Some folk dismiss our love of giro flyers, 175cc (or even less) of Latin lightweights that competed in the Italian Gran Fondo races. Typical Italian nonciness, they say. Us Brits like our steeds big and chunky. Really?
Until 1971 Brits were allowed a 250cc bike from their 16th birthday, no questions (let alone tests) asked. Cars were a no-go zone 'till you hit 17, but from '71 Big Brother decided 50cc bikes with pedals were the limit. They'd not seen what the Italian could squeeze from 50cc. And when they did (Although it was 1977 by the time they noticed) 50cc bikes were limited to 30mph.
So for a certain age group, sports mopeds were all we dreamt of (well, that and the lovely Julie who sat behind me in French. And that girl in Chemistry was..sorry, drifted off)and for me a Garelli Rekord would have completed my world (and, unbelievably, I thought would allow me to nick the lovely Julie from her Ford Escort driving boyfriend.) A good friend's dad had a Garelli franchise, and he had a blue Rekord in 1975. I stayed on for A levels so had a Puch M2...tragic.
So celebrate the Italian 'peds and ignore the claim they'd do 60mph - assuming you still weigh the 9 stone dripping wet you amounted to at 16. But even 45mph was unbelievable when a push-bike was all you'd had at your disposal before
(Thanks to Ian Scott for the pic of his fab restoration)