I have been at SAP for 15 years plus and have often got emails about the SAP cycling team, their rides, and post ride pictures. I always thought this looks fun but would always have some excuse to not get involved – not fit, no bike, or not enough time. I would give myself an excuse and these emails went to the delete bucket.
A few weeks ago, I learned about the Cycling for Veterans ride. I was at lunch with some colleagues, and came across Diane Nguyen who was promoting the ride at the cafeteria. My colleagues and I got sold on the benefits of the ride: a chance to train and get in shape, help a charity, and represent SAP. All of us made the small leap of faith and signed up for the 30-mile ride.
During our preparation, I realized that this shared goal was helping us make new friendships, help each other, and grow personally. This is what I call “karma magic”. During lunch, riders would head out on their bikes and by spending this time together make new contacts on personal and professional levels. It was encouraging to have veteran riders from the SAP cycling team provide guidance to the new and nervous riders. I saw colleagues fixing other riders’ bikes and even lending bikes to ones who don’t have them. It was good to see riders helping each other prepare for the big day.
Now let’s talk about the day of the ride. Arriving to Livermore parking lot, I felt a mix of nervousness and excitement. It was nice to meet fellow SAPsv colleagues volunteering at the event. They helped us register and set up water and snacks for us. Some of the volunteers have been there since 6 am and I know how hard it is to wake up this early on a weekend.
After the group picture, national anthem, the horns, a big group of us started up the first hill. The weather was cool and the scenery of the wineries was beautiful. This is when I saw “karma magic” again. Some of us got lost more than once and our fellow riders helped us get back on route. A couple of riders got unlucky with flat tires and the others stopped to help with their tools. At the finish line, it was a very good feeling to hear fellow riders and volunteers cheer as the newbies completed their first big ride.
In all, I had a great time, challenging myself with something new, connecting with others, and experiencing “karma magic”. I am glad to work at a company that supports a culture of volunteerism. I hope SAP will do more rides like this in the future because these events make SAP a fun place to work. Completing the ride was a small victory for all of us and now we are thirsty for more. We hope more will join us on the next ride.