Discovering Beat the Street in Merton: Transforming communities one step at a time

Welcome to a special blog post complementing the current series (Series 35) of my walking podcast, Walk the Pod! In this series, I’ve been discovering an amazing initiative called Beat the Street in my local area of Merton. This program promotes walking, cycling, and running, transforming communities and making a significant impact on people’s lives and the environment. Let’s delve into how Beat the Street works.

The Birth of Beat the Street

Beat the Street is an innovative, real-life game that encourages communities to get moving by turning neighbourhoods into a giant playing board. The initiative was created by Dr. William Bird MBE, a doctor and entrepreneur, who is passionate about the preventative benefits of physical activity. Dr. Bird created a fun, engaging, and inclusive way for people of all ages and abilities to become more active, with the aim of ultimately improving their health and well-being.

How Beat the Street Works

The concept of Beat the Street is simple yet effective. Participants sign up and receive a card or fob, which they use to tap onto “Beat Boxes” installed on lampposts throughout the local area. Points are earned for every tap, and the more points collected, the more rewards and prizes participants can win. In addition to individual rewards, community groups, schools, and workplaces can also compete against each other, fostering a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition. In Merton, the local schools are giving packs of cards (one for the child, one for their grown up) to all children under the age of 11. Players over the age of 11 can collect a card from a distribution point (libraries and health centres) and connect it to their player profile. Is there a Beat the Street app? Of course there is!

The Impact of Beat the Street

Since its inception, Beat the Street has been successfully implemented in numerous locations around the world, resulting in increased physical activity levels, reduced congestion and pollution, and stronger community bonds. The initiative has motivated people to ditch their cars and opt for more sustainable forms of transportation, ultimately leading to a greener environment. I’m delighted that Beat the Street has come to my local area, and lovely to see that Dr. Bird gave a talk at Merton Council to launch the game here.

Walk the Pod and Beat the Street: A Shared Vision

My walking podcast, Walk the Pod, shares many common goals with Beat the Street. Both initiatives focus on promoting the benefits of walking and the importance of connecting with nature, our surroundings, and each other. As the host of Walk the Pod, I have witnessed first hand, and experienced for myself, how walking can help individuals de-stress, improve their mental health, and build a sense of community. My friends at trundl love Beat the Street too, and you can Beat the Street whilst racking up kms for charity via trundl at the same time – and with Sustrans—a government department dedicated to walking and cycling improvements in London—the walking ecosystem is expanding all the time.

An inspiring initiative

Discovering Beat the Street in my local area of Merton this week has been a delightful experience. Walk the Pod can draw inspiration from this initiative and continue to encourage more people to take up walking as a way to enhance their lives.

Beat the Street is a remarkable project that has the power to transform communities through increased physical activity and social connections. As I continue to explore Merton and share my walking experiences through Walk the Pod, I’m excited to see the positive impact of initiatives like Beat the Street on local communities. So, grab your trainers, tap into your local Beat Box, and join me on this exciting journey as we walk our way to a healthier, happier, and more connected world.

Stay in touch for future blog posts and podcast episodes, where we’ll uncover more fascinating insights about the transformative power of walking. And if you haven’t listened to Walk the Pod before, or are interested in joining the Walk the Pod lunch time walk club, a global walking community, do get involved. Until then, happy walking!

You’ll never walk alone – trundl review


One eyed bloke

I walk, always have. School and back was four miles a day, rain or shine, in clothes made mainly of polyester (oh, the sweaty 70s). Buses were too random, and in any case were full of sharp-elbowed, tough old ladies. So I walked everywhere, and liked it. It was just me and the road and the sky, and we became firm friends.

But I never got into counting steps, I’ve never been tempted to wear a Fitbit and I’m a bit wary of people who do. Hell, I don’t even measure my waistline, except by seeing which pair of jeans fits (the elasticated ones). So, why am I trying out a walking app called trundl?

The short answers are, because trundl is not your typical walking app and my friend Rachel thought I’d like it. And she, I believe, would rather nail jelly to a wall than persuade me into something competitive.

It’s also a sad fact of life in the suburbs – where I and more than half of us live – that, after a few years, our motivation to go out and walk around our all-too-familiar home patch can dwindle, especially if there are no nearby green spaces big enough to get satisfyingly lost in. So, I was kind of in the market for a kick in the backside.

