From The C5 To The Electric Scooter

Dr Stuart Woolley
Geek Culture
Published in
9 min readOct 18, 2021

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Short range commuting can be revolutionised if politicians get backbone and people complain more loudly!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Assumptions and Foundations

It’s a bit of a stretch already as I’ve clearly stated in the tagline above that politicians would have to have a backbone to push through the necessary changes I’m going to outline in this article. (Let’s not mention commuting either, as I go into that a few times later on — just read footnote [4] every time I mention it. I have strong feelings on commuting, just look at my articles.)

This, of course, directly conflicts with their usual modus operandi of focussing only on short term projects, within their short term of governance, with the primary focus being on their re-election.

So, put that aside and suspend reality, let’s go on a gentle journey together.

A Trundle Down Memory Lane

Although I was on the other team (more precisely, 6502) during my own 8-bit years and didn’t actually own a ZX-81 or Sinclair Spectrum, the late Sir Clive Sinclair’s attitude to innovation and marketing always fascinated me from a very early age.

He always had those extremely alluring advertisements in the Sunday papers in the very early 1980s stating the what was once ludicrous prospect of actually owning a home computer for less than £100 sterling¹.

Of course, he’s majorly remembered for his brief dominance of the home computer market but should also be very definitely remembered for his pretty astounding pocket calculator, the Sinclair Executive, the notorious Black Watch, and the not so astounding, pocket televisions that came earlier.

He was a man not at all afraid to throw money at a project that he had a personal belief in, the most poignant of which (that really didn’t do so very well at all) being the Sinclair C5 electric vehicle².

Although we remember some products as being tricky to assemble, operate, or downright flakey in implementation (he was notorious for cutting costs) we must also remember that he was a man truly decades ahead of his time.

He ploughed an enormous amount of money into projects that ultimately came to nothing back in the 1970s and…

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Dr Stuart Woolley
Geek Culture

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.