Electra Bike Forum (EBF)—A Great Way to Enjoy Special Bikes.
This is a story about one man’s passion for bikes exploding into a way to exchange information, show-off their handiwork and meet to turn wheels together. Jimmy, a local San Diegan, has been enjoying customizing bicycles for quite some time. Although many brands get his special treatment, Electra bikes seem to be his favorite. One day, his thoughts turned to one of sharing.
With a background in website design, he set-out to bring about a way for Electra fans world-wide to come together via the internet. The success of this site has been phenomenal. Tips, photos and sources for the bits and pieces it takes to build the Electra of your dreams are swapped everyday. You might know that Electra bikes come from the factory anywhere from basic plain-Janes, to some of the coolest customs you will find. Still, the human will to go even further is strong.
As the forum continued to grow, the desire to meet in person was born. One member, Jeb, threw out a date and place and urged the members to join in on a meet and ride. The day was a success and the EBF group rides just keep growing. The rides are easy paced, filled with fun and are very family oriented. Locations are varied and always in places with great scenery to add to the excitement.
They recently (last June) celebrated a complete year of awesome people meeting who just can’t get enough of the EBF group rides. The camaraderie is easy to feel and even the stock Electras gain noticed attention. There is always time before the ride to swap stories and tips, and ogle every bike in attendance. Many of the people have more than one custom modified Electra, so there are different bikes on hand for every ride.
This is where I come in. Last spring I caught wind of this group, so my wife and I decided to give one a try. We don’t own Electra Bikes, but the only requirement to be involved is a bike and a smile. On our first outing with the EBF, we couldn’t have brought two bikes that fit in any less. Still, we were accepted and started to grow friendships with the members. Sometimes we bring our vintage or cruiser bikes, but usually they are bikes I have for testing (E-bikes or folding bikes it seems).
So we have ridden with the Electra Bike Forum many, many times. Every ride has been great. The day-time rides are filled with kids on custom Electras, kids being hauled in bike trailers and members of both genders (and pets too). This balance adds a special touch to the rides we don’t get with any of the other groups we ride with. The need to tailor the rides to people of all ages and interests is also what makes them so different.
The night-time rides are geared more for the adults. Like the bikes and people themselves, the lights on these rides can be pretty spectacular. It’s hard to say whether the day or night rides are my favorite, but I do have to admit, having the kids join in can really spice-up any excursion. They bring that extra feel of fun and a sense of freedom to the rides that remind me of my youth on a bike. This is a hard to beat combination.
On some rides we go to a fun place to eat and then ride back to the starting point after. On others, the eating option waits until the ride is over and many of the riders will sit together for a family style meal. A recent beach picnic ride was so perfect, it seems that I am still talking about it months later. It was the perfect mix of people, bikes, food, and organization. Our last ride was a Christmas themed event with rolling music and decorations on the bikes and riders alike.
As we sat, ate and talked after this last ride, I got a chance to learn more about how the forum came to be. Ideas for up-coming rides were thrown around. Theme rides look like they are in the future of the EBF and now several different types of rides are hitting the planners mindset. I am looking forward to many fun and varied rides as the group gets bigger and the bikes get cooler.
Like the rides themselves, you are not required to be an Electra owner to join in on the forum pages. If you want, you can view all there is to offer without registering. But, by signing in, you can post photos of your Electra(s) and add to the commentary with suggestions, tips and compliments. All the posts are first viewed and approved by the administrator before they are put-up for all to see. So, the family feel extends to the forum and any unnecessary negativity will not be part of the experience.
The Electra Bike Forum is an independent publication and although it is in the good graces of the Electra company, they do not endorse or affiliate with it. I do know for a fact that there are members that work for Electra, and getting to know them has been great. If you have viewed their catalog or website, then you know just how far Electra goes to offer some of the coolest accessories and modification parts for the bikes in their line-up.
The rides the EBF organizes locally might be too far from your hometown to join in. If you do happen to come this way for vacation or work, do your best to find a way to make one part of your plans. Or another way to make it work could be to put-together your own Electra rides where you live. You might be surprised just how many of great Electras (custom or stock) are in your neighborhood.
EBF group rides, my personal favorite, Turbo Bob.
“Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”—Grant Petersen.
Here is a link to the EBF page
You will find the EBF on Facebook too
Looking for an Electra or a local dealer? Here is their site
I shot this video in the Electra booth at Interbike. You can get a look at some of the cool customs
I have shot a few videos of EBF rides, here’s one