Commuting With a Workout

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“I would work out, but I don’t have the time.”

It’s the oldest excuse in the book. We’ve all heard it from someone lamenting their lack of exercise routine. Or perhaps uttered it ourselves, trying to rationalize the plight of waking up early, trudging to work, putting in our eight hours, and slogging back home without dedicating an hour to physical activity before ultimately hitting the sack.

Sometimes it really does feel as if there isn’t enough time in the day, and there are scientific reasons to back that up. From being too caught up in work to simply being a pessimistic mope, time keeps slipping away, and working out is a reasonable sacrifice to ensure things get done and deadlines are met.

Given how important daily physical activity is, though, it’s easy to look at your daily routine and wonder where you might be able to steal time and get a workout in. Take commuting for example. The average commute time in the United States is slightly more than 24 minutes, but that number is far accentuated in large cities like New York, where public transportation experiences constant delays and workers from across the metro area are bussed into the city daily. In London, the problem is just as bad, with the average commute clocking in at 55 minutes.

James Balfour, co-founder of London health club 1Rebel, has heard that same excuse many times before. His company has two locations in London and plans to expand with two more by the end of 2016, and has received a swath of positive press and awards for its studio design and setup. Still, that 55 minute void of commute time persisted, and 1Rebel wanted to fill it.

“Nobody likes commuting, so we were thinking about how we could make the time more efficient and more enjoyable,” Balfour tells BTRtoday.

The concept is Ride2Rebel, and it melds commuting and exercising into one by placing a high intensity interval spin class planted inside of a bus. Instead of hopping on a bus and nodding off, commuters get on and get to work.

There are logistics involved, namely where the routes should travel. Balfour said when the company began gauging interest in the idea from potential clients, that idea was immediately brought to the table.

“When we ask people to sign up, we’re asking them to use their postal code,” Balfour says. “That way we can start tabulating where the most interest is coming from and figure out which stops are more in demand than others.”

Where the buses ultimately stop is easy to decide. The workouts will finish at one of the 1Rebel locations, where participants can get off and use the club’s facilities to shower and get themselves ready for work.

As for safety concerns, the company has been in touch with BikeBus, a company in Boston that offers similar services, albeit without the physical locations at which to rendezvous. BikeBus has patented its own seatbelt device, which acts as a harness to keep cyclers strapped into their bikes as the bus moves.

The response to the program has been widespread—after putting out just one press release about Ride2Rebel, it’s been covered in 237 publications worldwide and appeared on television in Australia and Pakistan. Balfour said the company received more than 2,500 registrations in the first few days.

Now that the plan has piqued such interest, the next step is implementing it across the streets of London.

“If we can prove it’s a good idea and people want it, then it’s a future we can actually create,” Balfour says. “That was the key and the first stepping stone, because now we’re going to bus companies and trying to make this a reality in the coming months.”

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