Where have gone the Mobylettes of Mallorca?

The Mobylette has been an icon of rural Mallorca, which over time we have stopped to hear its loud clang, across the paths and secondary roads on the island. Gradually, we stopped to see those men and women of a certain age, on this kind of reinforced bike with a little and distinctive 49 cc engine. It was used to go from the village to the little farm, with a basked hanging and a box at the rear loaded with the earth fruits or some tools. Going back further in time, in addition to what we have explained, we would see a man and a woman riding on the same Mobylette. A practice removed by traffic regulations, or for mercy of their little engines. Later came those older men and woman with a helmet, which they wouldn’t take off, even when got down the Mobylette. Until in 2003, the European environmental laws prevented the production of its small engine, because it was too polluting. Who would have imaged, that this successful French invention of 1949, after been manufactured more than 30 million units, would end like that, banned, unsuited to the new times.

Behind this bucolic image was hiding a much harder social reality, illiteracy. People who until a few years ago have been riding a Mobykette, often was because they couldn’t even read, which precluded them from driving a car. Because one of the many advantages of the Mobylette, was that to ride it just was required to be older than 14 years old. Today, illiteracy among older people in Mallorca, is almost anecdotal and if anyone can’t pass the driving test, no longer rides a Mobylette but a micro-car.

The answer to the title question, might be to Tunisia or Morocco, where environmental regulations are less severe and still being manufactured. So, if you want to see a brand new Mobylette, you already know were to go.

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