News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 6

This was first seen in the September 9th edition of the Guardian  newspaper. 
A  normally  interesting  article by Jim White  on  the  Sinclair  asthmatic 
tricycle,  or to give its official name, the Sinclair C5, suddenly got a lot 
more interesting near to the end! Well why? Well read on! - CiH, 12.9.02

Driving  through  town the other day,  I saw something I hadn't seen for  15
years.  It  was a man struggling to traverse a road bridge while sitting  in
what  appeared to be a plastic bathtub with wheels attached.  As he pedalled
gamely while bicycles overtook him, as joggers sped past, as an old man on a
zimmer  frame  kept  pace,  I was gripped with nostalgia.  He was driving  a
Sinclair C5,  the vehicle that was supposed to revolutionise urban transport
in the 21st century.

When  Clive Sinclair,  a man who had made a fortune pioneering the  personal
computer,  announced  that he was going to move into personal transportation
back  in the mid-80's,  it is hard to overstate how excited everyone became.
Cheap, efficient, clean, environmentally friendly: what a prospect this was,
we all thought.  Until we saw the C5 in action. On the launch day in central
London, Sinclair despatched several squads of youths in C5's to drive around
town  showing off the swanky new future.  As a public relations stunt it was
up  there with Uri Geller's attempt to reacquaint himself with  the  British 
public's  affection  by going on live television and stroking  Tara  Palmer-
Tomkinson's rear in much the same way he used to fondle spoons.

The youths were universally mocked at every turn.  So pilloried were they on
their  day's ride,  that when the heavens opened and the coverless  vehicles
all  ground  to a halt,  filled with unforgiving puddles,  the riders simply
abandoned  their  mounts where they had died and headed for  the  comforting
anonymity  of the tube.  The musical satirist Richard Stilgoe finally mocked
the C5 into oblivion,  when he announced that he had bought one, not to use,
but  as an investment.  He said he was going to keep it in its original box, 
under the stairs,  waiting for the time to sell it on as a fascinating folly 
of the '80's.

However,  the  man  I spotted clearly believed the vehicle,  even now,  had a
future.  His name was Chris Crosskey,  and he was warming up,  he explained,
for an attempt to become the first man to drive from John O'Groats to  Lands 
End in a C5 (Ed-Note,  from one end of the UK to the other.) Not perhaps the
world's  most  pursued ambition,  but a worthy one nonetheless.  And in  the
month  of  the (environment) world summit,  when a vehicle as clean  as  his
should have been lauded as the way forward, he set off.

Unfortunately,  the  way forward is not one a C5 knows,  and Mr Crosskey was
forced to abandon his effort north of Edinburgh, after completing 350 of the
required  950 miles,  Mechanical failure was the explanation.  He'll be back
next year,  he says, Presumably after he has negotiated a price with Richard

Jim White.

Yes,  it  is  *that*  Chris  Crosskey,  the man behind  'Abingdon  Synthesis 
Projects',  and  various Atari shows,  particularly the Stafford AMS series,
the last of which saw me share stand space (and unloading the van) with him.
The amazing thing is,  that when Guardian Journo Jim went to talk to him, he
got off scot-free on the Robot Wars anecdotes! I know we didn't!

Alive 6