Benjamin David disliked his morning commute. The roads are congested, and even the bike lanes are full in his city of Munich, Germany.
“[On the highway,] I experience an incredible aggression between cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians,” he told tz.de. “In Munich we are experiencing a maddening.”
About two years ago an idea occurred to him—what about the Isar?
The Isar is the river that flows through Munich. It used to be one of the main transportation routes, but waterway traffic has been declining for 100 years, almost disappearing entirely.
So David decided to utilize the river once again, by swimming to work.
Every morning, he takes the 1.24-mile swim to his job as a cultural organizer at the Cultural Beach in the center of the city. People sometimes laugh at him, he said, but he not only has more fun while keeping fit, but also beats the traffic to work.
He doesn’t rush to the water thoughtlessly though. He first checks the temperature, water level, and the speed of the current online. He also uses a special waterproof bag designed by a friend from Switzerland, who apparently faced a similar situation. The bag doubles as a flotation device while holding his suit, shirt, and laptop.
David said his colleagues sometimes join him for the morning swim, and he hopes more people do so.
“I would be happy if more people switched to the Isar,” David told tz.de.
Still, for his commute back home he prefers walking or public transport to fighting the river’s current.