Sustainability Month 2021: My Electric Bike and Public Transit

The final article for what has been my first ever Sustainability Series. To close this month, I thought it’d be fun to talk about a questionable purchase I made and my experience taking public transit as well as what I think the future of transportation should look like.

My Electric Bike and I

In 2019, I went on a bit of a spending spree. I decided to make lots of long term investments for future Mike. The tablet computer I invested in for settling down in coffee shops and writing as an aspiring Creative did not quite pan out how I expected (curse you Pandemic). And my electric bike that I would ride miles to work every day on? Has been sitting in my garage for the last year or so with one very brief ride. But it’s assembled and ready to go. In the future, I will talk about it more but for now I have nothing to say. It’s foldable, has a basket, and my God, it weighs 60 pounds. My next E-bike will be lighter and smaller; and when you think about it, folding is not as cool as it sounds. It was an experiment and I might even try the one wheel electric skateboards or an electric longboard in the future. Is E-biking better than driving? Hard to say so instead I will talk about…

Biking

Transportation for me has always followed major life transitions. I have ridden bikes throughout my life but it wasn’t until I reached college that it became something I did on a regular basis. And I should clarify, it was once I moved out of the dorms and didn’t have easy access to the campus. My Sophomore and Junior years I rode almost everyday, from home to class to the grocery store. A good three years were spent on the bike and it was great. I had flat tires that I learned to fix, a handlebar that came off during a ride and learned all about front and back lights as well as fenders for rain. I was riding with a purpose. As college became more and more crazy, I opted for walking and chose to ride my bike more selectively. It’s hard to say if I had more peace of mind walking 20 minutes to class but it was nice to slow it down.

Europe

Throughout college, I hardly ever rode our free public transit. Everything was fairly close and most of the time walking was quicker than waiting for a bus. That changed when I did study abroad. I rode the train, took the bus, and got quite used to every mode of transit that wasn’t driving. Living in a small German village was absolute paradise. The cities are designed for bikes, trains, and buses whereas the U.S. is mostly made for cars (hence why an electric bike makes sense). While the U.S. is getting better, Corvallis and Portland were American exceptions to our public transit. And these two cities pale in comparison to even the most rural German village.

Walking

Truth be told, I love walking. As far as feasibility, it becomes dependent on city. I can only walk so far and while it offers a lot of control, it’s limited by time. It is rare to live in a city that has it all. Many cities in the U.S. have strict commercial and residential codes making overlap between the two uncommon. In suburbs, there are strips of convenience among the sea of houses. If you have a car, no big deal. But anything else? It’s much harder. Where space could be used for whatever the mind can imagine, instead space is paved over for parking lots. Cities are great for walking but chaotic; lots of stopping for cars and traffic that honestly has no business being there.

Practicality vs. Sustainability

Cars are convenient and in the U.S. they are big. Why you might ask? Because our roads and bridges are crumbling, so if it’s not built like a tank, you’re in for a bumpy ride. The amount of space cars take up is staggering. In Portland, I’ve seen some retcons where two lane roads become one as bike lanes are added. As far as emissions, it’s hard to say if cars are our most pressing concern. I like the idea of going all electric and I may be in the minority, but I think electric trucks sound awesome. I also think if we want to cool the planet, we really need to innovate our roads. The pavement retains heat and makes the hot even hotter. Carpooling also might have taken a hit during the Pandemic as Lyft and Uber prices skyrocket with their rates, which is unfortunate, as the model turned a car (arguably a huge economic waste) into a sustainable option for individuals. Cars no longer spent the majority of their time in garages, sitting for the next big trip, but rather could be used to meet demand. I imagine after the Pandemic less will opt for Lyft rides and Ubers but I hope I’m wrong.

Personal Habits

Honestly, I prefer a mixed approach. Cars I view as an economic waste, even were I to buy electric. A car would be a luxury and with an E-bike I can accomplish my city needs easily at 20mph. Longer trips would suffer but a better network of carpooling would fix that right up. In cities with large populations, the cities should limit driving. Pedestrian only city blocks are becoming more popular and it’d be nice to see that arrive in Portland. If remote work sticks, it might save the commuting world. All speculation at the moment of course but it’ll be interesting to see people redefine how they travel. If you do drive, imagine a world with less traffic and more bikes. And if cities were designed so people are closer to their work as well as grocery stores? Then you have a utopia in terms of basic transit.


And that’s it for Sustainability Month 2021! With this, my blog is fully realized. I am talking about everything I want to talk about in a way I want to talk about it. The support for this month has been amazing and I’m excited for next year! Next month, I’ll be testing out a month vacation from the blog and will rejoin the world come September. Until then, enjoy summer and remember that being sustainable doesn’t mean having to compromise!

In The Meadow: A Haiku by Mike Cole

In the still meadow

A bird sat to sing a song

A tune unheard of.


It is national poetry month. A month of poetry starting with a Haiku. As part of the fun for this month, I thought I’d harken back to when I first started blogging and analyzed poems by famous poets, except this time, the poetry is written by me!

