Avoid Rush Hour Traffic!

In this post I explain how I found a way to finally avoid rush hour traffic from my daily commute. The INRIX Traffic Report claims that by 2030 the average driver will spend 18 working days sat in traffic, 40 days if you live in London! This adds upto to costing the same average driver £2,000 a year from waste such as fuel and less time being productive at work, this also includes indirect costs such as increased freight costs for the food we buy etc.

​So there I was roughly a year ago on my way back from the office and sat in the same rush hour traffic that I'd been in a hundred times before. It was around the same time that I was reading a collection of lifestyle guru books such as 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and Wining without Losing by Martin Bjergegaard & Jordan Milne, books I highly recommend.

Both of these books give practical advice and inspirational stories on escaping the rat race and living a more balanced happy life, one of the core messages is to look at all the mundane repetitive tasks that take up your time, find ways to get rid of them and use the time saved to do something that makes you happy instead. Sounds simple eh?

Staring blankly at the driver in the car next to me under the red glow of brake lights thinking how could I possibly avoid this rush hour traffic? Going on some crazy back road route would bring its own problems involving farm vehicles and would no doubt turn out just as long. So it looked like trains or road biking were my only realistic options.​

Now I travel about 30 miles to one of my main work locations, which would take me around 4 hours round trip if it didn't kill me first, cycling to Leicester train station was feasible but I don't like the idea of fighting against the morning commuters on my shaky push bike. If I did make it through the city centre traffic then I would be rocking onto the train dripping in sweat, which is probably not the best start to the day.​

Rockrider 8.1

My current wheels - B-Twin RockRider 8.1

I was almost resigned to the fact that it just couldn't be done on a long term basis , but with the voices of my guru lifestyle book authors echoing in my mind I persisted and opened my Google maps back up to see if there was any other way.

​Arriving to work sweaty was a potential deal breaker, as there are no showers at the office, so maybe joining a gym along the route would allow me the opportunity to shower and get sorted. This could also be a place to securely leave my bike! ok , getting somewhere now. I looked through the route and found a gym in a village about 5 miles away that had a train station, the train station was also closer in the direction of my office, so the fare was cheaper.

It was all there for me if I wanted it, but did I want it enough? Did I want to commit to a 12 month gym membership just so I could have a shower, would I end up back in the car in rush hour traffic but £50 a month worse off with a gym I never used?​

So I went with it and for nearly a year now I've been cycling 15 minutes to the gym, 10 minute swim, steam room and jump on the train ready for the day feeling pretty smug with myself. I realised without the commute there wasn't really a massive need for me to keep my car as we were a 2 car home, so I got rid of mine, saved some cash on yearly motoring costs, which now pays for a family gym membership at one of the best gyms in the county. Because all the family are members now I get to meet them after work, spending more quality time with them. Before I was rolling in angry at 6.30pm, wanting to be left alone while I de-compressed after sitting in traffic for an hour.​

Don't get me wrong its not all roses all the time, there are some very wet and rainy days, some days particularly in winter where I just cant face getting the bike out the shed, so sit on the bus to the train station feeling guilty. There's also the times when we all don't get to the gym as much as we wanted due to life and I question the ongoing costs of the full family membership.

But overall its been a good move, switching traffic jams for the gym has made me much healthier and fitter, my general well-being and mentality is more positive and I have found my concentration and focus levels are much higher too.​

My train actually runs over the motorway that I used to get stuck on, which is a nice touch to smile at, as I chomp through my well earned high protein breakfast.

About the author

David Toon

15 years as an IT developer and consultant, currently working with clients in education and online businesses. Founder of Toon Media, Subscription Radar and co-founder of ManMadeClub a lifestyle experience blog. Passionate about working with online technology and the pursuit of living a balanced and active life with my family.