Column Eight: Saddled with a new version

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Shares in Casket remained rooted to the boards yesterday after the the bicycles and clothing group announced an exclusive agreement to manufacture and distribute a revolutionary LotusSport machine.

The more athletic among you will recall a similar contraption on which Chris Boardman won Britain a cycling gold medal in the Barcelona Olympics last summer.

Despite the interest the space-age bike generated at the time, Casket shares flickered not one jot from their opening 35p.

This might be because the 'unique range of high performance LotusSport bicycles' in question are not quite in the same league as the Olympic version. The all-conquering 'carbon monocoque' is the subject of an entirely separate agreement between Lotus and SP Systems, the aerospace component manufacturer.

The indicated departure of Roger Smith, former chairman of General Motors, from the board has caused a wry smile or two. Mr Smith, widely blamed for the car maker's troubles, has been dogged by Michael Moore, an amateur film maker who has tried to get Mr Smith to explain why he was exporting jobs and making thousands of US car workers redundant while tripling his own salary and pension benefits.

As Mr Smith joins the ranks of Detroit's unemployed, Mr Moore has been hired by NBC to produce a weekly news magazine. The first will be a look at the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Slippery floors - that is the latest addition to British Rail's vocabulary designed to reassure passengers that it is in control. Bewildered travellers on commuter lines are now told that they might be late for their train because they might fall over in rushing to catch it.

Those thinking of an excursion to the antipodes might give careful thought to the following traveller's tale.

Apparently the Bank of New Zealand, after a programme of rationalisation, is so hard put to it to provide currency that in London it advises interested parties to approach Thomas Cook for the funds.