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New Belgium wants to trade your car for a bike

Posted by on July 11th, 2007 at 10:20 am

Tour de Fat '06

The scene at the 2006 Tour de Fat.
(File photo)

New Belgium’s awesome explosion of bike craziness, the Tour de Fat, is coming to Portland this August. I’ve attended the last two years of this event and it’s something you don’t want to miss.

Besides the usual downtown bike parade, live performances (including our own Sprockettes, who will be on Tour with them), freak bike rodeo, zany competitions, lots of good beer, and more, this year they’ve got something new up their sleeve.

New Belgium marketing guy Chris Winn (on stage in photo above) wants to find someone who is willing to live car-free for one year. In exchange, the person will receive a custom-fitted, New Belgium commuter bike and more.

Here’s the official word from Winn:

Tour de Fat '06

Commissioner Adams
stopped by last year.
(File photo)

“Would you trade your car for a bike?… We’re talking about weaning yourself off the petroleum teat for the next year of your life… maybe longer…You could save a bunch of money on your car insurance by switching to Shimano. You could become a part of the pollution solution…

We’re looking for one dedicated individual at each Tour de Fat stop this Summer to commit to living car-free for one year…We’re asking that you sign over the title to your car and say goodbye to that gas-guzzling monument to inefficiency.

In exchange for this tremendous gesture, New Belgium would like to award you with a custom-fitted, Fort Collins-built New Belgium commuter bike to ride as your rolling badge of courage and honor. You will be a hero to the many disenchanted citizens who are tired of pollution and traffic congestion.”

Winn says New Belgium plans to stay in touch with whoever gets chosen and they’ll chronicle the “trials and triumphs” of the experience to (hopefully) inspire others.

If you’d like to do this, here’s how to apply:

    Submit a video or letter of 2 minutes/1000 words or less describing yourself, and your desire to be car-free. Submit your entry to cwinn@newbelgium.com, and include “I wanna trade my car for a bike in (enter city name here).” in the subject line. Mail videos to:

    Chris Winn
    New Belgium Brewing
    500 Linden St.
    Fort Collins, CO. 80524

Sounds like fun. So who’s going to step up?

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AvatarjoebskwarazrixtirFnord Incorporated » Blog Archive » New Belgium wants to trade your car for a bike Recent comment authors
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rixtir
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rixtir

Patently unfair for those of us who are already car-free. 😉

Ayleen
Guest
Ayleen

I agree. When I turned over my car title some six years ago, there was no fanfare. In fact, even I didn\’t didn\’t think of it as a big deal at the time. But maybe that\’s because I had only owned a car for a year before realizing I didn\’t need one here.

Carl
Guest
Carl

I have an abandoned car on my street. I\’d be happy to give it to \’em.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

Totally, rixtir. I\’ve been car-free for 7+ years. My partner has been car-free for 2 years.

How about a nice trailer please? 😉

It\’s still a cool thing New Belgium\’s doing though.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I think their goal is to get MORE people out of their cars. Isn\’t that OUR goal too?

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Yep. I just want a sweet New (Belgium) bike. 😉

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

Yeah I get it, Skid. I was just teasing =D

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I just think it is way more productive to be Pro-bicycle than it is be Anti-car. You won\’t get anyone out of their car by being Anti-car.

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

What if I give up my bike, can I have a sweet New Belgium ride too?

Carl
Guest
Carl

So a bunch of BikePortland readers are carfree. Big surprise. Let\’s take this news and bring it to a promising candidate for carfree living…someone who can\’t afford a sweet bike but would totally use one. Nominations?

a.O
Guest
a.O

My legal practice involves obtaining \”carbon offset credits\” for people (read: businesses) who reduce their carbon emissions. They then sell those carbon offset credits on international markets to make money. I would like to see a program where proceeds from these credits are used to provide bicycles to people who give up their cars, or who choose to change from making specific trips by bike. The difficulty is that the amount of offset carbon has to be verified, so you\’d have to pay someone (independent) to record every mile you rode. Probably a GPS system would be best. Also, you can\’t re-sell the unused car, because then some portion of the emissions are not offset.

