2021 In Review

As far as the world went, 2021 was just a but crap. The COVID-19 pandemic rampaged throughout the world with lockdowns and new variants ebbing and flowing like a life altering trash-filled sea. Feeling guilty for seeing family or scornfully glaring at people not wearing their masks properly was the common theme for 2021. Still, I finished the year how I started it, virus free with a generally healthy family (albeit with an extra person added).

A child was born

2021 saw the arrival of our second child and our first daughter. Born in April, she's already a chatting, crawling, smiling, absolute heart-melter of a pickle. Her big brother loves her to bits, even if she does play with his toys (much to his disgust). It's been lovely (but rage-inducing at times) watching our family grow and adapt to the new challenges thrown at us.

Bikes

A lot happened with bikes in 2021, so much so I've had to break it down into sub-sections

The cargo bike

In January of 2021, I put an order in for an electrically assisted cargo bike. It was due to turn up in April - 3 days before our baby was due. For months I was wondering who was going to arrive first. However, the baby won, buy a long shot. After many delays and a lot of frustration, I eventually got the bike in September. It was a shame, as I was hoping to use the summer to take the boy on long rides and get him used to it before the weather turned, but alas, it is what it is.

The bike was glorious. Alfie loved sitting up front, shouting at cars (in an excited way) and it was nice to be out cycling this big lump of a bike without breaking a sweat. Friends and family rode in the front to experience the thrill (it can take up to 100kg weight) and I used any excuse to "pop out".

It was short-lived though, as at the beginning of October, I got an email from the manufacturer issuing an immediate ride stop and recall of the bike. That was the end - it had to go back.

I now have another Cargo bike on order, due January 2022. We'll see when that turns up...

The commuter bike

At the end of September (just before I got the Cargo bike recall email) I managed to crash my commuter bike on the way to work. Fortunately I was ok, but the bike wasn't. My bike insurance paid out (all hail bike insurance) and I bought a new commuter bike. The big issue was, prices of bikes have increased, a lot, so the money I got for my broken bike was unable to replace a like-for-like. I settled on a Genesis Day One (it's been commuter-ified a lot since this picture). It's not my favouite bike, but it is growing on my.

The beer bike

Now I work from home I've been keeping my eye open for a "normal" bike. Something I can jump on of a lunch break to get some fresh air, or run errands without spending half an hour getting changed into "special" clothes. For that, I introduce the beer bike (yes, it is another photo in a garage compound). It's an absolute baller of a bike - not the fastest or the quietest, but does an excellent job at what it needs to do.

My eyesight was lost

At the beginning of October, my vision started getting blurry and my eyes bloodshot. After a trip to the hospital while on holiday, I was diagnosed with Acute Anterior Uveitis. My eyes were very sensitive to the light and I was required to take steroid drops and, at the beginning of the treatment, have steroids injected under my conjunctiva (the clear layer that covers your eye) which was not a pleasant experience.

It meant I couldn't ride or drive for a few weeks and had to wear sunglasses a lot. Fortunately, they seem to have returned to their normal self.

Side projects

My side projects have been ridiculously non-existent - I should probably remove "side-projectahoic" from the homepage. I started off strong at the beginning of the year but, since arrival of child number 2, my motivation and time has dwindled.

11ty

At the beginning of the year I managed to convert my site from Craft CMS to 11ty. Craft was great, but was over-engineered for what I wanted to do. The set up was putting me off developing on it. It took me a while to get my head around Static Site Generators (SSGs) - not having search or posts that went live on a set date were the big challenges I faced (I use a cloudflare worker to publish my scheduled posts), but the result is a cleaner, easier to maintain website.

I've written a few posts on 11ty since I started the conversion, including an account of migrating Ale House Rock to the SSG, which was another achievement of early 2021.

Blog posts

In the first quarter of 2021 I wrote a lot of blog posts (in comparison to what I had been writing). I was able to schedule them for every 2 weeks and last me until the middle of the year - I even wrote a post about my schedule. Of course, the new child threw all of that out of the window and my output in the second-half of the year has been dire.

Podcast

I sat down with Si Jobling and Sam Hardacre at the beginning of 2021 to record 6 episodes of a podcast series. On the Side is a podcast i've appeared on before, but this time the three of us chatted about side projects and other topics, It was great to dive into conversations more and talk to some guests about their struggles.

Liquid Light

Work has been busy this year and I've been consciously trying to ensure I'm not doing everything at work. It's such a difficult task to undertake and I constantly have to check myself to make sure i'm not taking everything on.

With regards to what I've been looking at and working on, I've been looking into and converting our stack to a Composer-based workflow. I also had a serious lesson on Docker as a couple of our clients required it for hosting - I'm hoping to make a few blog posts out of it.

I also published my first TYPO3 extension (swiftly followed by my second). Call to Actions creates a central CTA repository for use throughout your TYPO3 website. While Shortcodes creates Wordpress-style shortcodes for your TYPO3 site (e.g. [youtube=123]).

Stats

In previous years, I would have included walking, cycling and other stats in this post. However, which the switch to 11ty, I was easily able to make a stats page with exciting-looking graphs.

View the stats page!

Blog writing

As mentioned above, my blog wiring saw a significant boost in 2021 - with helps with the writing schedule I set myself. I very much doubt that out put will be sustained, but it certainly got me in the mood for posting.

Instagram

Beer reviews went through the roof last year! I don't think my beer consumption changed, I just think I was searching for more different beers when I was drinking. I hit 600 posts at the very end of 2021.

Exercise

My cycling suffered badly this year - only making 1,000 miles (and doing less rides than beer reviews). This is a significant drop (nearly half) of 2020. Babies and lockdowns were party to this, along with my own laziness. I've got no-one to blame but myself for this drop-off.

Walking, however, increased. This might be partly to do with me noticing that, when pushing a pram, my watch doesn't count steps properly so I have started moving it to my waist while walking with a child.

Geocaching

I started Geocaching again at the end of 2021 (and I mean, at the very end - my first find after more than 10 years off was on the 23rd December). Geocaching was something I did a long time ago (and I thought it would be good to include my old stats) and it gives me an extra excuse to go out on the bike or for a walk.

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Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.