Every Friday night, when the weather allows, dozens of people on electric skateboards, “yukes” (electric unicycles), scooters, and e-bikes take to the streets for a four-hour tour of Portland. With their electric vehicle of choice decked out in LED lights, these riders put on a show for onlookers and spread the e-riding gospel.
This event, called the Friday Night Ride, got its due in the The Oregonian/Oregon Live last week with a story and video by Samantha Swindler that captures how passionate its participants are. According to the story, the Friday Night Ride started out as a gathering for Onewheels (one-wheeled, electric-assist skateboards) four years ago. But over time, it morphed into something more.
At the heart of the Friday Night Ride is Robert David Cyders, known in the Onewheel community as “Uno Wheeler,” who was one of the first event organizers and its biggest champion. Cyders fell in love with the Onewheel while working at The eBike Store in north Portland (which has a long history with high-tech unicycles), his friends and fellow e-riders interviewed in the article say he brought a sense of community to the Friday Night Ride that turned it into an almost religious experience.
Cyders died almost two years ago after suffering from a heart condition for several years, and though participants and organizers say it’s not the same without him, the Friday Night Ride lives on.