Funky Mopeds by Richard Skelton

A time of simpler, funkier pleasures
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The Independent Culture

On 15 December 1971 John Peyton, the Minister of Transport in the Heath government, created a monster. In trying to keep 16-year-old motorcyclists to sensible speeds the government limited them to riding machines with a 50cc maximum engine capacity. "So what?", the nation's kids and the bike manufactures declared. We'll just make our little bikes go faster and faster. The "Sports Moped" was born, immortalised in Jasper Carrot's ballad "Funky Moped". By the end of the 1970s ministers acted again, and limited speeds to 30mph. The funky moped era was over.

On 15 December 1971 John Peyton, the Minister of Transport in the Heath government, created a monster. In trying to keep 16-year-old motorcyclists to sensible speeds the government limited them to riding machines with a 50cc maximum engine capacity. "So what?", the nation's kids and the bike manufactures declared. We'll just make our little bikes go faster and faster. The "Sports Moped" was born, immortalised in Jasper Carrot's ballad "Funky Moped". By the end of the 1970s ministers acted again, and limited speeds to 30mph. The funky moped era was over.

This book is a celebration of what I recall schoolchums calling Yammies, Suzies and the like. Full of period ads, long hair and flares, part of me wants to wince while I also find a vague nostalgic yearning for a happier, simpler time. The period charm of a 1970s funky moped? I never thought I'd see it, or feel it. Here it is.

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