HOLD on to your helmets. I’m heading back to the giddy world of full-time London commuting and the rat race. Although, as comedian Lily Tomlin noted, the problem with the rat race is that, even if you win, you’re still a rat. Fortunately, tech can perk up the scurry.
Commuting step one involves coffee and the Ember temperature control travel mug (above, £150, apple.com) is a 20cm sealed mug with a 335ml capacity. Once powered up via its charging base and filled with your brew, a rotating dial at the base allows you to set the temperature, while built-in wizardry keeps the heat constant for two hours. An app helps program the device, too. An LCD display shows the temperature and the push-to-open leak-proof lid is smartly designed.
Commuting step two requires blotting out other people’s noise. The Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones (above, £248, amazon.co.uk) are the perfect choice to drown out idiots. Hugely comfortable with a 30-hour battery life, they can be wireless or wired-in. The real selling point of these beauts, though, is the noise-cancelling — it’s astonishing. They have an Ambient Sound Control function, too, so you won’t miss train messages announcing delays.
Commuting step three requires options for productivity and entertainment and the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (£280, argos.co.uk) ticks both boxes. The hinge connecting the keyboard to the 11.6in tablet screen offers 360-degree mobility, meaning it can be used as a traditional clamshell laptop, a tablet or placed in tent mode for viewing. The build quality is military-grade durable yet it remains compact to carry. The drawback? It needs a decent wi-fi connection for optimum functionality.
All I now need is a rucksack to hold it all. The Chrome Industries Summoner 32-litre backpack (above, £170, chromeindustries.com) is a stylish option. It’s also comfortable, fitting snug to the back.
In terms of commute bikes, The Tern Link C8 folding bike (£505/$650, ternbicycles.com) is my fave. Its 20in wheels make it speedy and its eight gears handle hills. It has a similar build quality to the ubiquitous Brompton but comes without the sometimes eye-watering price tag. It’s N-fold system also means it tucks to a portable size within ten seconds.
Another engineering feat of brilliance is the Overade folding bike helmet (above, £77, overade.com). Clever hinges and collapsible side panels see this shrink to a third of its normal size to aid carrying without compromising its structural integrity or safety.
So, I’m ready. I’m so down with my fellow commuters they’ll probably want to make me their king or something…
Life in the fast lane
FOR THOSE WHO DESIRE THE WOW FACTOR IN THEIR COMMUTING BIKE
If money is no object the Hummingbird Electric folding bike (£4,495, hummingbirdbike.com) is a thing of elegant beauty and design. An ultra-light carbon-fibre frame and a wheelset built from, yes, ultra-light aluminium alloy make it a doddle to carry. In fact, it’s so light you could be forgiven for forgetting the rear wheel hub houses a 250W electric motor, which charges in three hours to offer about 22 miles of assisted riding. Its makers claim it’s the lightest electric bike in the world. It’s Formula One tech in commuter bike form. It’s lovely.