It was back in 1890 that Pirelli began making its “Milano type”, the first tyre for velocipedes – a means of transport that was rapidly evolving at the time, ultimately turning into the modern bicycle. Over time, bicycles became increasingly popular, starting a huge new trend in transport. The twentieth century ushered in the dream of speed, with the launch of some of the greatest car races, such as the Targa Florio and the Le Mans Grand Prix. This was the age of the great motoring expeditions, which pitted teams of drivers against each other on routes they had never tried out before: racing from China to France and then to Spain. And even across the oceans, from New York all the way back to Europe. In the wake of these great races, the automotive industry began mass-producing cars, which circulated more and more throughout the century. Mass motorisation during the economic boom of the 1960s gave Italians a chance to discover a new-found freedom. Cars, but also motorcycles and scooters, enabled them to reach their workplaces, and also to travel around and discover a country that was rising up again. In the late 1940s, Pirelli became the first Italian company to produce tyres for motor scooters, including the legendary Vespas and Lambrettas. The 1973 oil crisis brought the years of the economic boom to an abrupt end. This led to a pressing need to find alternative energy sources and the research and development departments of car manufacturers started looking into the use of electricity. Their studies eventually led to the production of the first electric or hybrid cars. A vision of sustainable mobility came about in the late twentieth century and early 2000s. The search was on for new forms of transport, especially in urban settings, that would respect the environment and reduce emissions. In other words, electric cars, but also a rediscovery of the bicycle. Pedal-assisted bikes are increasingly being used to get around town, often through bike-sharing schemes that redefine the concept of mobility.
A world on the move, from the velocipede to future mobility. Always on Pirelli tyres.