With the city’s roads set to freeze over any day now, you’re probably thinking about shoving your trusty bike back in the shed for the winter. And we can’t say we blame you. But what are the alternatives? There’s the world-famous London Underground, of course – the transport network that The Times called ‘a form of mild torture which no person would undergo if he could conveniently help it’ back in 1884. Not much has changed there, so the tube’s off the list. Instead, here are some of the more interesting alternatives for commuters:
1. Get a water-powered jetpack
Yes, that’s right. Jeremy Paxton, a British businessman, decided to invest £115,000 of his money to spice up the journey to work. The 40 miles from his riverside boathouse home in Marpledurham to his office in the Cotswolds is possible because the River Thames and waterways run directly between the two. The wearable devices are made by a German company called JetLev and presumably cost an absolute fortune.
2. Take a dip
Last year, Alex Smith and David Lomax of the design studio Y/N proposed the ‘LidoLine’ – a swimmable commuter lane along Regents canal. Their idea came runner-up in a competition organised by the Landscape Institute. The proposed LidoLine ran from Little Venice to the Limehouse Basin, but sadly, it won’t be getting made (for now).
3. Catch a flight
Want to save rent? Go live in the Mediterranean. That’s what media blogger Sam Cookney did, arguing that lower rent and council tax meant it made economical sense for him to commute to his Liverpool Street office from – wait for it – Barcelona. Think about it – even Ryanair’s more comfortable than the Northern line in rush hour.
4. Snap up a gyroscopic wheel for one
The Yamaha Wheel Rider is sort of like a human version of a hamster ball, albeit one with cutting-edge design and an sweet sci-fi name. Designed by the Japanese car firm, this concept vehicle is steered by an on-board joystick and stays upright thanks to gyroscopic sensors. You can look forward to seeing one of these neat bike alternatives tearing through red lights in the next century or so.
5. Get back on the horse
Police often ride around on horseback and there are even lights by Hyde Park specifically for saddled-up traffic. But equine travel needn’t be the preserve of the boys in blue. Londoner Dan Tipple – who stables his horse at Mudchute City Farm in east London – regularly travels through the city in a horse and carriage. He even drops off his daughter in the centre for a shopping trip, or at school. As commuter solutions go, it’s neigh bad. Peter Yeung
Want to know more about commuting in London? Check out how to calculate the perfect postcode for a quick commute here.