This is the sixth in a series related to the tales inMaking Things Work. These are new material, not excerpts from the book.
It really was as grey as it looks.
Around 1986 I was working at a small English workshop that made custom furniture and kitchens. Every day I rode my bicycle from the dank old row house I shared with three other renters on a quiet street in Cambridge–first to the train station, where I put the bike on the train, then from the station in the countryside to my place of employment, this last leg a short ride that usually took about 10 minutes.
One day in mid-spring I punctured a tire on the way to British Rail-Cambridge. This was years before I’d even heard of cell phones, let alone could have afforded one. There was no way to notify my employers, so my best…
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