A billy cart is a wheeled vehicle designed and built for children to experience speed, danger, excitement, skinned knees and occasional fractures.

There are a number of features that distinguish a billy cart from any other vehicle.

  • The billy cart will generally have four wheels, although that number can go as high as eight, depending on availability. The number of wheels during use will sometimes go as low as none.
  • A billy cart is powered by gravity, and occasionally by a push from somebody standing behind it. If it has pedals, batteries, solar panels, steam, internal combustion or horses, it is not a billy cart.
  • A billy cart is allowed to make use of fictional and/or non-functioning propulsion systems. Hyperdrives, jet boosters, go go gadget arms, ailerons, racing stripes, rudders, pteranadon wings, flux capacitors and flashing lights are all acceptable.
  • Most billy carts are built of recycled materials, although some new items are allowed. Ideally, the billy cart will have wheels taken from at least two different sources. Popular options include strollers, skateboards, tricycles and wheelbarrows.
  • A billy cart may have steering and braking options, however these should generally be improvised from rope and demonstrate a deep and troubling lack of understanding of physics higher than the middle grades.
  • The building of a billy cart may have adult input, but the bulk of the work ought to be performed by those willing to test it, which usually rules out most grown ups. The best adult input for a billy cart comes from uncles or grandfathers.
  • While some braking mechanism is allowed, suspension is absolutely forbidden, as are any speed limiting devices.
  • Billy carts have no maximum passenger limit.

To operate a billy cart, there must be at least one attached rope. The main uses of the rope are for hauling the billy cart uphill, and hanging onto on the way down. Ropes also make ideal steering controls, and can be used to tie multiple billy carts together for maximum impact (I use the word advisedly).

The best billy carts can be in use for generations, being built, rebuilt, improved, adjusted and repeatedly wrecked for decades. As with a good wine, a billy cart matures with age.

A really good day out with a billy cart is as follows:

  • 10% careening down a hill while hanging on for dear life
  • 1% landing on something unpleasant (prickles, concrete, your sister) at the bottom of the hill
  • 20% tinkering with the wheels because you've just had a really cool idea
  • 69% hauling it back up the hill

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