The Oregon Trail Tax

Santa Cruz’s ‘Oregon Trail Tax’ riffs on state’s new bike tax to raise money for mountain bike trails

Oregon has a new tax on bicycles and we think it’s kinda bullshit. Which is why we’re kicking off a campaign called the “The Oregon Trail Tax” where we match the $15 per bike excise tax customers pay with an equal donation to three Oregonian trail building organizations--the Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA), the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), and Team Dirt. Starting September 1st, we’ll kick-in the donation on every new Santa Cruz or Juliana bike sold and shipped to a Santa Cruz dealer in Oregon through the end of the year.

“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.”

You may be wondering about the chunky artwork and odd name for the promotion…it’s based on the classic computer game The Oregon Trail, an educational 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.”

Like the company’s Oregon Trail Tax program, Santa Cruz Factory Racing Team employee/racers show their love for Oregon trails at a dig day in the Willamette National Forest.

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. The amount going to mountain bike projects? That would be a big fat zero!

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.

Questions about The Oregon Trail Tax? Send us an email here.