Not that trundl ever kicks; it prefers to nudge. The app sets up a triangular relationship
between charities, businesses (‘brand partners’) and you, the individual trundlr. You pay a
monthly subscription – currently £3.99 – and trundlr commits to giving at least 10 percent of that to the charities. But that’s not the main deal: at the heart of the app are Community
trundls, in which all trundls completed within a period of about a week count towards a
specific distance goal. Reaching the goal triggers extra donations, often given by a business, for a specific charity (they rotate). You don’t have to sign up to a Community trundl; your trundls are automatically counted towards them when one is happening, which is often.

trundl describe their app experience as ‘Go, Give, Get.’ ‘Go’ means recording your walks—trundls—in the app. ‘Give’ means selecting your preferred charities from a list, currently just five. ‘Get’ means getting rewards, which consist of Badges, i.e. markers of your progress, and Offers in the form of discount codes from trundl’s brand partners. There is also News: summaries of past and future Community trundls.

I asked my twentysomething kids if they’d use trundl. They’re digital natives and have a
sharp appreciation of what they see as the true nature of most internet commerce: when
there’s no discernible product or the product is free, you’re the product – or your data is.

So, no surprise when they were sceptical. “What are you getting for your money? You can
count your steps or track your walks for free on any smartphone, and if you want to give
money to a charity, give it direct; they’ll get 100 percent plus Gift Aid instead of just 10
percent. The app is just serving you up on a plate as a niche market to businesses.”

OK, thanks lads. And go easy on the cynicism, it costs, y’know. I don’t doubt the app has a commercial logic behind it. But come on, if the offers work, if they give you discounts on
stuff you actually want, what’s happening is, your subscription is supporting a platform that
promotes a net flow of money through the app from businesses to charities. That’s good,
right? That’s different from direct giving, and maybe better.

I’m a realist, I hope; I know I’m the product and this ideal scenario is likely to be realised for only a fraction of users at any one time, but I’m not just the product; I’m a walker who
believes small acts of kindness help the world to turn – and why let the perfect be the
enemy of the good? Its a great idea to link walking & giving, and I hope trundl succeeds. As the app grows, more users will attract more brand partners and more offers, so the fraction will grow too.

Ideally, I’d like more ways for trundlrs to interact; you can share your trundls on completion
and add a comment, but I feel inclined to share only really big or particularly lovely ones. A
way for Community trundls to connect trundlrs in actual communities would be good.

trundl is aimed at an underserved demographic, one I’m happy to fall slap in the middle of:
those who walk for pleasure as much as health. I believe there’s no niche anyone could cram us all into. We power-walk seldom, amble often; we’re amiable rather than ambitious. And at the end of the day, we want to be tired out by our walking, not our walking app.

Editor’s note: trundl is available from your favourite App Store, check out the app here.

The illusion of change: how to embrace abundance in the present moment

Hello Poddies,

As I continue to ponder the concept of abundance, something intriguing has come to my attention. And that is, nothing truly changes. We may think that in the future, things will be more manageable, that we’ll have a better grip on our to-do list, or that we’ll no longer be constantly rushing from one thing to the next.

But the reality is, if we’re the type of person who takes on more than is reasonable (guilty as charged), we’ll always find something to fill the void when we don’t feel we have enough to keep us busy.

I’ve certainly experienced this in my own life. I keep thinking that life will eventually slow down, but it never does because I take on more until I reach my limit.

Busyness is similar to the price differentiation marketing strategy of luxury coffee companies?!

They offer the same product at multiple price points to cater to different budgets. So, even if you’re perfectly content with a cheaper option, if you think you can afford the luxury, you’ll end up spending more.

Just like a cheap coffee vs an expensive flat white, there is a level of busyness that suits every person. We may think that having more will lead to greater satisfaction, but it’s important to recognise that it may not be the case. We might do better to appreciate the abundance manifest in what we have instead.

If abundance is the aura that we send out to the universe to say, I’m ready to receive more, then we should be careful what we wish for.

I’m off to have another bath.

Introducing trundl, the UK’s leading non-competitive walking community

Walking is a simple and effective way to improve your physical and mental well-being, and podcasts are a great way to entertain and educate yourself while you walk. That’s why at Walk the Pod I’m thrilled to announce my partnership with trundl, the UK’s leading non-competitive walking community.

