Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 7th, 2017 at 10:14 am
When news of Oregon’s silly new bike excise tax sunk in, some readers figured it was only a matter of time before a bike company or bike shop did a promotion around it.
California-based Santa Cruz Bicycles just launched the “Oregon Trail Tax” promotion. It’s their play on the new tax; but it comes with real and serious benefits to mountain bike trail advocacy groups.
I’m pinched for time today, so I’ll just share the press release:
Santa Cruz’s ‘Oregon Trail Tax’ riffs on state’s new bike tax to raise money for mountain bike trails
SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – Santa Cruz Bicycles has responded to Oregon’s controversial new bicycle tax with a promotion that promises to deliver thousands of dollars to mountain bike projects across the state. Dubbed “The Oregon Trail Tax,” Santa Cruz will match the $15 per bike tax customers pay on every Santa Cruz and Juliana bike sold in Oregon starting September 1 and for the remainder of 2017. Proceeds will be split evenly between three trail advocacy organizations who build trails in the state–the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA), the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), and Team Dirt.
“The whole thing seemed like a bad deal for Oregon cyclists in general and mountain bikers in particular,” said Santa Cruz Bicycles CEO Joe Graney. “It doesn’t look like any of the money collected from the sale of mountain bikes will actually benefit mountain bikers, so we thought we’d try and do something to ease the pain of our northern neighbors.”
To promote the program, Santa Cruz is sending Oregon retailers posters, hangtags and social media assets to use in-store and online. The artwork’s theme is based on the classic computer game The Oregon Trail, a simulation that pitted would-be pioneers against the Wild West. Dysentery infection was a common cause of death in the game and it played into the program’s tagline — “Buy a Santa Cruz, We Kick in $15, Nobody Dies of Dysentery.”
The much-debated bike tax is part of Oregon’s new transportation bill that adds a $15 per bike fee on new bikes with 26-inch or larger wheels that sell or $200 or more. The fees will be funneled into a fund called Connect Oregon which provides matching grants for commuter bicycle infrastructure. Given Connect Oregon’s transportation biased selection criteria, it’s doubtful a mountain bike project would ever be considered.
Advocacy in Oregon is nothing new for Santa Cruz; as part of the company’s sponsorship of the Trans- Cascadia enduro race, its employee-based Factory Racing Team has logged more than a 350 hours of trail work in the state over the last two years on trails near the towns of Oakridge and Ashland.
Santa Cruz will send a kick off check for $1,000 to each of the trail organizations on October 5th—the day retailers start collecting the tax–and then send monthly dividends through the end of the year. Santa Cruz will be working with dealers to account for bikes sold for the duration of the promotion.
Nice going Santa Cruz. Way to make lemonade out of lemons.
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