the surprising usefulness of lacklustre tools

scheduleAugust 27, 2021

A bicycle, the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the great troubles of becoming the kind of person who tinkers with things or tries to figure out what the best tool for the job is the resulting, endless search for the perfect tool for the job.

It’s something that makes perfect, logical sense. If there’s a job that needs doing, then it makes sense to use the best possible tool. The trouble, however, is that the perfect tool tends to be the one that you don’t have. It’s a bit lighter or it has slightly higher specs.

This sort of thing has really shown itself to me when it comes to cycling. The bike that I am currently riding is not set up well for the environment in which I ride it. There are rolling hills and long steady climbs. It’s got 26-inch wheels because it’s a repurposed mountain bike. The gearing doesn’t feel logical for the kind of riding that I do.

But it’s the only bike that I have and it’s a bike that took me to the ocean and back. I climbed over 1500 metres with it. I got to see the beautiful west of Scotland. I got to experience the joy of travelling in a magical landscape at a human pace.

And I did it with a second-hand bike that I bought for £100 last year. Nobody would choose to do that journey with that bike. But because there wasn’t an alternative, it was, absolutely, the perfect tool for the job.


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