My Fraught Mountain Adventure on a Ryvid Anthem Electric Motorcycle

a motorcycle parked on a beach
My Adventure on a Ryvid Anthem Electric MotorcycleMark Vaughn

An adventure is when you don’t know how things are going to turn out.

I just had an adventure with the stylish and cool Ryvid Anthem electric motorcycle. Ryvid is a company founded by designer Dong Tran. The company builds electric motorcycles right here in Southern California. Their website shows urban hipsters commuting to work at tech startups, disconnecting the 4.3-kWh battery from the bike, and wheeling it into their cubicles to charge all day. Damn those hipsters!

It was the website’s claim of “up to 75 miles range” that launched my adventure. Had I scrolled down just a little further, I would have seen the size of the battery and realized that in order to go 75 miles using only 4.3 kWh, you would have to get more than 17 miles from each kWh, which is actually possible, and I did it later, albeit on flat ground in city traffic.


Of course, I didn’t really consider that before I decided to take the Ryvid 35 miles uphill into the San Gabriel Mountains for the Good Vibrations Breakfast Club. GVBC is held every Friday at the long-closed Newcomb’s Ranch, 5,340-feet up in the San Gabriels on Angeles Crest Highway. One vertical mile effects BEV range.

ryvid anthem electric motorcycle
The Ryvid Anthem electric motorcycle retails for $8,995.Mark Vaughn

Hopelessly optimistic, off I set, wrapped in the best Dainese Gore-Tex riding gear I owned, one eyeball on the amp gauge, one on the road ahead looking for squirrels, and a third eye in the tiny rearview mirrors ready to dodge the Porsches that would soon be blowing by me.

The gauge kept dropping, from 100% after I’d recharged it at the base of the highway, to 75, 50, 25… I was doomed. I finally gave up at a point maybe five miles short of Newcomb’s with the gauge reading 17%.

I knew there was an electrical outlet at the Ranch, but the power had been shut off at that place since it closed shortly after Covid hit. There was a visitor’s center up there, but it wasn’t always open. All I could do was coast downhill and pray to the gods of regenerative braking.

Problem was, it wasn’t all downhill. There were miles-long uphill stretches, which the battery charge gauge didn’t like. At about 12% charge I was back at the gate where ACH was closed for landslide repair. Like everyone else, I’d had to take a bypass route that added 20 miles to the trip, up Upper Big Tujunga Canyon and back to ACH. If I could just take the shorter, closed portion of ACH I might make it to the old ranger station at Red Box. That was closed, too, but there might be an electrical outlet still there, somewhere.

a man wearing a safety vest
Sam from CalTrans.Mark Vaughn

That’s when I met Sam, from CalTrans. The highway maintenance worker had jumped out of his truck and was opening the shortcut gate just as I arrived. I explained my predicament—electric scooter, battery almost empty, hoping to make it to Red Box, help a brother out. Sam let me go. “Just be careful around the construction,” he cautioned.

If I went 5 mph or less, I could draw fewer than 5 amps, it appeared, and I might make it. I sputtered along, cursing my poor planning.

Then I saw Sam again, he was waving. Next to him was a diesel mechanic named Jason who was monitoring two of the biggest portable electric chargers I’d ever seen. SunBelt Rentals, it said on the sides.

“What kind of plug you got?” Jason asked.

“120,” I told him. There, strung from the side of Cummins diesel-powered generator number 1, was a 120-volt power cable! It was a Christmas miracle! I had even brought the little 120-volt charging cable. I plugged in. It fit! Saved by the bolt.

a man standing next to a green truck
Jason from SunBelt Rentals let me plug the Ryvid Anthem in for a charge. Mark Vaughn

Sam drove off. Jason didn’t have anything to do except make sure the two generators kept running, so he was glad for the company. We talked for an hour about everything: our favorite helicopters, the likelihood of V22 Ospreys ever getting in private hands, our favorite jets, the efficiency of diesel engines, the power grid in the mountains that the two generators were feeding while SoCal Edison worked on power lines down in the valley, everything.

After an hour I checked the state of charge: 59%! I was saved! I thanked Jason, hopped on my reborn Ryvid, and powered off down the hill, faith in humanity, diesel power, and SunBelt Rentals fully restored. My fear of being the next Otzi Man, spat out the bottom of a glacier 5000 years after running out of juice, eliminated.

What did it all mean? Plan ahead. Simple. Electric vehicles, even scooters, can work if you plan ahead. Also, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. And God bless CalTrans. And, go rent something from SunBelt Rentals.