Small changes to your daily commute such as walking to work, running to work or cycling to work, eventually add up to huge results in terms of your carbon footprint and health.
Eliminating Unnecessary Car Travel
Kicking the convenient car habit
I can hear the disgruntled sigh… and I know that jumping in the car and nipping to the shop for bread or milk is all too easy, especially when it’s cold outside and your car has heated seats. But, if we were all to replace those unnecessary trips, such as the school run, daily commute, workout at the gym and other localized errands, by walking, running or cycling, we could each reduce our annual carbon footprint by up to 650 kilos*.
*Based on 30 unnecessary car miles per week.
Office Logistics and the Shower
It's easier than you'd imagine!
Leaving the car at home and walking to work, running to work or cycling to work may sound like a logistical palaver, but where there’s a will there’s a way. Take your office wear in a backpack or leave a supply of work clothes at your desk. Take advantage of your work’s shower to freshen up on arrival, or push for a shower to be put in at your place of work.
Alternatively, is there a gym or pool close to your office? Walk, run or cycle to the gym, shower there and be in at the office for 9am. Or if you’ve no shower access, take public transport to work, and walk, run or cycle home. I used to cycle 25km to work, which was conveniently situated by the beach, and I would take a dip in the sea before putting on my office attire ...where there's a will, there's a way!
Five Invaluable Hacks
The Secret is in the Prep
- Fold your work shirt round a magazine to keep it crease free in your backpack when running or cycling to work.
- Invest in a portable shower to wash off at the beach, the office, or roadside before walking to work.
- Pack / leave at work a light weight wash kit such as what you’d travel with on a plane (50ml bottles) as well as a lightweight quick drying towel.
- Few things are as irritating as a backpack that bounces around while you are running to work and that causes painful rubbing. A normal backpack just won’t do, so invest in a decent pack that’s designed for running.
- Prepare your backpack, clothing, and route the night before.
You are one ride away from a good mood.Sarah Bentley, British Cyclist
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Like a well intentioned New Year's Resolution, it all sounds very good, but it's staying motivated that's key to minimising your annual carbon impact. So, keep it positive, invite friends, family members or work colleagues to join you on your challenge of running or cycling to work. Why not set up a league table in the office, a fining system or forfeit rule for those that use the car – the money raised could even go to charity or a work's evening out.
Alternatively, share your route on apps such as Strava or Garmin to add a bit of competitive spice and inspiration to the school run or daily commute.
Get the gear but have an idea!
There’s nothing more awkward than seeing a middle-aged man decked in fluorescent sportswear with unnecessary running paraphernalia attached to every limb. Instead, get the right gear and have an idea. A decent backpack, set of waterproofs, bicycle and sports watch can go a long way in making your journey comfortable, motivating and dare I say it, enjoyable!
What’s more, the money you save from not using the car, can justifiably be spent on some new gadgets. Duarte, co-founder of Mossy Earth, paid off a £100 backpack and a £250 Garmin GPS watch, in just a few months by avoiding public transport fees and running to work.
Walk, Run or Cycle
Sources & further reading
- “Two co-founders that have been running and biking to work for years!” -
- “The Run Commuter” - The Run Commuter
- “13 Tips for Your First Bike Commute – Active” - Active
- “A Beginner’s Guide to Biking to Work” - The New York Times
- “10 Essential Hacks for Running to Work to Get You in World Run Shape” - Red Bull