December 21, 2021

Faces, Places & Voices Of Poudre Valley REA – Gary Thunquest

Human Interest Stories

Last year, we held a contest where any member who attended a Poudre Valley REA event could enter to win an electric bicycle — ­an REI Co-op CTY e2.2, valued at over $2,000.

We sat down with Gary Thunquest to talk about how he has been enjoying his new prize. He welcomed us into his home, introduced his lovely wife Dorothy, and told us all about his experience with, and dare we say love of, electric bicycles.

“What I really love about e-bikes is that what I’ve seen with my dad, and my wife, and now with this one, is it just expands the opportunities and the times when people can go and enjoy biking.” Which is a major benefit of e-bikes that we kept coming back to in our talk. But more on that later.

You see, Gary was already an avid cyclist. He was first introduced to e-bikes after he purchased one for his father a couple of years ago. As his father was getting older, and walking was becoming more of an issue, an e-bike provided a great way to keep exercising that was easy on his legs.

“There’s kind of a big road that goes down into Windsor,” explained Gary. “Well, that’s a little strenuous for him. He’s in his eighties, right. Got him this e-bike, so he now loves this e-bike and he rides it every day.” And Gary was adamant that his father truly does ride every day, at least when there’s not snow on the ground.

For Gary’s father, and others who might sometimes face limitations on exercise, e-bikes are a great tool to safely experience a more active lifestyle. According to Gary, “People who get e-bikes, they don’t get less exercise. They end up getting more because they end up going out more, and going further, and doing it longer. So, they end up getting more exercise in the long run.” And we couldn’t agree more!

“It really is still a great way to get exercise, even if you’re using assist. You just get to go further, you know. And get more scenery, and get to see things you couldn’t see otherwise.” To clarify, ‘assist’ means how much electric power comes from the bike’s motor, as opposed to your own two feet.

Gary also purchased an e-bike for his wife Dorothy so they could both enjoy the same 30-to-40-mile bike ride on the weekends. “All our married life together, she hasn’t been able to go out on the kind of rides I like to do,” Gary said. “With the e-bike, she bikes right there with me.” He even admitted that sometimes on the hills she yells back, “Hey can you hurry up!”

“It really pairs nicely to people with different abilities who can now ride together, comfortably,” said Gary. An e-bike rider can dial in how much exercise they want — dialing down the assist to power the bike yourself, or dialing up the assist when you want a break.

Now people of different riding abilities and fitness levels can enjoy the outdoors together. “The thing is,” Gary said, “is I love to go out and bike. And so if any of the people in my sphere are willing to do it more, that makes me happy because I’m always up for going out for a ride and I love doing it.”

But e-bikes also allow riders to experience more and to go even further than ever before. Gary told us about a ride up to Horsetooth Mountain Park with his son. “It’s about three and a half miles long, and I have never – I’ve lived here since the 80s – and I’ve never been able to bike that road the whole way up,” Gary confessed. “We motored up that whole thing, from bottom to top,” he said with excitement.

“It’s opened up terrain that I’ve not in 35 years of living here, been able to bike.” Now Gary can bike places he otherwise couldn’t. All because his e-bike empowers him to go further and to climb higher than ever before.

At your local electric cooperative, we love empowering our members to enjoy the most out of their lives and from where they call home. Electric tools, like e-bikes and other electric appliances, can make our lives easier, grant us more access, or just give us more time back to enjoy what really make us happy.

That’s why Poudre Valley REA supports programs and services to help members go electric if it fits their lifestyle. We have information about the benefits of electric tools and appliances on our website. Or please call us and speak to your trusted energy experts about how these electric products could empower your life.

We thank Gary for sharing his story. And invite you all to come to our future events for your chance to win similar prizes.

Electric Bicycle Rebates
Up to $150 per e-bike. Learn more at

2022 Events
Be sure to follow us on Facebook to find us at events. Win prizes. Get swag. Have fun with your co-op!