Traffic jams, huge bus queues plus inclement? Yes, it looks like another tube strike in London.
Tube strikes are one of the 'features' of London life. Tube lines are often described as some of the arteries of London life, so when they clang shut, chaos ensues.
What can you do? You can take control of your commute, and harness the power of the bicycle.
If you already commute by bike, you'll know the joys of being self-reliant. If not, here are 3 tips to help you beat the tube strike.
1. Get a bike
This is obviously essential, but you don't have to rush off to your nearest bike shop and buy one. There are other, cheaper options!
If you've got an old bike lying around at home, or if you can borrow one from a friend, why not put it to good use? Just make sure you pump up the tyres and check the breaks to make sure it's safe to ride. Check out our article on how to do a pre-ride safety check.
Grab a Barclays Bike (AKA a Boris Bike if you're a Londoner) from one of the many docking stations around town. They're perfect for getting around town, you'll just need to pop some payment details into the station, and hey presto - you have a steed at your disposal. However, it's likely these will disappear fast near the mainline train stations, so it's worth getting there early.
We love the folding Brompton Bicycles for getting around town, and if you've ever fancied giving one a go, now's the perfect opportunity (without buying one!). Brompton Docks are lockers containing Brompton bikes which you can hire for however long you want. Register online, pick up a bike from one of the various dock locations (you can find ones near you online) and bingo - you'll have your own bike to use during the strike!
2. Gear up
You don't need tones of kit to get started cycling, and in fact you've probably got most of the essentials at home.
- Waterproof jacket - definitely worth having given the weather we've got at the moment!
- Helmet - these are optional and not a legal requirement, but if you've got one it's worth thinking about popping it on.
- Lights - It's a legal requirement to cycle with lights on your bike when it's dark. If you're on a Barclays bike or a Brompton from a dock, you don't need to worry about this; both of these come with lights built in. Otherwise, you can pick up lights really cheaply from most bike shops, and even Halfords and Argos.
- Comfy shoes - A good pair of grippy shoes or trainers will make the commute that much more comfy. If you want to avoid wet feet, one tip is to pop your feet in plastic bags and then put your shoes on. It's not stylish, but it's better than cold toes!
3. Plan your route
Working out how you're actually going to get from home to work is certainly worth doing the night before. There are some great tools available online to help you, and they'll even be able to help you avoid the main, busy roads, so the chances are you'll be sailing past the traffic as you go!
- Sustrans, the charity which runs the National Cycle Network, have a searchable map online.
- Transport for London's Cycling Journey Planner is great for helping you work out how to get to A to B, and how long it's likely to take you.
Good luck! You never know - this might be the start of a beautiful cycling relationship.