As a swimmer — not a serious one so much as someone who likes to float, and appreciates a swim-up bar, and yes, also, likes to actually move through water once in a while — I have to say this swimmer’s commuter lane proposed in London makes me jump up and down and clap like a seal. In fact, if they build this thing, I might seriously try to move to London even though it’s really expensive and I only know two people there.
OK, less about the potential social problems I might encounter as a canal-swimming resident of London and perhaps more about this amazing oh-please-please-please-let-them-actually-make-it-come-true plan. Right now in London there’s an underused waterway called Regent’s Canal. It’s 8.6 miles long and it’s got some minimal touristy water taxi action but not much else going on. So recently, when the mayor of London had a citywide competition (I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Oxford Blues or Chariots of Fire but British people LOVE competitions) to do a London version of New York’s High Line, these two awesome lads, Alex Smith and David Lomax, came up with the idea to put the canal to more spectacular use. They propose to cordon off (and clean up) a commuter lane that would let people swim to work.
As nifty as the swimming portion of it already is, look at what they want to do with it in the winter:
Obviously these are not real pictures. This is just an idea. And you’ll notice that it is not raining in either of these pictures, and that rain is a regular state of affairs in London which would have to be considered before this became a reality. And if you were really going to swim to work, even if it weren’t raining, you’d definitely need a shower at the office, plus you’d show up in your swimsuit which might be weird? OK, now stop noticing those things and just meditate on how great it would be to have a swim or skate commute.
They want to call it the LidoLine, which at first I thought meant that you were supposed to listen to Boz Scagg’s Lido Shuffle on your iPod as you blissfully skated to work. Then I looked it up. Remember the Lido Deck on Love Boat? Well a lido is a British term for, more or less, a place where people swim and hang around in the sun. So. God bless this lido!