For Haiku’s, I typically start with a simple idea, an image I create in my head. The poetry itself is meant to tell a story since the word count and syllable count is so low. Rhyming becomes much more difficult, so typically I opt out of including it in the poem.

For this poem, it is meant to relax, a simple tale of a bird in a meadow. That is it. It is simply stating where the bird is, what it is doing, and the novelty of the experience. It has a hint that perhaps this is a remote part of the world, where man has rarely set foot or notes the beauty of the song itself.

My Island Getaway: Animal Crossing during a Pandemic

If you’ve been with my blog a while, you may have noticed the occasional gaming article here or there. Months ago, I wrote my first Stardew Valley fan fiction and it was a blast to write. So I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing the last couple months; Animal Crossing! I’ve been playing Animal Crossing for the last couple decades now. Yes, while everyone in the world is now playing the game, I want it on record that I’ve been playing since the Gamecube. Wild World, City Folk, New Leaf; I’ve done them all. Hundreds of hours in each, accumulating to over a thousand hours of paying off debt, buying turnips, and decorating my mansion.

The Premise

You hop on a plane to a deserted island, your first couple of weeks is spent in a tent. Over time, your island grows as more villagers move in and eventually you start infrastructure projects such as building bridges over water and paving in pathways. Your island will eventually have a clothing shop and a museum, and if you’re like me, you might’ve built a cafe and a public park with a wrestling ring.

When I Left

The Pandemic had just begun and I aptly named my Island “Last Hope” which has turned into my darkest chapter in Animal Crossing history. In my sick fantasies I’ve gotten on one of the last planes and am tasked with rebuilding society. Tom Nook is trying to save the world. Every bug, fish, and fossil I collect is an attempt to preserve the future and show that it is possible. Oftentimes I have wondered if Animal Crossing is set in the apocalypse with mutated animals that can speak. There are very few humans. And then I wake up, tend to my garden and celebrate birthdays with my neighbors.

Why it’s kept me sane

The game itself is relaxing. I have loans that I can actually pay off and when I pay off those loans, they go towards meaningful contributions until I one day own a mansion. If I invest in the stalk market, I can expect a huge return on investment and due to globalization, I can also find a high turnip price. When I pull weeds, I can transform the weeds themselves to terrariums and hay-bales. Early on, it kept me from waking up before noon as turnip prices change twice a day. Now I slump out of bed and when I start up Animal Crossing, I am already in my bathrobe. If I want to change? I literally wave a magic wand. If I want more cash, I plant money in fertile money soil and grow a money tree. If capitalism worked like that in real life, I’d have much fewer complaints. When I was but a humble beach bum, I sold seashells by the seashore. That’s literally how you get ahead in animal crossing. No 5 years of intensive studies in College, no two years at a call center, simply picking seashells; that is the world I want to live in.

How has it changed over the last couple decades?

Not to date myself, but I probably started playing Animal Crossing back in 2003, 2004. Each iteration has changed how Animal Crossing society functions. Mostly, neighbors were a dick on the Gamecube and would probably make you cry. In the Gamecube, I remember setting pitfalls (gaping holes in the ground), whacking neighbors with nets, and writing heated messages. Now, not so much. Most of my neighbors I like and I use Cyd as a reminder that there are much worse neighbors out there. Two of my neighbors are superheroes, so I’d say that’s pretty good for my relaxing island getaway. And Mr. Resetti must have died, which is sad. If you restarted the game with saving, he’d show up and yell at you. Do it enough times and he’d play God. Trees would die, the world would change color and I don’t know what other horrors many had to bear witness to as I always saved. Also, coffee. There is no coffee in the newest version! I used to wake up every morning and have my virtual cup of joe, so hopefully that gets updated soon.


And that’s it! Another article for the books! This year, the blog is growing. We have officially surpassed 2019 in unique visits to the website and views are about 30 away from surpassing last year. At this rate, we’re set to surpass 2018 by the end of the year. So remember, if you like my content, leave a like, share with a friend, and follow the website. This year growth has exploded and I couldn’t be prouder. The more exposure I have, the healthier the blog becomes with organic traffic. Eventually, the hope is to have the blog pay for itself through ad revenue. So remember to pause ad-blocker for this website. In addittion, I have a couple ways to support me. Below is the link to my Patreon and Ko-Fi:

Support this Blog!

Any little bit is much appreciated. A one time donation of a dollar or a monthly subscription helps support me as a creator. As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

Photos fresh off the press

I’ve finally bought a camera! I used to do black and white photography 5 years ago and have always been meaning to get back into taking photos as it was something I really enjoyed. This is an experimental blog post as I figure out how I want to start incorporating my photography into the blog. So sit back and enjoy!

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A yellow flower that peers into your soul.

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You didn’t know grass could look this good.

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A little bud ready to bloom

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50 shades of purple

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The tree most likely to fall over and kill me in my sleep

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Feeling a little blue


If you like my content, consider supporting me over on Patreon so I don’t have to sell my soul to Corporate America again. If not, that’s ok, I only ever really put my soul on rent anyways. Cheers and hopefully this made your day a little brighter!

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