Tips on how to survive run/bike commuting during Tube strike

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Many Londoners will be grumpy today (if they make it into the office at all) due to the Tube strike.  I too will be super-inconvenienced as 13+ miles is along way to walk or run before a full days work but I am hoping to make the most of it by cycling part of the way.

Here are a few tips on how you can make the journey in a little less painful and get some exercise too.  They will also work on the 1st Thursday of every month, which is #RunToWorkDay.

1. Travel light
OK, this might be a little late to bring up now, but hopefully you brought in a change of clothes, towel, baby wipes, beauty products, etc. into work yesterday.  You are not going to want to be schlepping extra weight around today, especially if you decided to run or cycle.  Leave the laptop at home too and transfer important files on a flash drive.  Treat yourself to a nice lunch out instead of bringing it with you or pick something up near work.

2. Have the right kit- most importantly a running pack
I should have been a part-time model
I now love run commuting because it is comfortable. I find most running packs are for men (who typically have broader shoulders and smaller boobs) so I was looking for a women-specific bag that would hold my lunch, change of clothes, iPad, water bottle, and my purse (which is American for handbag).

Osprey were kind enough to send me their Tempest 20 to try out. The 20L fits everything I asked for (on days when I am not running) and has several different chest, shoulder, and waist straps you can use to easily customize the fit while you are on the go.  There are 2 bottle holders, plus a space for a water hydration pouch if you were out on trails.  The bag has a little zipped pocket at the top for things you need easy access to (Oyster card, keys, sunglasses, phone).  It also has a few things for cyclists, such as reflective paneling, a LidLock helmet attachment, and bike light attachment point.

The bag fits my frame snuggly and doesn't rock back and forth when I run.  The straps are really comfortable and don't doesn't chafe my neck or shoulders like my other rucksacks.  It has a frame built into it so it will stand upright (but then also falls over when I set it on the ground).  The color works for me without being too flashy.

Other kit you will need:
- Breathable top as the pack will make your back sweaty
- Comfortable shoes for walking and/or running your route
- Sunglasses (just in case summer isn't over yet)
- A way to monitor how far and fast you are going (Google Fit, Garmin, Strava apps, etc) and then connect to Bounts for your free rewards for being active (my referral code is: millington1695. Use it and we both get 20 points!)
- If you have followed Tip 1 and are travelling light, you might want to have an ID bracelet, such as Road ID band, in case you are involved in an accident.

3. Carry change and an Oyster card
Seems simple enough but you might need a bottle of water along the way or see a bus that has room for one more. Have a pound coin easily accessible as well as a topped-up Oyster card.  Traffic will be nuts and Uber will overcharge, so don't rely on automobiles.  Keep an eye out for Overground and TfL Rail stations along the way if you start to tire, as they will be running.

4. Charge your phone the night before
This is for two reasons.  One, you might need to rely on your mapping app to help you navigate the streets of London if you get lost.  Two, you are in London!  You will be passing iconic landmarks that many people int he world only dream about visiting.  And you can walk by it on a daily basis.  Take advantage of this opportunity to be a tourist in your own town and enjoy your surroundings.  Flood Instagram with all of the glory that is Londontown. (You might even enjoy the trip in).

RunGo app screenshot
5.  Download RunGo app*
RunGo allows you to pre-program a route and will give you verbal directions along the way. You won't have to stop and look at your screen at every big junction to figure out which way is correct as long as you can hear the narration.  It also logs your runs (time, distance, pace and calories).  The best thing about RunGo is that you can search other user's routes from all over the world  (so if you travel with your running shoes, you are really going to love this app).  Finally, it works without mobile phone service or data, which will help preserve your phone battery.

What other suggestions do you have for a person new to commuting by foot or wheel?  How did you travel into work today?

*Yes, this is a shameless plug as I am a RunGo app ambassador.

Thanks to Osprey, who kindly sent me the Tempest 20 to review.  All opinions are honest and my own.  If you are looking for a run commuter bag, Osprey have the coolest app- Pack Sizer. Simply you take a photo of yourself, enter some body measurements and it will find the perfect bag to fit you without having to try on a million in the store.

4 comments:

  1. Great tips, Mollie. I love the sound of that app, will certainly be investigating.

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  2. Yes, it is really handy Claire! Especially if you travel a lot. There are already over 4,000 routes worldwide listed.

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  3. Great article Molly. I hadn't heard of Bount - unfortunately they don't support Suunto Movescount which I use, but I've emailed them to see if they plan to add support.

    Cheers!

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    1. Great idea Guy. They do support Strava so if you can get your data on there, that would help. Let me know what they say.

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