My Commute, Your Commute: Kayaking To Work

You do it everyday. You barely notice the route. But we bet there’s more to your commute than you think. We want to know about your daily grind. Send us words, video or photographs. Snap teasing pictures of the route and make us guess it. Tell us what’s unusual or beautiful about your commute. How would you really like to travel to work?

First up, meet, James Sweetman, marketing man at stickyboard.co.uk. A few canalside drinks with his brother one pleasant Friday evening resulted in him swapping public transport for a personally powered waterway to work.

The commute: Ealing to Kings Cross

The public transport: Piccadilly Line – Ealing Common to Kings Cross

The watery way: He now takes the quick overland train from Ealing Broadway to Paddington and jumps on the canal there to kayak up to Kings Cross. If he’s got the time, he kayaks the canal all the way from Ealing.

What did it take? A few drinks, a bet between brothers, a £30 Waterways licence, collapsible paddle and inflatable Kayak.

Read more about James’s change of commute.

If this has inspired you, Green Transport Week is coming up 17-25 June. Can you make your commute greener?

Tell us about your commute. Email hello@londonist.com.

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Article by Lindsey Clarke | 3,252 Articles | View Profile

  • Pete

    You’re normally pretty good at marking when your articles are just advertising features, and this one was pretty shameless! I often commute along the canal and have never seen him – I also think it’d take so much longer than just walking that stretch that the novelty would very quickly wear off…

    • Lindsey

      This is not paid for content or advertising, it’s editorial. And I don’t think James’ intention was to get to work quicker – it was a challenge to find a different and unusual way to do it.

      • Pete

        The fact that the advert wasn’t paid for isn’t a reflection on the content, it’s a reflection on your keen business sense! It’s an advert, advertising a company. It’s got no relevance to the story yet you’ve still put a link to the company he promotes on your site and a big image of their logo above it, in addition to the ruddy great advert at the end of the video. Pfft.

  • http://twitter.com/sparticus Mark Walley

    You can’t go through the Little Venice tunnel unless your boat / kayak / whatever has lights on it. So he just broke the law and put himself at risk. Unless of course, this is just a silly advert and he didn’t actually do that.

  • http://www.stickyboard.co.uk James Sweetman

    Before starting any of this I consulted with the British Waterway Association and always make sure to comply with any regulations i.e. lights, buoyancy aids, portaging were necessary etc. Whether it’s cycling along a road or kayaking on a canal you do need to take care but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

    It does take longer than the direct tube route (which is why I take the overland train to Paddington first rather than go direct from Ealing). The point isn’t so much to save time as actually enjoy more of the day.

  • http://twitter.com/romany romany

    I was thinking about doing this as well – how did you choose what kind of kayak to get? Did you get an inflatable one so you could take it on the tube, or are there other advantages? How do you get through the Islington Tunnel, because unpowered craft aren’t allowed?

    • http://www.stickyboard.co.uk James Sweetman

      Great to hear! I went with an inflatable for being able to take it on the tube and store at home. The best ones I found, for inflate time (3mins) and quality, were Advanced Elements Kayaks. An inflatable can be pretty handy when you have to portage as they’re quite light as well. Otherwise a longer, solid shell Kayak is quicker and would keep a better line on the water.  

      My commute luckily stops just before the Islington Tunnel. You can carry you kayak around but it is quite a walk!

      Hope that helps but do drop me a line if you’d want to discuss more

    • http://www.stickyboard.co.uk James Sweetman

      Great to hear! I went with an inflatable for being able to take it on the tube and store at home. The best ones I found, for inflate time (3mins) and quality, were Advanced Elements Kayaks. An inflatable can be pretty handy when you have to portage as they’re quite light as well. Otherwise a longer, solid shell Kayak is quicker and would keep a better line on the water.  

      My commute luckily stops just before the Islington Tunnel. You can carry you kayak around but it is quite a walk!

      Hope that helps but do drop me a line if you’d want to discuss more

  • jczelyph

    What a yawnsome attentionwhore. Just get the bloody tube.

  • guest

    good grief people, live and let live. believe it or not there are some people out there who want to do things other than the norm, it doesn’t harm anyone, and if they can link something about that to wider things they do then that’s no more worth whinging about than any other product placement you’ll see every day, everywhere you go.

  • http://www.bfadventure.org/activities_kayaking_cornwall.html Kayaking Cornwall

    Great article! I get to kayak to work, but then kayaking in cornwall isnt that odd really – but good on him for making the london life more interesting. :)

  • http://www.bfadventure.org/activities_kayaking_cornwall.html Kayaking Cornwall

    Great article! I get to kayak to work, but then kayaking in cornwall isnt that odd really – but good on him for making the london life more interesting. :)

  • John Durrant

    I was quite excited to discover that the commute to my new job might just be possible by kayak – taking the Thames from Egham to Weybridge and then the Wey to Wisley, with a short walk either side. Waterproof gear arrived this week to protect the phone and my lunch and planning the first commute next week. Yes, it’s a bit nuts but at least it adds a bit of variety to the day…