When I was a kid, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and the McRib® was yet to delight a nation of eager gastronauts, America became awash in mopeds. Half motorbike, half pedal bike, and all fun, these 50-cc two-stroke conveyances littered my high school bike racks like so many wheezy mosquitos. Peugeot, Puch, Minarelli and Motobecane all jockeyed for space, and after school the air was filled with a sound akin to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir – farting in unison.
The attraction of the moped back then was the lack of need for a motorcycle license to operate one. I didn’t sink that low, choosing to go the license route and riding an almost as small, but pedal-less Honda. I put a ton of miles on that little honda, and as I recall, I never saw that many mopeds while I was out collecting bugs with my face.
Not only were they seemingly only being used between high school and some unknown alternate location, but after only a few years, they seemed to disappear almost entirely. There were so many, back in the day, that it seems impossible that they’ve all gone to the big junkyard in the sky, but that appears to be the case. Today, mopeds seem as rare on the roads, and high school bike racks as g-string wearing monkeys, and with oil companies acting like Charlie Sheen in defending their price gouging, that seems a shame.
So why do you think the moped has gone the way of Elvis? Is it because of licensing changes, or maybe pollution standards? Is it because there is no way to look cool while riding one? Or, is it an insidious plot by the oil companies and the ShamWow guy that we all drive cars so we can wash them and then dry them using the. . . ShamWow? I’m scared, are you?
Image source: [1977moped.com]