Necker Island cycle challenge

Richard Branson road cycling with mountain in the background
Image from the Virgin Strive Challenge
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 5 February 2020

Ever since I got back into cycling at the Cape Argus in South Africa a few years ago, I’ve been a regular in the saddle. Whether its training rides or epic Strive Challenge adventures, I love putting myself to the test on a bike. So, if I am challenged to a cycle race, I’m always going to say yes.

Richard Branson cycling with friends
Image from George Hincapie

This happened on Necker Island recently, and I was happy to jump on my bike to take on one of our guests, Frank Van Etten. As we raced around the island I had the upper hand and was delighted to reach the finish line first. But that wasn’t the end…

We agreed to a rematch – this time with some money on the line for good causes. I was confident of another victory. But as we prepared to start, Frank whispered to me that he had actually been a professional cyclist and had let me win the first race – conspiring with my friend Mike Abbott to set me up for a fall in the second race.

Well, we decided to double cross Mike. As we came up the hill we were neck and neck, before I pulled away to narrowly cross the finish line first.

Bike riders riding up a hill with people cheering them on
Image from

Of course, we did a third run where I urged Frank to go flat out against me – and yes, he won that one!

Cycling is such a fun sport and one of the best ways to keep active and healthy – for both your body and mind.

I also had a fun (but sweaty!) time racing Tour de France veteran, George Hincapie, on Necker recently.

Whether your furiously racing or casually riding, if you haven’t caught the cycling bug yet, I highly recommend giving it a go.