Thursday, September 18, 2008

A letter from Beth...

Here in its entirety is a letter I received from my friend Beth Hamon in Portland. The letter is well worth reading, the thoughts are bright and valid and her sites are fun and unusual.

Two years ago, as Tamar and I were preparing to escape Tucson, someone broke into my tool shed and took my toolbox - and its 15- or 20-year accumulation of tools. Broke my heart.

I whined about the incident in my column in The Bicycle Paper, the Pacific NW free cycling monthly. Beth read the piece and sent me an assortment of bicycle tools, extras she'd accumulated in her years as a bike mechanic and cyclist. Beth Hamon is the real thing.

Here's the note:

Dear friends -- I almost NEVER send out public service announcements like this one. In fact, I think this may be a first, or only a second, I dunno.

If you drive to work, your gasoline and a significant portion of the costs of maintaining the roads are subsidized by the government and/or the automotive and petroleum industries. If Americans paid the true cost of owning and driving a car every day, most would end up broke and/or unable to afford to drive.

If, like me, you ride to work, you bear ALL of the costs of purchasing, maintaining and storing your bicycle. On top of that you may also get grief from co-workers and employers who frown on your sweaty arrival at work each day, and who sneer at your requests for more secure bicycle parking.

But I digress.

A tax credit for those who cycle to work daily wouldn't amount to very much money, especially when compared to the zillions in subsidies that car drivers currently experience; and because adults who ride bikes for basic transportation are still greatly outnumbered by folks who drive cars every day.

Earl Blumenauer (D - Oregon) would like to see bicycle commuters get a "thank you" for helping out the planet by getting a little tax relief. If you want to find out more, read here:

...and if you think you'd like to get behind this (by contacting your elected officials), read here for more info:[capwiz:queue_id]

(End of my public service announcement. I promise there won't be another for at least a year or more. If getting this really bothers you tell me and I will not include you in future PSA's.)


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