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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Why Western Colorado seniors are turning to e-bikes

May 29, 2024 11:10AM ● By Libby Kinder & Cloie Sandlin

Larry Davis rides his e-trike on one of the many bike trails in Fruita, Colorado.

On any given sunny day in Western Colorado, look around and you’ll see—e-bikes are everywhere! Local seniors, particularly, have embraced these versatile machines as a way to explore, exercise and get from here to there in fun and facile fashion, even on the most rugged terrain.

Paul Sparrow, 70, and his wife Sheri, 64, are advocates for the convenience of e-bikes since purchasing theirs in 2022.

“E-bikes are a great choice for older folks looking to get out and not worry about getting up some hills,” said Sparrow. 

Larry Davis, another local senior, recently invested in a three-wheeled e-trike, splurging on reinforced tires to handle long distances on dirt roads without worrying about getting a flat tire.

“I like to see and do things and get out of the traffic,” said Davis, 82. “The nice thing about living in Fruita is that, in a matter of three minutes, you’re out in the fields and in nature.”


E-bikes, which first emerged in the 1890s, have surged in popularity over the past century thanks to significant technological improvements. These advancements have made e-bikes more accessible, intuitive and enjoyable to ride.

Powered by a plug-in battery, e-bikes have a small electric motor that allows riders to control the boost they need for tackling uneven terrain and hills. 

The magic is in the pedal assist. At the push of a button, riders control how much power the motor generates, putting oomph into the pedaling. Additional features may include gears, cruise control and the ability to crank up the motor to greater speeds. 

Davis, an 82-year-old Army veteran, purchased his trike from Colorado E-Bikes in Grand Junction, selecting a model that suits his personality and physical needs.

“I’m not a kid anymore, so I figured a tricycle would be better than a bicycle,” he explained. “I could’ve gotten a larger one with the big fat tires but I got one that fits my personality—it’s called the ‘Bull.’”

Davis’ trike, the Emojo Bull, can achieve speeds up to 20 miles per hour and has the potential to cover up to 65 miles on a single charge, depending on how much the rider pedals. While some models offer the capability to travel up to 100 miles between charges, Davis enjoys the independence his e-trike offers, even though he has yet to test its full range.

“These things will do 30 miles per hour, but I start to get nervous if I go over 15,” said Davis.


With rising fuel costs, e-bikes are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional motor vehicles. 

However, Davis noted, “The only thing is you can’t pull into a Shell station and fill up or charge up. Unlike regular bikes, these things weigh 80 pounds so you can’t just pick it up and carry it back to the car.” 

He points out that e-bike batteries, which range from $475 to $650, are an additional expense, though he is considering purchasing a backup to carry on longer rides.

Some local bike shops are participating in a state program offering a $450 tax credit on qualifying e-bike purchases. This initiative, detailed at, is part of the state’s broader efforts to promote sustainable transportation options. 

Seniors might look for models with lower step-over heights for easier access, adjustable seat and handlebar positions for comfort, and a stable, low wheelbase for balance.

Price points vary significantly. While some models are available at Walmart for under $600, high-end versions can cost upwards of $20,000. However, most consumers choose e-bikes priced between $1,500 and $3,000, which typically balance cost with a comprehensive set of features. Some shops even sell conversion kits that transform your conventional bike into an electric one.  

To further enhance safety, comfort and convenience, consider equipping your e-bike with a variety of accessories and gadgets, including:

  • Safety accessories: Helmets, a warning bell, rearview mirrors, biking gloves, a water bottle and reflective clothing. 
  • Communication gadgets: Some e-bike models come equipped with built-in speakers and Bluetooth, allowing riders to communicate without needing to yell or turn their heads.
  • Maintenance tools: Carrying a small, lithium battery-operated pump and a compact bike tool set with a tire repair kit can be a lifesaver.
  • Security measures: Alarms and locks can prevent theft.

Davis, who frequently uses his e-trike for running errands, has outfitted it with practical features including two baskets, one in front and one in the back, which are perfect for transporting groceries. Side mirrors allow for better visibility and safety. He also has a dedicated spot to carry his cell phone, allowing him to listen to music while on the go. 

Cyclists, including Cindy Weaver and Jeanette Martin, take a break on the trail in northeast Germany on a Bike and Barge group tour of regular and e-bikers.


Taking a 15- to 20-mile bike ride is effortless and enjoyable, especially when traveling or camping. Jeanette Martin, 64, and her husband Jerry, 65, have biked trails from Breckenridge to Glenwood Springs and other Colorado locales.

“We always have our bikes on a trip,” said Martin, highlighting their enthusiasm for venturing off the beaten track. 

One of their memorable adventures took them to the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota, which offers 109 miles of mostly crushed limestone paths. This trail winds through fragrant pine forests, past herds of buffalo, the iconic Crazy Horse Memorial, and through old railroad bridges and rock tunnels.

In Tucson, Arizona, the paved 131-mile Huckelberry Loop encircles the city, offering a ride through fields of colorful desert wildflowers, past historic sites and neighborhoods. This route also allows riders to stop and enjoy some of the best culinary spots in town. 

In Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Towpath Trail offers a unique glimpse into the past, tracing the historic 1800s route of the Ohio and Erie Canals. This scenic path meanders by quaint villages, old farmsteads and serene creeks and ponds that are rich with native plants and wildlife. 

The Rails to Trails Conservancy also contributes by developing and connecting trails across the nation, making outdoor recreation more accessible to all.

Cindy Weaver, 57, may not own an e-bike yet, but she experienced their benefits firsthand during her honeymoon on a Bike and Barge tour in Germany in June 2022. 

“E-bikes made it easy to do miles and miles a day,” Weaver shared, expressing her intention to purchase one soon. “What was really cool is that we could keep up with the seasoned cyclists who were riding regular bikes. It was the trip of a lifetime!” 


Riding e-bikes offers a range of health benefits, particularly for seniors like Davis, who face mobility challenges but still wish to remain active. 

“After skiing for years and years, my knees just aren’t that strong anymore. [Doctors] keep telling me I should have one replaced but I don’t have the guts,” he said.

Despite these challenges, Davis has found a new lease on life with his e-trike.

“Even though I can’t walk that far anymore because of my knees, I can still ride,” he said. “I just hop on my bike and there I go! It’s fun to get on it, press a button and zip on down the road.” 


These local shops offer the Colorado e-bike tax credit:

Mesa County

  • Colorado E-Bikes: 970-242-3126
  • Over the Edge Sports, Fruita: 970-858-7220
  • Bicycle Outfitters: 970-246-2699
  • The Gear Junction (Online orders only): 970-628-4003
  • The Bike Shop doesn’t offer the tax credit, but they offer a credit towards locks and helmets: 970-243-0807

Delta & Montrose Counties

  • Montrose Surf & Cycle: 970-249-8730
  • Bicycle Outfitters: 970-615-7122


Consider renting an e-bike before buying one.

Mesa County

  • Colorado E-Bikes: Offers low-step, mid-step and high-step e-bikes. Ideal for touring the Palisade vineyards or riding the Riverfront Trail. 970-242-3126
  • Over the Edge Sports, Fruita: Rents class 1 e-mountain bikes. 970-858-7220
  • Bicycle Outfitters: 970-246-2699

Delta & Montrose Counties

  • SK Bikes, Paonia: 970-527-9588
  • Montrose Surf & Cycle: Rents cruiser-style e-bikes. 970-249-8730

Liked this article? You may also like: E-Bike enthusiasm from a former bicycle purist

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