Ride, Don't Walk - Stab Mag

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Photos by Corina Rose Stephens

Ride, Don’t Walk

This Swedish E-bike brand is solving the world’s problems, one slice at a time.

elsewhere // Sep 16, 2013
Words by Corina Stephens
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you ever: 

  • Surfed in subpar conditions because there were no parking spots at your first choice wave?
  • Been in a foreign destination and had to hoof it to the pub/club/best local spot?
  • Attempted to attend the Eddie Aikau Invitational and had to trudge 5K to enjoy the festivities?
  • Nearly completed a successful rhino-poaching mission, only to have your spoils foiled by an anti-poaching league?
The Stab crew, CAKEd-up in Hawaii.

If you said yes to any of the above, you may be entitled to compensation. Or at least a hot tip. And possibly a $1.43 million fine.

To those unfamiliar with modern-day transit jargon, these issues — save the last — are referred to as the “first and last mile” problem: a challenge that many commuters face in getting from the starting point of their journey to the place of transportation, and then from the transportation stop to their destination. 

For example, you book a strike mission to your favorite international wave, but the closest accommodations are a mile from the walkout point. Do you rent a car and spend the week driving the minuscule route to and fro? Do you suck it up and make the walk? Or borrow or rent a bicycle that may or not be available at said accommodations? 

Nay, I say. You deserve better. And there are solutions!

Meet Blake Michel: a full-time Stab filmer/editor whose secret passion is running dirt tracks and ripping donuts on high-powered motorized vehicles. He had an absolute field day in Hawaii with our CAKE bikes.

One such solution arrived in late 2017, when rentable e-scooters and bikes began inundating urban centers, to the enjoyment of micro-commuters and vandals alike. For every transit gap that these Bird, Lime, or electrified Razor scooters bridged, they made you feel doubly like Steven Glansberg.

Thankfully since the late twenty-teen explosion of micro-commuter vehicles, a few other (less mortifying and more permanent) solutions have met the market.

Industrious and highly effective, CAKE bikes can travel up to 55 mph/88 kph(!)

Enter CAKE (not the 90s ironic geek-rock band): a Swedish electric bike company, solving a litany of modern transportation problems. Designing a motorbike that was ecologically sustainable, non-noisy, and easy to use (or, as the Cake mantra goes, “light, quiet, and clean”) became the hallmark of what is now one of the world’s premier electric motorbike manufacturers.

During the 2022-23 Hawaii surf season, the Stab team was delivered a fleet of their playful yet powerful machines including their Makka and Osa models, which made our journalistic and fast-paced productions not only possible but attractive. (Don’t tell my boss, but people on the ground seemed more interested in what we were riding than what we were writing.) 

More importantly, if it weren’t for torqued-up eco machines, our coverage of the 10th annual Eddie Aikau Invitational would have been hindered at best. Michael Ciaramella typed an entertaining and visceral account of the day while Luke Shephardson was still Instagram-less.

Reaching back to the intro, yes: CAKE actually designed an African bush version of their agile offroad Kalk bike — the Kalk AP (Anti-Poaching) — tuned specifically to the needs of endangered wildlife advocates in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Featuring modified suspension, solar engines, and a crucial ultra-quiet ride for its 55 mph maxing motor, these rhino-saving bikes are stealthy enough to thwart illegal game hunters and have helped drive the number of errant animal deaths down since the pilot program launched.

If you see these guys ripping toward you, you’re probably doing something very, very wrong. Photo courtesy: CAKE

Environmentally-minded efforts like this remain one of the goals of the Stockholm-based brand since its founding in 2016, as were other lofty aims like nudging society toward zero-emission living, and an index of other auto, eco, and transportation problems as well. 

Chances are, many of you reading this care less about rhinos and emissions, more about getting to your preferred wave at the ideal tide and swell window — CAKE’s got you covered there, too. With a basic board rack addition, you’ll be flying down the PCH, Kam Highway, or Nullabor in no time, cruising past rush-hour traffic and parking in whatever nook or cranny while your friends play musical chairs in the p-lot. Surf time: rising like the NASDAQ.

Not a big e-bike person? All good. Despite their hefty, high-tech look, navigating these battery-powered bike is meant to be as easy as, well, riding a bike! As in “riding this thing is a piece of cake!”

Consider this your hot tip: CAKE bikes can be found around the globe with major hubs in Europe, Canada, California, and the US Eastern Seaboard, plus varied outposts across the US, Australia, ZAF, Mexico, South Korea, and Japan.

Grab a slice before they’re gone.

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