CYCLING is the new golf, according to an Oxford-based investor.

David Mott of investment firm Oxford Capital has launched Tour de Tech, a free-wheeling networking group where members do business while zooming around the county on racing bikes.

Mr Mott, a keen cyclist, has recruited 120 members and is aiming for 1,000.

Among those saddling-up for fortnightly rides are chief executives of tech start-ups, investors and bankers.

Others talking shop at 25km-an-hour are inventors, scientists, professors, lawyers and accountants.

Mr Mott, who is managing partner at the Cumnor Hill-based firm which invests in young tech and science-led companies, said: “Traditionally, the golf course has been where business deals are discussed, because you have lots of short conversations between shots.

“But there are many parallels between entrepreneurship and cycling and the kit, such as carbon fibre frames, disc wheels and aerodynamic handlebars, appeals to tech entrepreneurs.”

There have been four one-and-a-half-hours sessions so far.

Tour de Tech riders are inspired by the three-week long Tour de France race, won by British champion Chris Froome last weekend.

And they are looking forward to the Tour of Britain, which passes through Oxfordshire on September 9.

Racing cyclists ride in a bunch known as a peloton, with everyone taking a turn at the front while others shelter in their slipstream.

This works well for networking, Mr Mott explained.

He said: “The speed at which we are cycling means you are not completely out of breath, so can chat.

“Because it shuffles around, you end up having lots of short conversations which is a great way to get to know people.”

And there are more parallels with running a fledgling firm, according to Mr Mott.

He pointed out “When you climb on a bike, it’s often then that you see people’s true character, because it’s a test of grit and determination and competitive instinct.”

Explaining the motive behind launching the Tour de Tech, he added: “I was thinking ‘How can I fit in more midweek training and combine it with doing business with people I enjoy hanging out with?’”

He added: “I am not making money out of this, there is no profit motive, it’s just about let’s get some interesting people together and see what happens.

“Can we deepen ties and relationships by connecting people through three-minute conversations with investors or a patent attorney?

“This is my way of taking my turn at the front for the Oxford tech community.”

To find out more about Tour de Tech, see