First published on 3 May 2011. Updated on 20 Jun 2012.
Get your motor running!
There's something oddly liberating about speeding down the pathways of the Fitzroy Gardens in a bright red billy-cart as hordes of lunching office workers look at you with a strange mixture of curiosity and wariness.
They needn't have been so worried. Well, except for those walking on the pathways themselves - still getting to grips with the braking mechanisms, they probably had a 50/50 chance of me sideswiping their ankles as I frantically tried to come to a stop.
None of which really explains why I was, in fact, speeding down the pathways of the Fitzroy Gardens in a bright red billy-cart. So let me introduce the F.11 Gravity Racer, the latest and greatest in billy-cart racing technology - oh yes; there's a billy-cart racing scene. Lightweight, compact, impressively manoeuvrable, able to take over 85kg and equipped to hit speeds of 40 km/h, the F.11 is to regular billy carts what cold fusion is to knocking two bits of stone together.
I had initially, being the rigorous journalist that I am, glanced at the promotional material and assumed I was going to be test-driving a regulation go-kart, belching engine and all. So you can imagine my surprise when I was presented with a pre-moulded slab of plastic and wheels and told to get in. A little hesitantly I piled myself into the driver's seat, strapped on a fashionable helmet and then... went. And it was great. Unlocking-your-inner-child-style-great. At the bottom of the hill, a little terrified and giggling somewhat maniacally I carried the cart back up to the top of the hill and immediately went down again. Dodging startled office workers as I went. Fortunately by this point I had learned to brake and/or steer, so that was nice. Although I certainly wasn't doing any power slides or 360s, which are both things this machine is perfectly capable of.
You’d think that the target market for this bad boy is the father-son demographic, but I’m not sure so. With a bit of work, I could see a couple of these contraptions in the back alley of some hipster enclave, dudes in skinny jeans with a Coopers Pale between their legs rocketing down the hill as their mates cheered them on. It could be a while away yet, but hey, with Mad Men about we've already started retrenching the 1960s; the billy cart has got to be due for a fashion resurgence sooner or later. Right?
The F.11 Gravity Racer ($249.95) is available to purchase.