and leading a group of 34 riders over an eight day journey, some who are accomplished riders, and some who are not. This year’s ride reinforced for me that trust trumps competence and the power of choosing not to sit life out anymore.
Let me first share with you why I believe trust trumps competence.
The confidence and competence that is built from the back of the bike seat ultimately leads to increased trust within the individual riders and the group. As the riders, who days before have never met each other, now find themselves riding wheel to wheel benefiting from the drafting of the front riders, the safety of the entire group is determined by the level of communication and trust. If the front riders don’t communicate to those riding behind the hazards on the road ahead such as obstacles and potholes, there is a very real and inherent danger that a rider will fall and take down those around them. It is at this point that trust becomes more important than competence.
If there is a level of inherent trust that exists within the group, if that is the overwhelming bond that holds the team together then competence can be built within. If there is a culture of supporting and caring for another, that is more important than technical competence or, in our case, riding ability.
Each of our riders regardless of their riding skill, experience, or ability is elevated by the trust that is quickly built within the group. Their confidence and competence grows exponentially knowing they can trust those they are riding alongside.
The lesson of building trust on the road riding bikes is but a metaphor for building trust within our tribes be that at work with colleagues, in clients we work with or pursue, or personal relationships. When consistency is there, when you continue to show up for someone, trust is built. Be present, be consistent, be reliable and you will build strong teams and a culture that survives the greatest challenges.
Tracey was riding with us for the first time and, as a first time rider, there was all the anxiety and apprehension and that only dissipates after spending time on the bike. After four days of riding, Trace had been in the van for a number of legs and prior to arriving into Thailand you might consider that as disappointing or, in some way, an indication that the job hasn’t been completely done. But on the night of the fourth day, and prior to our day off the bike, I spoke with Trace about her journey up to that point.
Trace had ridden 70kms that day, it wasn’t the entire day, but for her it was well beyond the furthest she had ever ridden before. She replied that she had a number of learnings from that day on the bike and I asked if she would share the biggest one with me. She explained that her boys were in Canada skiing whilst she was here in Thailand and normally on a ski trip Trace has been happy to sit it out and watch.
However, on the back of her riding in Thailand, and the new found confidence she had gained from doing what she and probably others thought was beyond her, she had decided that she wasn’t going to sit life out anymore. She called her boys to tell them of what she had done. She told them of what it meant to her and the place that she had arrived at and from now on she would be on the ski fields as well. She wasn’t going to sit in the cafe and dutifully wait for her boys, she was going to be on the snow with them. No more sitting on the sidelines. The response from the boys was to say how proud they were of her.
You would think our rides are for the kids we support and in part that is true. But speak to any of our riders and they will tell you they take more from the ride than they give. Ask Tracey’s boys what it means to have their mum on the ski fields with them!