Stairways

New analysis shows shows fun ways for commuters to “climb” mountains on their way to work, and compares the fitness travel plans of workers in major cities


No time, no money, no mountain skills…? No worries! A new hashtag #UrbanMountains has calculated how Londoners can scale the equivalent of the world’s highest mountains simply by avoiding the escalator and taking the stairs on their daily commute. And there’s no altitude sickness, oxygen tanks or frostbite to worry about.

London’s Tube platforms are dug seriously deep, giving commuters the chance to accumulate significant altitude as they travel to and from their 9 to 5s. Hampstead Station, for example, is 58.5m underground, so climbing it 151 times would be the equivalent of the height gained climbing to Mount Everest’s 8,848m peak. Hiring a Sherpa to carry your briefcase might be overkill, but start on 1st January and with just one ascent per day, you could be planting an imaginary summit flag by July. If the world’s highest mountain seems an ambitious goal to start, 40 ascents of Euston Underground’s 33m stairs add up to the 1,344m required to walk up Ben Nevis.

#UrbanMountains is the brainchild of outdoor retailer Snow+Rock, where head of marketing Inga Taylor said: “While Londoners don’t have the luxury of mountains on our doorstep, there is a lot of opportunity to get out and take on London’s #UrbanMountains if you just look at things differently.

We love seeing the adventure in the everyday so next time you’re riding up the escalator, consider walking and in time you could have scaled the equivalent of one of the world’s peaks.” For runners, there’s a chance to up the ante by tackling a mountain marathon in a single run, covering 42km up, down and between London Underground stations, with well over a thousand metres of ascent. The “underround” is an anytime challenge (see rorycoleman.co.uk).

Stairways

SELF-POWERED COMMUTING

Meanwhile, statistics from Strava, the social network for cyclists and runners, reveal that the average cycle commute in London is 15km, less than half the average for Milan (31.9km) but ahead of New York (14.1km). Riders in pancake flat Amsterdam unsurprisingly clocked the fastest average speed per ride at an impressive 25.6km/hr, while cyclists in Barcelona face the hilliest terrain, climbing on average 771.5 metres per ride, although not all on the way to and from work.

Running commutes in the world’s great cities are a remarkably similar length at between 7 and 8km, with Paris runners setting the pace at an average of 5:33/km, followed by London in second at 5:36/km and Berlin in third at 5:42/km.

In all bar Sao Paolo, Tuesday is the most popular day to commute in trainers.

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