RT Cunningham

Electric Bicycles and Scooters Fascinate Me - Mopeds Not So Much

electric scooter Since adulthood, I haven’t had an opportunity to ride an electric bicycle or scooter. Not even a test drive. The only two-wheeled vehicles I’ve ever ridden are regular bicycles.

I never considered riding a gas-powered moped a viable alternative to driving a car. After I left home in 1978, I didn’t live anywhere where a moped could be used safely. At least, not in my opinion.

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. That guy was crazy because he rode it in a lot of places he shouldn’t have. Mopeds 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 electric bicycles. Mopeds are bikes powered by gasoline.

Electric Bicycles and Scooters

I saw an electric bicycle in action just after I started my extended vacation and it was 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. One day, 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 electric bike.

I have yet to see an electric scooter anywhere. Perhaps it’s because I’m not looking for one.

Nothing Electric in My Future

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 later). It was replaced by a cheap island car when my wife, Josie, joined me for a few months.

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. I don’t think a moped would work as well as an electric bike. 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 electric bicycles, 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. I may buy an electric bike someday, but only for fun.

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RT Cunningham
June 4, 2019 4:46 pm
Travel and Transportation