Moped Mania

Moped Mania

by classic-bike |
Published on

For thousands of riders, a 50cc machine was their first taste of independent travel and freedom. We celebrate three decades of change which saw the moped transformed from humble commuter to totem of teen rebellion, with first-hand accounts of why the buzz of these little beauties gets under your skin and can be a difficult habit to kick

1960s Workers’ playtime

The moped was basically a commuter device, but also a passport to freedom for teenagers. Publisher and pedal-pusher David Beare describes his initiation to the road

When I was a teenager in mid-1960s Switzerland owning a moped provided a form of freedom unknown in previous years. I was no longer tied to bus timetables or having to cadge a lift from my parents. A moped represented complete freedom of movement and a canny way of increasing my geographical network of girlfriends, a very important aspect of being a teenager! Back in those days, neither helmets nor protective outerwear were required. We just rode around in whatever we were wearing on the day – unless it was wet, in which case a mackintosh was used.

My first moped was a 1963 Paloma, a French make with a Lavalette engine, but it was restricted to 30kph (18mph) by legislation then current in Switzerland. It soon became apparent that French-sourced Palomas were a lot faster than this, so I bought all the derestricted bits in France (bigger carb and inlet pipe) and knocked out the restrictor ring fitted to the inlet port. It was a revelation! However, I got arrested several times for speeding by municipal cops pursuing me in a VW Beetle, so had to put back all the restricted gear to get it through the technical inspection again.

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