Mobility is the dream of every adolescent; it has also been the saviour of the human race.
No more do cousins marry cousins. Since the invention of the bicycle they can spread their nets further afield, and find a mate at the next village and beyond.
In France this mobility came by way of the Solex. A simple motorised bike, that could take its youthful rider away from home, and into foreign parts.
These days the Moped/Scooter has replaced the Solex, but I know which I prefer.
I did own a Solex years ago, and I also owned a Peugeot 103 Moped, both were great little bikes. Very economical to run, and a speed that gave you time to appreciate all around you. I'd quite like to buy another one.
For those who are new to the Solex. You start by peddling, then engage the tiny front-mounted motor by pushing forwards on the lever at the front. This allows you to travel up to about 30 kph; unless you are going uphill, when some extra peddling will be required.
They aren't built for speed, but are extremely economical. I think I'm right in saying that there was a minimum age of 14 for their use. What a wonderful invention.
When I was 15,I spent the summer with my penpal in Montauban,SW France.She had a Solex or similar and we would explore her neighbourhood...she on the Solex and me on a pushbike.I held onto her shoulder as we went along,only letting go if a policeman was on traffic duty.Happy memories.ReplyDelete
I can picture the scene exactly. Montauban is lovely too.Delete
I've no sense of balance, so useless for me, but that 2CV - I test drove one, but was persuaded out of it by my then partner. Still regret it.ReplyDelete
We had a blue one; it was wonderful.Delete
Quite a few cities here are partnering with these electric assist bike companies to provide very affordable short term bike rentals for people to use within the city limits. I saw it in my vist to California last summer and it is a hugh success, especially in towns that cater to tourists. I did not try it but it looks like fun and it cut down on the car traffic. I hope to try it on my next visit, but people would be smart to stay far away from me.ReplyDelete
I used to be quite a keen cyclist, but I developed a painful knee, and stopped. There is nothing nicer than cycling around (assisted or not) and viewing the surroundings from a slightly different view point.Delete
My first personal vehicle was a Lambretta scooter.ReplyDelete
My niece now has an electric car and I learned yesterday that they do quite a lot less mileage in cold weather so one needs to plot the journey
via available contact points very carefully.
I have a feeling that far more work is required before electric cars can compete with petrol. I still think that Hydrogen fuelled cars would be best; it just needs someone to invent a way of separating Oxygen from Hydrogen, then we could simply fill our cars with water.Delete
Since I first read this post I've been wracking what passes for my brain to see if I could properly recall what I think I remember from my youth. I'm sure that I remember a motorised bicycle (I was never in France as a child) but I can't find anything that fits what I remember other than a Solex so perhaps there were some in the UK.ReplyDelete
A great deal of my motoring involves travelling from Lewis to Glasgow in a day. It's a journey beyond the capacity of most electric vehicles to complete without recharging the batteries. That takes quite a bit of time and, according to most articles, finding a charger or a vacant charger is not easy: especially between Ullapool and Glasgow. I would happily buy an affordable electric vehicle offering me the carrying capacity of my existing large estate car. A lot of infrastructure has to be put into place for those of us in the minority who do long journeys before electric cars can replace diesel (or petrol).
When I owned my own Solex, I often wondered if it would be allowed off the ferry (on the UK side). I even wrote to some government dep't about taking one over for a short holiday, but received pages of gobbledygook in reply. I was none the wiser.Delete
As for electric cars, I think most of us think much the same. Give us a minimum of 500 miles on one charge, and we'd probably buy.
I remember Solex from when I visited Lot et Garonne in the late 1970s. They always looked fun.ReplyDelete
They were fun. I wish I'd kept mine. I don't even remember what happened to it.Delete
I always wanted one. I have a friend who owns a similar thing made by Ducati!ReplyDelete
A good s/h Solex costs about €250-300 these days. Maybe I'll look around.Delete
A friend of mine started in city bike rental in Long Beach many many years ago. I wonderful if he has motorized bikes for rent now.ReplyDelete
I see them on sale here, but have yet to see one on the road. Maybe they're all in inner cities.Delete
I have really nice bike with a big butt seat and nice basket for light shopping.ReplyDelete