Date: 14 October
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ SAVES MONEY
From our guest writer Paul Waye in Holland
You can introduce variety into your commute and save carbon emissions and more
As a regular running and cycling commuter since the early 90’s I have had to solve some interesting ‘problems’ as part of my daily work commute.
Some times failing, other times succeeding!
Today’s action is to mix up your commute – use a combination of public transport, walking, your bike and running to suit you and your day.
One thing is certain; with a bit of planning it can be an incredibly rewarding part of your day. Here are some tips and thoughts that might spark creative thoughts for your own running or cycling commute to work, or inspire you to try it if you haven’t already.
Tips for mixed commuting
- Turn it into training. Are you an avid runner or cyclist? If so, don’t think of the commute as junk miles. You can take it easy and treat a commute as a great recovery session, or use it for sustained hard effort sections (especially if you have a rucksack on – extra weight will build up the power!)
- Plan your week out and be smart about what you carry. For example, maybe you would prefer to take extra clothing and so on on a Monday and so have a much lighter load for the other days of the week.
- Leave the house and go the wrong way. You don’t need to go from A to B; I have often extended my ride and gone the long way to explore a little. Because I am usually doing this at the start or end of the day I have commuted during some incredible sunsets and sunrises.
- Leave a bike lock at work. They can be heavy, why carry it, just carry a really small lightweight one for emergencies.
- Don’t go to the first bus or train stop. Whether biking, walking or running, the simple act of keeping going to the next stop can help. Mix up the balance between public transport and your own efforts depending on your energy levels or schedule.
- Plog on the commute. Why not make an even greater impact by picking up trash on the commute? Learn more at the link. It doesn’t need to be a lot; maybe just pick up a single item. If you do just that on each journey it will still add up!
- No showers at work? Yep … the elephant in the room. But please don’t let that stop you. Maybe take the journey in easy and then go faster on the way home. Sometimes a sink is enough. Most people won’t complain because you are leading by example!
- Be prepared. I use a small bag inside my rucksack that has the things I need (puncture kit etc.); having it in a single small ’emergency bag’ means it is all together and I never forget
- Alternate. You don’t need to do the full works every day. Maybe cycle in, train home and then the next day, train in, cycle home. Mix it up!
- Try panniers. Some people don’t like to use a rucksack. A great alternative are waterproof panniers. The weight is off your shoulders and super easy to pack.
- If you really HAVE to use the car, why not park that last mile from work and jog the rest … you could park somewhere free and save the car park costs too!
Ultimately, the rules are yours to make!
Why is this a green action
There are lots of advantages to mixing up your commute to include some cycling and running, both environmental and for you personally:
- removing or reducing your car from the equation reduces fossil fuel use, pollutants, and your carbon footprint
- it also reduces particulates from fuel burning, tyres and brake dust, all key pollutants
- cycling and running have the lowest carbon footprints of any mode of transport
- if you plog too, you’ll be improving your local environment and community
- running and cycling stimulate the body in the morning, making you more effective at work
- you will improve your weight, fitness and health
- you will reduce your commuting costs (although you may eat more snack bars burning all that energy!)
- you can explore and experience your local parks and smaller roads
- if you can walk or cycle in green areas, you’ll be in touch with nature
Take action … mix up your commute and have fun trying it out.
You can read more and learn a lot from Paul’s blog and Instagram links below.