David Morley is a self-confessed sports nut. A slender and energetic six-footer, Allen & Overy’s 55-year-old senior partner wears a practically year-round tan that betrays the considerable time he spends on his bicycle.
His life on two wheels actually started out two decades ago on a motorbike. But a series of crashes—including one particularly close call in the mountains of the Massif Central in France, where he “roughed [himself] up quite badly”—made him ditch the motorbike for a custom-made titanium racer by Seven Cycles, a boutique bicycle manufacturer in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Morley now rides every weekend “without fail.” He has cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats—a two-week, 900-mile trip between the United Kingdom’s southwest and northeast extremities, known by cyclists as ‘LEJOG’—and regularly competes in racing events throughout the country. Morley has also completed the L’Étape du Tour, a grueling event that allows amateur cyclists to race the same route as a Tour de France stage, twice.
Eleven years ago, Morley started running annual cycling trips with groups of up to 20 of the firm’s partners. He has taken them to the Swiss Alps; to Garrotxa, the volcanic district of Catalonia, northern Spain; and along the entire length of the south island of New Zealand. When Morley was elected to senior partner three years ago, however, time constraints forced him to pass the tour’s reins to Simon Roberts, a more junior partner in the firm’s banking group and an expert cyclist.
“It was the biggest mistake of my career,” Morley jokes. “[Roberts] is awesomely quick and has made the route harder and harder each year.”