“Man shall not live on bread alone” (Jesus Christ, ~0 AD). The usual interpretation of this nugget of knowledge from perhaps the most famous person in human history is that one’s material possessions alone cannot lead to deep satisfaction. Yet our physical possessions greatly influence our ability to interact with, participate in and enjoy the world.

Imagine you are a teenager at a loose end in a boring suburb of town without a car, job or much money. If you own a good bicycle, your level of independence can increase dramatically. The area over which you can roam in a given amount of time is increased 9 fold (as bicycles travel on average 3 times faster than walking for a given level of effort). If the bicycle is attractive, it could even boost your level of pride. Laptops, smart phones, tools for a variety of purposes and stationary equipment can all have a similarly empowering effect on one’s life.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I would like to present some of the hardware which I am most proud of. These pieces of kit have improved my life and, in some cases changed it.

Bicycles

It is no secret that I love bicycles. They have changed my life for the better, making me fitter, faster and more independent. I’ve also seen good bicycles dramatically improve people’s lives. Another great thing about bikes is that there are easily enough natural resources for everyone worldwide to realistically aspire to own one. This is not the case for cars, which will always remain inaccessible to the world’s poor. Whether or not everyone can aspire to own multiple bikes is another question. Without dwelling on this question further, I proudly present my bicycles, in order of frequency of use.

Touring bike

The touring bike is a ‘do anything’ machine for daily transport, good for moderately rough offroad trails, speedy road rides and carrying the weekly shop. The archetypal tourer is a perfect comprimise between speed, strength and stability. A good touring frame should last a lifetime and, being sturdier, the components should need replacing infrequently. Although tourers are ideal for ‘round the world’ type trips, they are also great for daily transport tasks.

Mine is a Thorn Club Tour, a steel-framed beauty which is a joy to ride and should last me the rest of my life if treated well. I bought it off Ebay for £600.

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BMX(s)

Watch this space…

Computers

Tools