Regardless, I hope to find a way to quantify and monetize the environmental benefits of people shifting to bikes (pun intended) and use the proceeds to incentivize that choice. Anybody know any good investors?

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

AO, Last year I drove my car (a fuel-efficient Mazda) 5,000 miles and rode my bike about 5,323. This year to date I\’ve ridden over 4,000 miles, and driven my car less than 2,000. How much credit do I get and can I have that in cash?

a.O
Guest
a.O

Actually, if we could get BTA or someone else to set up a verification system, we could pay people to ride a bike. That is, by the way, one of my carrer goals — not to get paid to ride (though that would be nice), but to figure out a system that incentivizes biking (and responsible environmental choices generally).

But — here\’s what will receive a chorus of boos — for something to get credits, it has to be people (or trips) that are not already biking (by bike). If I set up a program and you go from 2,000 car miles to 0 *as a result of my program,* you will get 2,000 miles of credits. If you do it on your own, you get nothing (as we know). I don\’t make the rules…

The value of these credits has increased dramatically over the past few years. When we get mandatory carbon restrictions, if in the cap-and-trade form, they will be very valuable indeed.

See http://www.chicagoclimatex.com/.

I think it would be in the form of a check, so too difficult to avoid reporting as income — sorry Cecil.

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

\”I think it would be in the form of a check, so too difficult to avoid reporting as income — sorry Cecil.\”

When I said \”in cash\” I meant as opposed to some unsuable credit, not as a reference to under the table income. Apart from the fact that as an officer of the court I would never, ever, be a tax cheat, I have no problem reporting income. In fact, I will go (and have gone) on record with my opinion that Americans pay far too little in taxes and expect far too much in return for the little they pay 🙂

a.O
Guest
a.O

I knew what you meant; I was just trying to be funny.

The way I conceptualize it, the organization running the program would be a 503(c) and would take a cut of the proceeds for admin expenses. The remainder would belong to the carbon savior. I like that term \”Carbon Savior.\”

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I would like to see a program where proceeds from these credits are used to provide bicycles to people who give up their cars, or who choose to change from making specific trips by bike.

But doesn\’t that defeat the purpose of the business acquiring the carbon credit (i.e., making money by selling the carbon credit)? Or would they receive a tax deduction for using the proceeds to buy bicycles?

The difficulty is that the amount of offset carbon has to be verified, so you\’d have to pay someone (independent) to record every mile you rode.

A tamper-proof computer, like an odometer, perhaps?

a.O
Guest
a.O

I think I may have inadvertantly confused you, rixter. The companies I work for sell credits to make profit. The non-profit for bikes would give bikes to people and recoup the cost by selling the cyclist\’s credits (and sharing the remainder with the cyclist). Make sense?

I think an odometer would be needed. But do bike odometers work? Everyone I\’ve known with a bike computer had had problems.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I think I may have inadvertantly confused you, rixter. The companies I work for sell credits to make profit. The non-profit for bikes would give bikes to people and recoup the cost by selling the cyclist\’s credits (and sharing the remainder with the cyclist). Make sense?

Yep, now it does. Pity it\’s only for converting to a smaller footprint after the program has started, rather than for maintaining a smaller-than-the-maximum footprint, though.

I think an odometer would be needed. But do bike odometers work? Everyone I\’ve known with a bike computer had had problems.

Dunno, never had one. I\’d think a simple, reliable, tamper-proof computer would be possible, though. Or alternatively, because the program is only giving credits for people who convert to a smaller carbon footprint, verify the miles driven in an automobile, and then transfer that value to the credits…

Martha S.
Guest
Martha S.

Ok, I just about fell out of my seat laughing when I read \”you could save a bunch of money on your car insurance by switching to Shimano\”

In any case, this is awesome. I think it\’s great that they\’re giving people the incentive to make the switch. Every person that goes car free is a victory.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

Dunno, never had one. I\’d think a simple, reliable, tamper-proof computer would be possible, though.

