EBIKER owner John Schelfhout is a poet, businessman, vintage car collector and of course a compulsive cyclist.
And judging by his poem – recited mid interview about his wife Marie – he’s also a romantic and witty balladeer.
Bicycles are an important part of the Schelfhout family history: John’s dad cycled through Europe to escape the German advance into Holland during World War II.
“He wasn’t going to live under occupation,” John says.
His dad became a stow away on a ship bound for the UK, where he met his wife, and they eventually decided to immigrate to Australia.
A 16-year-old John was inspired to get in the saddle after reading a newspaper report about a solo bike ride across Australia: “I said I was going to do that one day.”
It was one of the first things he told his young future bride: “I got to 54 and said I’m leaving on May 15. She said ‘I’m coming with you, buy me a bike!’.”
“It was the best adventure of my life and it changed my life. From that day on all we could see was bikes.”
The Schelfhouts began selling electric bikes at Fremantle’s E-Shed, before relocating to Bathers Beach.
“We recognised it was the way of the future. Some cities are 80 to 90 per cent electric bikes.”
Sales have almost doubled since the move as more people see the benefits of electric bikes to health and the hip pocket.
“A large percentage of young people are realising electric bikes are good,” John says.
“Higher fuel prices and heavy road congestion has helped to keep the demand growing at a rapid rate.”
In 2009 John began importing his own brand of bikes, made to strict specifications: “We are very fussy and they are not generic Chinese bikes,” he says.
A search for a name for his range of cycles coincided with the arrival of his first grandson, Ryder.
“Naturally we chose his name for our brand. Both Ryders have grown and proved to be a blessing to me,” John says.
Ryder bikes can be found at a number of bike shops across WA and in NSW.
By JENNY D’ANGER
Unit 3 Bathers Beach House
47 Mews Road, Fremantle
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