Mike Dits is biking across the world for renewable energy. Yep, that’s right, across the world.
On August 20th, 2015 Mike took off from South Bend, Indiana on his no frills Surly Long Haul Trucker for a multi-year bicycle tour to research renewable energy. He last updated his blog in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Learn more about Mike’s journey and route at http://renewride.com/ or reach out to him directly at [email protected]
B&B connected with Mike to hear more about his Renewable Energy Bike Ride so far.
B&B: “Why cycle around the world? Why renewable energy?”
Mike: “Towards the end of university while studying for a semester in Chile, I grew curious about life outside of the States. I was also developing an interest in applying my business studies to work in renewable energy as it helps address a global issue of ecological degradation. As an outdoorsman, this is important to me. In one of my classes, I listened to a man talk about riding his motorcycle from Chile to New York, promoting a type of Chilean wine along the way. I thought of doing something similar, except biking and researching renewable energy around the world. Bike & Build showed me the possibility and joy of biking as a way to travel. I thought while seeing the world I would do some research around clean energy to have some career ideas for life after the trip.”
B&B: What have you learned about renewable energy thus far?
Mike: “I have spoken to a handful of managers and engineers at solar farms, geothermal plants, and wind farms throughout the world, learning about energy potential, financing, and the role that the local government plays. I learned about thermodynamics when I tried to build a solar water heater in Colombia. I did my first installation of an off grid solar system to power a home and deep freezer in Zimbabwe. I helped with the installation of solar powered water pumps for schools in rural Zimbabwe. In Malawi I partnered with a young innovator to build a windmill to pump water for a small village. Recently I learned about European views of the aesthetics of renewable energy, communally owned solar systems, a small scale hydroelectric plant, and an organization that looks to educate youth and power schools with renewables through the help of government subsidies. To summarize, I believe renewable forms of energy are being embraced around the world, and I think financing will be an important piece to solve to make adoption more feasible moving forward.”
B&B: “Do you have any highs and lows you’d like to share?”
Mike: “I will tell about how a low turned to a high. I was biking in remote Argentinian pampa, which is an arid desert-like part of the country. There was a 60km stretch of road that had been under construction to be paved, but was never finished. This area of the pampa hadn’t seen rain in two years, and when I reached this unpaved road a desert storm started. All the rain formed a thick sticky mud that was impossible to ride or drive through, the road was then closed from both sides as roadside rivers formed and the road collapsed in some places. I was more than 50km from the nearest town in either direction, with no homes nor businesses in between. Stuck in the middle of this road I tried to sleep through 11 hours of continuous rain as my tent was flooded. I was uncomfortably cold throughout the night. In the morning I continued pushing and riding my bike until I met a couple Argentinians clearing the mud off the road with a massive tractor. They had a little trailer to sleep in, and they invited me in to eat succulent Argentinian lamb and drink wine with orange fanta while waiting for the rain to stop. It did, the sun appeared, I dried out everything I had and life was good again.”
B&B: “What takeaways can you share from your several years on the road so far?”
Mike: “I have found the world to be a fascinating place, and the people that inhabit it are innately friendly and kind. So many people I meet as I travel think that many parts of the world are more dangerous than they actually are. I think there is often a reverse correlation between wealth and hospitality, and less developed countries are usually more enjoyable to bike through. The world is worth exploring.”