Seriously good fun and far easier to handle than it looks
The latest beach craze ﬁts into a suitcase and hits
speeds of 90kph. Enter the blokart. Words: Richard Moore
Photos: Jonathan Littlejohn
cotland's beaches: what are
they good for? Absolutely
nothing? That may have been a perfectly reasonable response. until the blokait came along.
The blokan has been seen in New Zealand for four years and in Scotland for only five months. lts arrival into Scotland was low-key. hidden among the baggage of Tom Duffin. a retuming holidaymaker and owner of Fdinburgh’s Another Planet. a shop which sells ‘anything as long as it’s fun’. It's not as if Duffin was trying to conceal his latest toy - the
blokart folds into a suitcase-size bag and tops the scales at 25kg - but he knew he had a prize asset on his hands.
Actually. ‘fun’ hardly begins to describe the three—wheeled blokart. as many have since discovered. with Duffin touring the country. offering unsuspecting beach-strollers an opportunity to taste and enjoy the blokaning experience.
And what an experience it is. These things are seriously good fun and far easier to handle than they look. Once assembled you simply
Anyone seen a beach?
‘TWenty-five mph feels pretty fast on a blokart, but at over 30mph it’s like sensory overload.’
climb aboard and take off. Someone might issue instructions. but there's no need to listen: trial and error soon teaches its own lessons.
Otherwise. the only challenge is to restrain yourself: over-excited yelps could come back to haunt you as you clamber from the blokan and attempt to rescue it from sinking sand. while a gust of wind threatens to wrench the vessel from your clutches. I speak from bitter experience.
Disaster averted and you're back in your blokart. scuttling along the beach and fielding jealous glances from people desperate to have a go. but not too sure how to go about it.
Their appeal seems to be as wide as the beach at St Andrews. where I had my test drive. The beauty of the blokart. says Duffin. is that people can do it to their own level: ‘You can go
very fast. or you can just potter
On one trip to an East Lothian airfield. he recalls that he had an entire family all scooting around. from a three-year old - to his 72-year-old ‘pot- bellied grandmother'.
But. equally. blokans can appeal to the hardened seeker of more extreme thrills. A top speed of 90kph has been recorded in New Zealand. while here. on St Andrews beach. one blokan was recently recorded doing 55kph.
The pilot on that occasion - Brendan. an Aussie - is claiming a UK
record. 'It's one of those rushes of
adrenaline.~ he explains. ‘Twenty-five mph feels pretty fast on a blokart. but at over 30mph it's like sensory overload.’
At £15(X). it‘s perhaps advisable to leave the credit card at home if you do venture to a beach and bump into the blokans. Now that could be dangerous.
Wendy , Woolfson, ' 30, cycle couner
; mountain bike with slick tyres ' George Square, Glasgow ' i've only been doin this job tor a month, and I’m the only female cycle courier in Glasgow. l was looking tor a job that would pay me for i doing something I love. .
Glasgow is getting better for cyclists.'though it’s still . not that cycle-friendly. They’ve just put in more cycle lanes, alongside the ' , traffic. on Arger Street and Byres Road. And around Central Station there are lanes that allow you to cross with the green man.
But We found that the Glasgow drivers love women. They let me out in. front of them; it’s unheard 01. Even taxi and van drivers; the other couriers can’t believe it.
The other day a cab driver shouted: ‘You're the nicest looking biker I’ve seen’. i just smiled back.
V Conlnon Wheel Bicycle Project Maryhill. Glasgow. 0141 946 0777. Old bikes reconditioned by peOpIe with mental health problems and sold to the public. Visit by
Go Bike! The Strathclyde cycle campaign, PO Box 15175. Glasgow G4 9LF’. 07932 460093. Spokes St Martin's Church. 232 Dalry Road. Edinburgh EH11 2JG. 0131 313 2114.
24 THE LIST 10—24 May 2001
Campaigning for cyclists' rights and improved facilities in the Lothians.
Scottish Cyclists’ Union The Velodrome. Meadowbank Stadium, London Road. Edinburgh. EH7 GAD,
0131 652 0187. The governing body for all forms of cycle sport in Scotland including road racing, time trialing, track racing, cross- country and downhill mountain biking. Scottish Cycling
Development Project c/o Glasgow City Council, Land Services: Cycle Unit. Richmond Exchange. 20 Cadogan Street. Glasgow. G2
7AD. 0141 287 9374. A
joint initiative created by the two key cycling
bodies in Scotland. the Cyclists' Touring Club and Scottish Cyclists' Union. and also funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, HEBS and Glasgow City Council. It aims to encourage more peOpIe to ride bikes by