"How are your tires?"
It might be one of the oddest pickup lines ever. But it launched a love match 21 years ago that also led to an entrepreneurial partnership balanced on two wheels.
Brian Walton, an Olympic silver medalist in cycling, uttered those heart-melting words to Dana Gyory, holder of multiple Master's World Championship cycling titles, the day after she bought spare tires from his friend for a tournament outside Philadelphia.
Now after nearly 18 years of marriage and three children, the cycling couple are in business together, peddling pedaling as a means not only of physical fitness but also of corporate health.
"Corporate leaders recognize there is a direct correlation between the success on the bike and success in the boardroom," Walton said. "Each takes commitment, planning, training — and you have to put in the work to get results."
The couple formed Walton Endurance Inc. in 2012 at their suburban Philadelphia home to offer bicycle-based professional training services to individual athletes. Now, they are pivoting to a more corporate focus, riding on promising trends — including, they say, that cycling has replaced golf as the outdoor activity of choice for C-suite dwellers. The company emphasizes teamwork, goal-setting, motivation, employee engagement and charitable fund-raising.
A fitness-oriented rallying strategy is a worthy corporate pursuit, said Victor Tringali, a former champion bodybuilder who is now executive director of a program at Drexel University promoting healthier choices among students, faculty and staff.
"Team goal-setting has been shown to be an effective team-building tool for influencing unity," he said. "If group physical activities are set as collective goals, they may offer improved … group cohesiveness."