A History of Marina on Less-than-4 Wheels
I remember a red tricycle with white handles: it was metal and had stickers on the handle representing various dashboard buttons; I constantly pushed them, not sure what I was hoping for….
My first bike was small, of course, and not very attractive. But I regularly washed it on Saturdays in the summer, as I loved to use the water hose and get wet. I took good care of that first bike.
Few years later the small-wheels bikes became very popular, particularly one named “Graziella”.
Of course I wanted one, but I ended up with a similar bike, called Lola, which, in the end, I preferred over Graziella.
I think I spent every single day in the summers riding, and riding, and riding, I rode everywhere, but especially to a playground near the Cappuccini Church. There, a speed skating track was perfect for riding bikes without worrying about street traffic, even when skaters were there!
I also rode on the roads that were not too busy with traffic. This meant going uphill and downhill; lots of hills in my Italian hometown located at the foot of the Alps.
I think it was then that I began daydreaming about having a small engine that could relieve my huffing and puffing while pedaling uphill.
And one day, while riding with friend, we encountered the sister of one of the girls in our group, on her moped, a Velosolex.
Everybody wanted a turn in riding the moped to the end of the road and back. And I had a turn, too.When I finally released the handles that controlled the accelerator, I began smiling…… Right then, nothing was better than being able to move from here to there without effort. WOW! I had to have one. I was 13, then.
Technically, the Solex is a powered bicycle, not a moped. It was invented in 1946 in France, as a low cost, reliable transport. And it was so cute with the little engine in the front! I wanted one badly!
This was happening around the time when different motorcycle factories were beginning to offer new products targeting the very young. In Italy you may ride a 50cc motorcycle without holding a driver’s license at the age of 14. And so my campaign for getting a moped began: it lasted a whole year. My birthday is conveniently in June, right after the school year ends. My wonderful dad gave me a Ciao Piaggio: I was in 7th HEAVEN!!!!!!
Mine looked just like this one, but in lime green color. I loved my Ciao: to start it, you just had to pedal for few seconds and then…vroooom!
Two or three years later, it was stolen from me :-(, and my super great dad who spoiled his little girl, bought me a Vespa Piaggio. What a great dad!
It was just like this one. I had so much fun riding this scooter.
Only the driver can ride on it, but my friends and I, when needed, did not follow this rule…
My friends and I used to take long rides along the lake in the summer, and, even in the winter, I used to ride it to school (in the rain, snow or sunshine: yeah! that’s how much I liked it).
Some of my friend had different types or motorcycles and sometimes allowed me to ride theirs.
These are a couple I drove:
Antonello’s GILERA 5V TRIAL 50cc
Iserita’s MOTO GUZZI TROTTER 50cc
As the age number grew, the cc’s also grew. Here are few more bikes I had fun driving, but did not own:
Paolo’s SWM 125cc (I had an accident on this one, nothing major, though)
and Aldo’s Ducati Pantha 500cc; I drove this on the autostrada at 200km/hrs!!!!!!
After this i went to 4 wheels, but that’s no fun at all.
I can so imagine you when you were younger-great memories and great writing! You rock-as usual :)Michelle
I am jealous! I have wanted a motorcycle for a very long time, but have never had a chance to learn to ride. This is one of my big life goals – Maybe I should start this summer!
you should, Sarah! I always felt so free when riding a bike; I guess in older times I probably would have ridden horses…. anyhow, don’t wait, the longer you wait, the more worries about what could happen will stop you… 🙂
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