Just as the "what to eat before leaving for work" topic came up, this one wound up in my feed:
- I did the maths. Approximately 252 working days a year (minus holidays), multiplied by 14 miles each day, equals ... 3,128 miles. This is the distance I commute, per year, from my house in Walthamstow to the Guardian offices in King's Cross.
I wouldn't trade my bike commute for the world – and especially not for the London underground. But the number does seem high, especially considering that I am a relatively slow cyclist (it usually takes me around 40-45 minutes to get to work).
That's a lot of time to spend pushing pedals along the same route, day in, day out. And while I take pride in my carefully crafted journey, which took weeks to perfect (a shortcut here, a nicer street there), I can't deny it any longer: I am experiencing commute fatigue and I need a change in my routine. Here are a few things I have tried or am thinking about trying in order to fight my growing boredom on the road:
1. Change your route. This seems simple enough, and has a few definite perks in my eyes. I fear that overfamiliarity with a route may lead me to become less careful over time, as I presume to know every light, every turn and every roundabout by heart. Tinkering with my circuit might help to keep me alert – and, let's face it, it's always fun getting lost in London's backstreets. The downside is that the new journey is likely to waste precious minutes, which could have been spent in bed.
2. Listen to your MP3 player. I'd hesitate to blast Rage Against the Machine at full volume through my earphones, as I'd like to hear cars coming, but I won't settle for music on low volume that I can't hear. I have therefore plumped for podcasts – talk shows, ebooks and stories are good enough to entertain me, played with some volume but not so loud as to put my life at risk. Most podcasts are also the perfect commuting length, lasting just under an hour. I would personally recommend Good Food, This American Life, Radio Lab and of course, the Guardian's bike podcast – but would love to hear about your favourites, too.
3. Become a bike-geek. Invest in a bike computer, and track your progress or set yourself goals. The cheapest ones on the market should still be able to crunch numbers and tell you your average, current and maximum speeds, and will also sport an odometer and a timer. I really enjoyed using mine – until it was stolen, along with my previous bike. In the same vein, you can download many iPhone applications, such as MapMyRide, which let you calculate elevation and show you street level views.
4. Contemplate. With such an emphasis placed on having to ride as fast as possible – while avoiding dangerous drivers and discourteous pedestrians – perhaps a deliberate attempt to slow down and enjoy the act of cycling could be in order, if only once or twice a week. Setting aside a few more minutes to arrive at work on time leaves you free to ride around town and contemplate the seasonal changes. Alternatively, count how many cats you can spot in one go, or take mental notes on new autumn fashion trends by people-watching. You'll be surprised at how many faces will quickly become familiar.
So, those are my tips to counter commuter fatigue. What are yours?
From The Guardian.
So what tips do you have?