Motorized bicycles are not a new idea. In fact, the idea first became popular in the 1970’s during the oil crisis when lines to gas stations stretched on for blocks. Companies like Honda and Puch began offering small motorcycles that had a small gasoline engine and pedals. These were the original mopeds. They did not require tags or insurance. One could ride them where bicycles could ride. The engine was limited to a carbureted two-cycle 50 cc unit. Top speed was around 30 mph and with its one gallon fuel tank, one could travel 100 miles or more. Such vehicles were great for inner city travel and allowed one to spend less time waiting in line for gasoline.
Fast forward to 2015 and there is still interest in motorized bicycles. One of the more advanced offerings is the GinzVelo invented by Peter Ginzburg in Virginia. It features a recumbent stance, a fiberglass/foam body shell, an electric motor instead of the blue smoke belching two-cycle engine, and three wheels. The body shell protects the rider from the elements and perhaps offers some crash protection. The electric motor is an efficient 500 watt brushless hub unit and when it is combined with a 48 volt, 20 Ah lithium polymer battery it can propel the vehicle to 20 mph for a range of 75-100 miles. The three wheels eliminate the need for balancing. Technology has changed substantially in the last 40 years.