RT Cunningham

Bikes with Pedals and Motors – Bicycles Powered by Gasoline or Electricity

bikes - moped Bikes with motors would include motorcycles. I’m focusing on bikes with motors and pedals. The motors can be powered by gasoline (usually called engines) or they can be powered by electricity.

Bikes Called Mopeds

Mopeds have been around a long time. Way back in 1987 and 1988, one of my friends on Okinawa (Japan) rode his moped everywhere on the island. They were obviously around before that.

Over time, I’ve seen various types of mopeds. Some look more like bicycles and some look more like motorcycles. Most push the rear wheel but some push the front wheel. Back in 2014, while I was in Phoenix, Arizona, one of my neighbors rode an actual bicycle with a motor attached to the frame. It pushed the front wheel. It was noisy and I think he made it himself.

Mopeds aren’t eBikes and eBikes aren’t mopeds, or so I’m told. Mopeds are bikes powered by gasoline and eBikes are powered by electricity. A big battery, actually.

Bikes Called eBikes

I saw an eBike in action just after I started my extended vacation and it was here, in base housing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

An Air Force guy was riding what looked like a bicycle with large tires. I saw him a few times while standing in front of the house because his house is visible from here. Yesterday, I saw his wife riding it while I was out walking.

I stopped her (I said “hey” or something) and I asked her if it was a moped. She said no, it was a battery-assisted bike. In other words, an eBike. Out of curiosity, I looked up the brand online after I got home. Rad Power Bikes are a bit more expensive than most mopeds.

I’m Fascinated by Motorized Bikes

I stopped riding bikes for years after getting hit by a moving vehicle on one in 1978. I didn’t ride another until I bought a mountain bike for mobility when I was on Okinawa (more than nine years). It was replaced by a cheap island car when my wife, Josie, joined me about three months later.

I won’t buy any kind of bike while I’m in the United States because I’m only here temporarily. Anything without a motor doesn’t make sense where my house sits in the Philippines. A moped wouldn’t work as well as an eBike, in my opinion. It’s much easier to charge a battery than fill up with gas, even if it takes a bit longer.

Because of rain, sometimes continuously for weeks at a time, I wouldn’t be able to ride it without getting soaked. I sometimes get soaked when riding in a pedicab (called a trike or tricycle in the Philippines), which offers far more protection.

Even though I’m fascinated by eBikes, it probably doesn’t make sense to invest in one. I already own a car there and I haven’t driven it even once (others have). My driver’s license, for me, is little more than a government-issued ID card.

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RT Cunningham
October 6, 2018
Travel and Transportation