Skip to main content

Finding friendship and freedom on an electric skateboard

Finding friendship and freedom on an electric skateboard


How a PEV Facebook group got me through high school

Share this story

Photo by Rain Cervantes
Part of /

Wanting neither a ticking time bomb of a hoverboard nor the hassle of paying for a grimy rental scooter, I worked my ass off at a minimum wage job during the summer of 2017 to afford my first electric skateboard: a Boosted Dual+ V2. Almost every weekend after I forked over my $1,500, I’d take my board out to my local boba cafe. I’d do a couple of laps around my Northern California neighborhood on the way back home, my milk tea in one hand and my remote in the other. 

As a high school student on an uphill battle to get into one of California’s top universities, electric skateboarding became my go-to form of escapism. It allowed me to take a break from the books — and gave me an excuse to go outside. It offered the effortless freedom of a car with the rush of a bicycle. 

My weekend rides were fun, but riding alone got old quickly. I found myself in a small niche of electric skateboard riders who only rode for leisure (instead of using them for commuting). That’s when I discovered Bay Area Esk8 (BAESK8), a San Francisco-based personal electric vehicle Facebook group that frequently hosts rides circumnavigating the city. 

My electric skateboard and my new group of friends opened up parts of the city that I had never seen before. Growing up in suburban Northern California, the trip to San Francisco took at least an hour depending on traffic, and I had already been to all the tourist traps. Now, we weren’t constrained by traffic since we could lane split to our heart’s content, and our PEVs let us seek out spots that no average tourist would get to see. The people, the sights, and the thrill of riding together as one big group made those rides something I’ll never forget. That board and those group rides helped me make it through high school. 

We could lane split to our heart’s content, and our PEVs let us seek out spots no average tourist would get to see

Due to both the pandemic shutting down group rides and my acceptance into San Diego State University, I retired as a rider with BAESK8 in 2020. I bid San Francisco adieu and set a course for Southern California.

Even before I arrived on campus, I went looking for a group like BAESK8 in San Diego. There were a few small groups here and there, but there wasn’t a group in the area that was as active or as PEV-diverse as BAESK8. So, right before classes started, I started a Facebook group called San Diego Electric Skateboarding (SDESK8) along with my friend Rain Cervantes. 

Our inaugural group ride was less of a “group ride” and more of a small get-together with four like-minded gentlemen I had reached out to through Facebook and Instagram. The route was nothing special: just a short eight-mile loop around San Diego’s Mission Bay. Still, it brought back the same sense of community and freedom I found on those short-range bayside BAESK8 rides.

In September 2020, we found out that Super73, the famed Irvine-based electric bike company, was hosting a group ride in San Diego. I made an event post on our Facebook group to “come crash the event” with our electric skateboards and, sure enough, about a dozen members showed up. This was amazing for SDESK8 because it let local e-bike riders know that SDESK8 was a group for all PEV riders and not just electric skateboarders. Following this event, we started to notice more e-bikes, e-scooters, and electric unicycles joining our mix of both production and DIY electric skateboards.

We made a group for all PEV riders — not just electric skateboarders

As SDESK8 grew from a group of a few dozen riders to a group of a few hundred, I knew I needed to bring on more admins. With the help of my friends Kyle, Cody, and Ryan, SDESK8 has grown to over 700 members in the span of only a couple of years.

We hosted “Best in the West” — our largest group ride to date — on August 7th, 2022. It was in collaboration with Los Angeles PEV (LAPEV), and we had over 200 riders in attendance. The sheer number of riders was one hell of a sight on its own, but what really impacted me were our riders’ stories. Some showed up to escape the monotony of their 9-to-5s. Others were high school students wanting one last hurrah before going back to hitting the books. There was even a family who brought along their young son to ride on the back of their electric moped. 

It’s stories like these that make SDESK8 — and personal electric transportation as a whole — so important to me. Experiencing the thrilling and freeing nature that PEVs provide is cool, sure, but getting to experience that with others and seeing the smile on their faces? That’s priceless. That is why I ride.

Sebastian Aniciete is a third-year computer science major at San Diego State University. When they’re not attending lectures or working on campus, you can find them biking, skating, filming, or exploring the virtual skies on Flight Simulator.

More from NextGen 2022

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 5:33 PM UTC Striking out

Andrew Webster5:33 PM UTC
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew Webster4:28 PM UTC
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew Webster1:05 PM UTC
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.

Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.

External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.