Bike at the ranch

October 31, 2017

Sarah Braker, senior communications manager

Glas Deffryn Ranch (Image: Steve Williams)

In 1998, Steve and Pam Williams established the Glas Deffryn Ranch. Located 17 miles south of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the 200-acre ranch is home to purebred Scottish Highland Cattle that the couple raise for beef and breeding. Steve and Pam have lots of transportation options on the ranch including a flatbed truck, ATVs and tractors. But none of those vehicles allowed Steve to navigate narrow trails and paths to the far corners of the property. He was forced to do that on foot, often requiring several trips back and forth when he needed heavy supplies.

That all changed in 2015 when he tested an electric bike during a demo. “I rode one and was blown away about how easily I could ride up trails,” he says. That winter he did some research and eventually purchased a Felt Outfitter—an electric fat tire bike. “I put panniers on it and I first used it to repair fences,” he says. “It let me get into some areas in five to ten minutes that would have taken half an hour on foot.” Soon Steven and Pam were using the e-bike to check on the cows in different pastures. “You could ride instead of hiking over,” he says.

Steve’s e-bike (Image: Steve Williams)

Steve is a tinkerer, so it wasn’t long before he started adding to the e-bike to make it even more useful on the ranch. “It took some fiddling, but last summer I got a trailer mounted on the set-up,” he says. “I can carry a chainsaw to cut down a tree or carry in some typical trail maintenance tools.” This summer he went even further. “I got a battery-powered electric backpack sprayer that I can mount in the trailer with a holster on the front of the bike,” he says. “Now I can zoom back into a far corner in 15 minutes, spray a weed patch and come back. It’s really efficient.” The first e-bike was so helpful that Steve and Pam bought a second one. The couple also uses them recreationally on trails in their area where e-bike use is permitted.

Steve and Pam Williams

Steve thinks that convincing other ranchers to add e-bikes to their transportation options is as simple as getting them to test ride his. “Once somebody’s ridden it they realize it has potential,” he says. “It’s not something you’d use all the time but it has its applications without a doubt.” From larger projects like carrying a dozen deck boards in one load, to small tasks like covering the 1.4 mile dirt road between the house and the barn, e-bikes have made a considerable difference for Steve and Pam. “It’s quiet and you can pull 50 pounds on any trail with that electric assist where you couldn’t even think about doing that without it,” Steve says. “I’ve been biking my whole life and the e-bike added a different dimension to my work.”

For more information and resources about electric bicycles, visit our e-bikes page.

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