Regeneration and next generation

Velocity interviews Pat Hayes on his cyclocross and development operations

Regeneration and next generation

Pat Hayes, chief executive of Barking and Dagenham Council-owned development company BeFirst, has talked to Velocity about the similarities between running the business and managing the women's cyclocross team Liv AWOL.

“You haven’t got enough money so you’re always trying to do things cheaply or beg people for more money,” he said. “Also you’ve got to deal with the personalities of riders and councillors. Some of them think they’re much better than they are, and others don’t perform to their abilities because they haven’t got self-confidence even though they’ve got the ability.

“Others used to be brilliant and aren’t any more, or feel they never had the reputation they deserved to have.”

V interviewed Hayes for a feature in the next issue, out this summer (email us to reserve a copy). He talked about the fast-growing popularity of cyclocross, the problems that success is creating for the sport’s capacity to nurture top talent, his experience as directeur sportif for a crop of exciting young women riders and pitting them against the world’s best. And he discussed how cycling informs his work in east London regeneration hotspot Barking and Dagenham.

“There’s a lot of people management, personal management, relationship management, organisational, planning, the art of the possible and the crossover between aspirational and daft. How far you push that,” Hayes said of the overlaps between his work in cycling and regeneration.

“All that is important in both areas. And how do you get the best out of people with the available kit that you’ve got and the available resources you’ve got? How do you empower people in two relatively neglected areas – running a cycle team, and anything to do with a council, they’re two Cinderella areas of the sporting and development world, really.”

Read more in V#4.