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Out & About: State lawmakers mad about bikes

Sun., March 17, 2013, midnight

OUTLAWS – Some lawmakers have little appreciation for cycling’s benefits in relieving the nation’s pressing issues with overcrowded roads and parking lots, the obesity epidemic, energy consumption, air pollution and climate change. Examples:

• Oregon Sen. Larry George, R-Yamhill County, introduced a bill calling for a $10 registration fee on all bikes in response to the request of a farmer who says she has trouble moving her equipment because of all the tourists bicycling through the wine country.

Really? Is that hay bailer licensed?

• Washington Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, apologized but did not retract his claim in an email that bicyclists pollute the air with their heavy breathing.

The ranking minority member of the House Transportation Committee said cyclists contribute to climate change with their “increased heart rate and respiration” in a response to an email sent to some 30 state lawmakers from Dale Carlson, the owner of three South Sound-area bike stores. Carlson was upset about a proposal to create a $25 fee for all new bicycle purchases of $500 or more as part of a transportation revenue package.

Orcutt is a conservative who opposes most tax increases, but he singles out cyclists.

Before leaping to the conclusion that Orcutt is nuts, wait for proof that people driving cars never sweat or breathe.

By the way, cyclists point out that virtually everyone with an expensive bike also owns a vehicle on which fees and taxes are paid – even though it’s often left parked at home.

Rich Landers

Backpack school walks the talk

OUTGOING – Spokane Mountaineers are gearing up for their annual Backpack School. Friday evening classes start April 5 and run for seven weeks, along with some Saturday field sessions, culminating with a graduation trip.

Session topics include gear, clothing, navigation, first-aid and wilderness cooking with the support of a club that leads weekly group hikes.

Sign up by Friday. Info: 939-2644;

Landers program details loop hikes

OUTFIELD – Hiking Full Circle, a free program by S-R outdoors editor Rich Landers detailing the ups and downs of mountain circumnavigation hikes is set for Monday, 7 p.m. at the Mountain Gear Corporate Headquarters, 6011 E. Mansfield (go north on Fancher Road from Trent and turn right just before the tracks).

The slide show, sponsored by the Spokane Mountaineers, features the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier and the Tour du Mont Blanc route that circles through the Alps of France, Italy and Switzerland.

Banquet honors Dishman leader

OUTSTANDING – The Dishman Hills Conservancy will honor Michael Hamilton for his 20 years as president and his role in conserving hundreds of acres of natural areas in Spokane Valley at the group’s annual gathering on Saturday.

The public is invited, with dinner served by Luigi’s Restaurant.



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