Ha! Try telling that to those crazies who like to play with micro-controllers, soldering irons, and code. Maybe add in some proprietary screws so they can have extra fun home-brewing a custom bit with a dremel and a disused allen wrench of the right diameter… 😉

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

AO (and Steve Guttman)…perhaps you should call up the BTA (Michelle?) and as part of the Bike Commute Challenge (BCC) distribute bike odometers. These would then be used to measure the change (new riders) and then let the carbon trading go forth and give the funds to the BTA.

Michelle, your thoughts…per the BCC?

This would be the first BCC in this country to tie a BCC type event to carbon trading…I would think…some nice PR and perhaps some cash.

Sauce
Guest
Sauce

Police seizure auction this weekend, car free folks. Could probably get a car for around $50. Good deal for a shiny new commuter.

mommy
Guest
mommy

Here\’s an idea, if someone wants to go carfree, SELL your car and then buy like six really nice bikes. I don\’t see how this setup benefits the candidate unless they are driving a 1970s beater, in which case they probably don\’t drive it much anyway.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

I\’ve got a bike computer, and have had it for the last 2 or 3 years, with no problems at all. Nothing fancy, just a $20 Cateye Velo5. I think the ones with problems are the wireless ones; my Sig O.P. has had problems with his wireless computers and coffee house hotspots. He\’s a crazy electrical engineer, too.

joeb
Guest
joeb

The only incentive I needed to ride a bike was a suggestion. I witnessed two people at work (a dude and a lady… not related) parking their bikes and walking in out of the pouring rain and I had to join in. After two years the adjustments I have made to center around commuting by bike still feel new and liberating. Does it ever get old?

Somebody trade up for this bike! See what you think after a year.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

On this sub-theme of reliable odometers…

Car odometers are \”tamper proof,\” and it\’s against the law to roll back your odometer. Does that mean that they can\’t be hacked? No. Does that mean that most people roll back their odometers? No.

When people deduct mileage on their income tax forms, they report what their odometer says. The IRS takes them at their word. It doesn\’t come to their homes and check to see if they tampered with their odometer. It doesn\’t even check to see if they accurately reported their mileage.

I would suggest that car-free cyclists shouldn\’t be held to a higher standard when reporting their mileage for carbon credits.

skwaraz
Guest
skwaraz

If you\’re getting a New Belgium bike, they should give you a year\’s supply of beer too.

joeb
Guest
joeb

I got a $15 bike computer and it has been great. I expect it is accurate up to 2 or 3 millimeters per rotation, a 1980 millimeter tire, approximately accurate within 1.5 to 2 meters per kilometer. I couldn\’t do without it. It does give me incentive to ride further. Does that skew the numbers? I’m not going to be altering the readings.

Fascinating discussion about carbon footprint. I want those numbers. One gallon of gas produces 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. How does a 9.6 pound gallon of gas create 20 pounds of CO2? Something about the carbon atom splitting from the hydrocarbon (HC) molecule and joining to two Oxygen atoms to form the heavier CO2 molecule. Whatever. Don\’t ask me.

While riding, I have had opportunity to roughly calculate that 20 pounds of CO2 from one gallon of gas in a car that gets twenty miles per gallon means 1 pound of CO2 is created every mile. What is the cost to society? What am I saving every mile I ride? Approximately one pound of CO2 at least. That doesn’t account for all the other pollutants produced by burning a gallon of gas, by extracting and producing a gallon of gas, by building and resurfacing roads or by manufacturing and maintaining multi-ton automobiles.

I’d love to be able to calculate it. On my way home yesterday the thought popped into my head… if a program gave a bike to every person to commute 2 or 3 days a week, how long would it take to recover the cost of, say a fully equipped $300 commuter bike, in reduced damage to environment and infrastructure.

Well we’re off topic. So New Belgium is chipping in the bike and… um… twenty pounds is the equivalent of 2 ½ gallons of Fat Tire Amber. Brought it back!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

dui either way