Top Gear Thursday: Show Inspires Mobility Scooter Rentals

James May, left, and Richard Hammond on mobility scooters in Wales. (BBC America)

James May, left, and Richard Hammond on mobility scooters in Wales. (BBC America)

So, you think that all of Top Gear’s explosions, crazy challenges and automotive mayhem are just for your amusement?

Think again, petrolhead!

You may remember the episode from Season 18 in which Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond went to a small town in Wales to test specially designed mobility scooters, those power-operated vehicles that appear to be crosses between wheelchairs and mini-motorbikes.

These particular scooters were aimed to be used not just in typical city or suburban settings but outdoors on somewhat more rugged terrains, like fields and trails, as well.

Well, that segment inspired a Scottish community center in Argyll to use and rent out sturdier scooters for real.

Jim Galbraith, the director of the Network Carradale visitors’ center on the Kintyre peninsula, saw the show and thought that the mobility scooters would make an excellent addition to the center’s mountain bike rental operation. Galbraith got in touch with Top Gear to get recommendations, and now the center rents out two of the buggies to visitors on a regular basis.

Mobility scooter in Scotland (BBC News)

Mobility scooter in Scotland (BBC News)

“I think it’s fantastic,” local resident Michael Trott told BBC NEWS. “It means that if a family comes down here with someone who’s elderly or less able, then they can actually join them in outdoor activities at the same time.”

• Top Gear Season 20 is coming! Of course you knew that, but the news is that we now have more of an idea *when* it’s coming. But only a general idea: our own BBC America website reports that it will start sometime this summer. We’ll keep you updated.

• Forza Motorsport 5 will be a launch title of the new Xbox One. That means that the ever-popular racing game will be available at the same time as the eagerly awaited new gaming system itself. That news was confirmed both by Microsoft and by the Forza folks in a tweet.

It’s also widely assumed that Top Gear will once again play a significant role in the game’s newest iteration. VG24/7, the gaming website, wrote that the Top Gear logo on the game’s cover art (see tweeted photo above) suggests that “Forza 5 will play home to more branded content from the show.”

Here’s a quick preview of the game:

• Was there life before Top Gear? We can’t remember back that far. But what about the hosts? If they didn’t exist, Top Gear would have had to create them. But before there was Top Gear, if one of them went into a forest and a tree fell, and they weren’t cutting it down with a chain-saw, would anyone have heard them scream if the tree fell on them? We’re sure you can follow our string of clichés and metaphysical logic here, but even if you can’t, you can perhaps marvel at this piece of evidence of the existence of a pre-Top Gear Richard Hammond. He’s reviewing a sports car on a show called Motor Week. Here is the rare footage, obtained through exhaustive forensic and anthropological research, from sources dating back to the last century:

• Let’s end on this note: what happens when the Stig meets Honda’s pet robot Asimo? Asimo is beyond excited, but the Stig…well, just watch.