For anyone not familiar with trundl, it’s an app that connects walkers with like-minded people, so they can enjoy walking together. Unlike other walking apps, trundl is not focused on competition or ‘first over the line’, it’s all about building a supportive community of people who love to walk.

I first met the trundl team, Hil and Tess, in December and it was clear from the start that we shared a vision for creating a more walkable world. We believe that by working together, we can inspire more people to walk more often, and make walking a more social and enjoyable experience.

Through partnership with trundl, I’ll be building the walking ecosystem, introducing people who share a passion for walking to one another, and helping to build the non-competitive walking community.

I’m so excited to be working with trundl this series. Whether you’re walking in the city or out in the countryside, our episodes will provide you with information and inspiration to help you explore the world on foot.

This partnership with trundl is a great way to make walking even more fun and accessible. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to download the trundl app today and start connecting with other walkers in your area. Happy walking!

Series 33 of Walk the Pod is on the way – on abundance!

Photo by Vladimir Tomić on Unsplash

Are you ready to experience abundance on your daily walks? Join me on Walk the Pod as we embark on a new series all about abundance, and how to recognise and find abundance in our daily lives.

Starting on Monday, January 9th, I’ll be taking a daily stroll through nature and exploring the many facets of abundance – from gratitude and generosity to mindfulness and simplicity.

On each episode, we’ll explore practical tips and insights on how to cultivate more abundance in your life. Whether you’re looking to manifest more financial abundance, or simply want to feel more fulfilled and content in your everyday life, Series 33 has something for you.

I’ll be inviting listeners to send me their voicenotes about what abundance means to you. You can send me a message now, before the series even begins, so that I can share your thoughts from episode 1.

So grab your walking shoes, start your Trundl app and join us on the path to abundance. See you on Monday!

Two powerful principles to get you walking in 2023!

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

It’s accepted that walking is good for you, and unlike other sports, it needs very little by way of equipment. Just some trainers or boots, depending on the weather, perhaps some rainproof equipment and an umbrella. Although I have been amazed since I started recording a daily walking podcast to find that 95% of the time, I’m recording on the most beautiful day in the world, or an overcast day, but not in torrential rain. I can remember the number of rainy days on the fingers of two hands.

So when I recommend tools and tricks for walking more this year, it won’t involve a shopping trip. The greatest challenge is finding the time and embedding the habit. And it’s this principle on which I offer you the following walking principles:

No comparison

Social media is bad for the mental health because it gives us a raft of people to compare ourselves with, flipping ourselves into a scarcity mindset and making us crazy. OK, that might be me more than other people. But what I’ve found with everything, including walking, is that the more I am exposed to other people doing faster walking than me, the more demotivated I get. I do not enjoy logging onto an app to log my walk when the first thing it tells me is that my ex-girlfriend just won a medal for a 10K PB, when I like to travel at under 4 miles per hour.

Enter, Trundl. Trundle is a fantastic little app on which everyone is travelling slowly, and collaborating together to walk kms for charity and raise money for good causes. Trundl helps you give consistently to remarkable causes as well as access a platform for tracking your non-competitive steps. The non-competitive nature of Trundl is what makes it appeal to me. I’d highly recommend you download the app and give it a try. Plus, like other more competitive apps, it lets you record the pattern of your walk, so you can trace the shape of a kitten as you walk, should you be so inclined.

Don’t get bored

Walking can be boring and if there’s no awe-inspiring nature on your doorstep it’s hard to stay motivated, especially on gray and mis days. So my second principle is, don’t get bored. I would highly recommend making calls on your walks, or subscribing to book tape apps like audible, or podcasts, so that you have something stimulating to listen to while you walk. A Spotify playlist can also be a treat to listen to on a walk. If you’re really trying to pull some movement jujitsu on your brain, you could even make a rule that you’re only allowed to listen to your favourite podcast or playlist while you’re walking.

If one just keeps on walking, everything will be alright

Søren Kierkegaard

I can highly recommend the audiobook of Mort by Terry Pratchett, narrated by BAFTA award-winning actor Sian Clifford (FleabagVanity FairQuiz). BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning actor Bill Nighy (Love ActuallyPirates of the CaribbeanHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) reads the footnotes, and Peter Serafinowicz (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom MenaceShaun of the Dead) stars as the voice of Death. It’s truly excellent.

Very best of luck with your walking in 2023, and do share your own tips and principles in the comments.