The daily commute or how to keep yourself happy.

Image courtesy of  Donjuanna on Flickr

I have discussed my daily commute before. As it is bloody cold, wet and dark at present, I have ceased my cycling for the moment and am relying on the combination of walking, train and tube again. Every morning when I stand waiting for my train, I marvel at the numbers of commuters cramming every 10 minutes into the train to London. These trains are not little 2 wagon affairs, now, they are appropriately 300 meters long and apparently have about 1000 – 2000 commuters  on it. As you can imagine, finding a seat can be very difficult, especially when the trains are late and everybody is trying to cram into the last standing space to be at work on time.

So, depending on the amount of space I have, I have devised an entertainment strategy to get through these mind numbingly boring 30 minutes in the morning (and evening)

What you need:

  • One Guardian (The Independent has become unreadable for all its ads and lack of content. It’s soon going to be extinct anyway)
  • One FM-radio enabled media player (or phone, in my case)
  • One media player containing podcasts and music
  • One book (preferably small paperback)

When the train pulls in, you quickly have to decide what will be the best way to entertain yourself, depending on the amount of passengers waiting with you and the amount of passengers already on the train.

A rough guideline would be:

  • Easy standing space (sharing the dedicated standing space in the middle of the carriage with maximum 4 middlesized men {women always find a seat. don’t ask me why. It’s a cosmic mystery}):  Fully extended Guardian plus some wake up tunes from the Ipod)
  • Moderate standing space (ca 6 men sharing): G2 and Music
  • Awkward standing Space: (ca 8 men sharing): Paperback and Music. This necessitates a paperback that can be held and used with only one hand.
  • Crammed standing space: (8+ men, no space to move whatsoever): Either Mediaplayer with a long podcast (30 minutes+  so you don’t have to touch the Ipod dial) or Radio 4’s “Today” show on FM Radio)

If you follow these easy guidelines, you too can have an entertaining and educational commute.

Just don’t forget to brush your teeth and use a bit of deodorant. For the rest of us.

The Dahon D7. An interim review after 2 months of commuting.

It’s now more than 2 months that I commute 1 km with the Dahon D7 from home to the train station and on arrival in London another 6 km to work (and return). It’s been easier than I thought: my fellow passengers on those busy commuter trains seem to be ok with me and the folded Dahon. I always make sure to enter the train last, after the initial rush, just to avoid any irate travellers with chain oil on their trousers/skirts. The actual bike ride continues to be a joy, and the bike seems to be taking it well.

Apart from a slight reduction in break power due to a natural decline of the break pads everything is working spiffingly. A change of shirts and a wash on arrival at work reduces any complaints of body odour (I am still not fit enough to arrive at work semi-drenched) and so far the weather has been kind. 

I am sure there will be rain drenched morning where I will be refusing to take the bike, but so far there was no reason not to take the bike in the morning. Even my two favourite local Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant have been kind enough to just accept me wih bike and let me place the folded Dahon behind my seat.

I have gained an considerable amount of shape to certain regions of my physique and the best girlfriend ever has been very complimentary about the overall effects. 

Would I recommend it? Heck yes. Those daily kilometers on the bike don’t only increase my fitness, but they also add a considerable amount of fun to my commute, reduce my carbon foot print, keep my budget healthy and shrink my weight and bloodpressure. 

What’s not to like?

Blogging and Commuting

I have now been a blogger for some time. In the past I managed about three to four posts per week, as my working hours were pretty much nine to five, with a commute home that would literally take 4 minutes to home. That would give me plenty of time to contemplate the pressing issues of the day. Or just a zip around teh intarwebs to find something blogworthy.

Since I have joined the ca 6 million daily commuters travelling into London every morning and leaving the moloch in the evening, blogging has become more difficult. This has two main reasons:

1: Time constraints. I now get up at 06:15 and return from work ca 19:30. This has reduced the time that was available for myself by 4 hours: two in the morning, two in the evening. As I have to stand in the train, blogging during the commute is not really feasible, and blogging on the bike is probably quite dangerous and certainly not legal. It would also be immensely antisocial and certainly not very nice if I would use the remaining hours prior to bedtime to blog my heart out and in turn ignore my wonderful partner,  who really deserves every minute of my waking hours.

2. Knackeredness.  After thirteen hours away from home, the sofa becomes a very tempting place to plant my bottom on. There is also The Guardian to read, Radio4 to listen to and the odd (but fortunately rare) TV-show to watch. And of course chat to my darling partner, so the Macbook and the various other digital household items have become much less a focus in my life.

I ask my regular readership: How do YOU battle post commuting fatigue and keep your shiny blog updated and your readership happy? Do you ignore your significant other? Blog at work? had a divorce?

Let me know. And the others.