Riverside Epiphany Turns The Tide For One Commuter

Who goes in search of a cleaner, greener, serener route to the office

Other local events

Chiswick Pier Trust Programme of Winter Events

More information at:


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

After another masochistic morning commute, journalist Richard Sharp stood on the South Bank watching a single kayak gliding serenely under Waterloo Bridge. His ‘riverside epiphany’ got him thinking that the Thames could provide the perfect solution for his travel frustrations; surely they couldn’t be a cleaner, greener and serener way to commute?

He tried speedboat, barge, boat-share, Thames Clipper and from Chiswick Pier Canoe Club he tried kayaking.

He writes in The Independent “The ultimate in carbon-neutral and self-reliant transport must surely be paddle power. Could I get to work by canoe? I thought it would be advisable to learn the ropes. Steve Williams invites me along for a Sunday paddle with Chiswick Pier Canoe Club, one of a number of associations dotted along the Thames for water enthusiasts. On a beautifully crisp sunny morning, I set off from Chiswick towards Putney with 15 Sunday paddlers as part of one of the club's extremely laid-back and accessible taster sessions.

“On our journey up river we encounter herons and strange floating coconuts. Passing under Hammersmith Bridge, hearty shouts of "good morning" greet a couple passing above our flotilla. At the end of the two-hour trip there is a tangible sense of fellowship, and the psychological advantages of using the water are becoming obvious.

“So could I commute like this? Steve Williams, the chief instructor at the canoe club, is doubtful. He says you could do it in theory, but highlights a few practical issues: "You would need to find a location to safely get in and out of the water. Secondly, the kayak and waterproof kit would need to be stored. Finally, you would have to work out the best times to undertake the journey to fit in with the tidal flows of the Thames and from a safety point of view it's advisable not to undertake the journey alone."

Full article appeared in The Independent on 7th February 2008

February 7, 2008