Grandad wrote:in the 60's and 70's a single chainring would have been the norm on most sports bikes, albeit with a five speed block - typically 14 - 24T
My first tour was in 1950 with a school friend when we were both 15. It was 2 weeks of youth hostelling, riding from London to Lands End and exploring Devon and Cornwall. Gears were 14-16-18-20 with a 46 chainring. We rode everything, including Countisbury Hill, apart from a notorious one - name escapes me - up to one of the youth hostels.
My triple now has a 22 chainring and 28 sprocket
A four speed - proper retro (except it was probably cutting edge at the time)!
My first "five speed" was a secondhand BSA Gold Crest on which I could only get the Benelux derailleur to work across four. It had 46 x 14 -22 in theory. It was a Christmas present around 1969 - 70. I still have, and use, the Carradice Nelson saddlebag that came with it.