Hello and thanks for providing the opportunity to trade in a car for a bike at the 2008 Tour de Fat Festival in Tempe, Arizona!
I am a Ph.D. student in geological sciences at Arizona State University, and as an earth scientist, I am very aware of the detrimental impacts of driving. I currently live in Glendale (NW Phoenix Valley) with my boyfriend, Ivan. I commute to ASU in Tempe every day (60 miles round-trip), and he commutes to his workplace in the rural town of Wickenburg, Arizona (100 miles round-trip)â so, we cover 160 miles every day! This amounts to nearly 2 TONS of CO2 we pump into the atmosphere every month; 24 TONS a year! Not to mention the other pollutants that cars emit, such as nitrous oxides and other greenhouse gases. Luckily, Ivan just landed a new job in downtown Phoenix, and we are moving next month. We chose our new apartment based on its close vicinity to Ivan's work and the new Phoenix light rail system. Ivan plans to bike to work, and I will take the light rail into Tempe each day. We are looking forward to starting our new lifestyle and personally saving 24 tons of CO2 from winding up in the atmosphere above Phoenix every year (and we all know that with Phoenix's air quality, every little bit counts!).
With these plans for the future, I decided to sell my car. Then I heard about the Tour de Fat car-bike swap. I am a perfect candidate for this exciting opportunity. I have a 1996 black VW Jetta Trek, with 116,000 miles on it. This is the first car I have ever owned; I bought it 2 years ago when I moved to Phoenix from Seattle. I was less than enthusiastic about being a car owner, but with my relationship and every-day-living in the Phoenix Valley, I didn't see any alternatives. Culture shock soon hit me; I was an environmentally-conscious Seattleite sitting in the 110° heat in traffic in Phoenix, with a lousy AC system. What was I thinking moving to this place? I asked myself. I've adapted to this "brown" lifestyle over the last 2 years, but I often get teased by my family in Seattle, since I convinced them to live a greener lifestyle before I moved to Phoenix. You can imagine my joy at the idea of consolidating my commute down to an easy light-rail ride south come December, when the trains start running.
After I get my Ph.D., I plan to become a faculty member in an earth sciences department at another university and start a family. I want to be a role model to my students and my children, by commuting as often as possible by bike, bus and rail. Trading in my car for a bike at the Tour de Fat will be my first step working towards this goal. I would ride my new bike and trailer to the grocery store and Phoenix Farmer's Market on the weekends, and Ivan would use it to commute just a few blocks east to his office on weekdays. We will take our savings on gas, car insurance and maintenance, and put these funds into supporting local businesses that are sprouting up along the new light rail tracks, revitalizing downtown Phoenix. My family will be visiting from Seattle on October 11, and I look forward to showing them at Tour de Fat that you can be green AND live in the Phoenix Valley! Thanks New Belgium, for all you do to encourage alternative transportation and see you next week for the big party!
Thanks very much for your time, and hope to hear from you soon!