Letters from the week of December 18, 2003

Garrett Holway

The Bike Men Cometh

A woman's place . . . : I'm writing in reference to Susy Buchanan's December 4 article "Clan of the Bike Men." Ms. Buchanan wrote a balanced, issue-centered article. However, Ms. Buchanan fails to mention that several of the pedal-cabbers hauling 600-pound loads and burning thousands of calories during a shift are, gasp, women. Having worked for Arizona Pedal Cab for three years, I was occasionally the sole female riding at a game. But there were plenty of afternoons and nights when I was joined by Leslie, Sherry, Brandy, Natalie, Cory, Tria, Kasha, Blossom, Sue, Nicki and others. The women who pedal-cab are an interesting, motivated cross-section of females. Our ranks include moms, grandmas, students and professionals. And yes, a few of us might even consider ourselves street hustlers -- just like the guys.

I find it highly amusing that you've disregarded the women pedal-cabbers in an article that partially focuses on the financial aspects of the industry. Ask nearly any male pedal-cabber who makes the more money and they will tell you -- with a look of either wonder or complete disgust on their face -- that it's the girls.

Betsi Phoebus

A dying breed: I am an independent bike cab operator who has been in business for roughly two years now. I got my start through Billy Oxford, who owns Arizona Pedal Cab. Billy was a fatherly figure to me who pushed me to be my best at pedicabbing, and helped me realize my potential in the industry. I own and operate my own cabs (otherwise known as "trailers" in bike-cab lingo), my main focus being on downtown Tempe at the moment.

Your article failed to mention the impact independents have made on this industry. Most of us independents set the bar for what pedicabs -- and a general picture of the industry itself -- should be. Through cab appearance and level of professionalism in how we look -- most of us always are clean-shaven, wear athletic gear associated with mountain-biking -- we convey having our fingers on the pulse of the very definition of what pedicabbing is: transporting people from point A to point B, getting them there safely, providing the customer with an alternative to walking or taking their car. This is a business to us, and we treat it as such.

What I'm trying to say is we independents are a dying breed. This is because of the massive surge of various companies that have sprouted up in the last few years. A number of these companies will hire just about anyone to fill up a bike for various event nights in Phoenix or Tempe, even if they are unkempt in their appearance, or of the criminal element. I don't claim to have all the answers on how to make things right in the pedicab industry, I just know that the elite group of operators that remain are made up mostly of independents. We have set the standard through the years. I just wish our viewpoint could have come through in your article.

Ross Teal
Atomic Pedalcabs

Rapping Deity

Jesus is still The Man: I am sure you will receive your fair share of "anti-Christian" letters on "Holy Crap" (Charles Gray, November 20) comparing and contrasting Tupac Shakur and Jesus. I can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek and clever support of your point, so I will argue with you on just one point. Jesus was hardly ascetic -- here comes the Webster quote -- "practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline."

He describes Heaven as a Marriage Feast. In fact, it was the Pharisees that complained He and His followers failed to keep the fast. He said, "I'm the groom, celebrate while you can, because the party here on Earth is about to end. We'll pick it up later in Heaven." His very first miracle was to turn water into wine -- incredibly good wine. Though He didn't partake, He hung out with harlots quite often. And tax collectors, too, who instead of our current-day IRS employees would be better described as loan sharks collecting seriously high-interest loans. He was the honored guest in wealthy homes eating high-end Hebrew culinary fare.

Of course, He did try to teach us to enjoy this life in a way that brings eternal life instead of death -- looking to get out of this mess we live in, not glorifying it as Tupac did. I'll take Jesus' next-day hangover to Tupac's any day.

Heather Kirk

In Tupac we trust: Hello, Mr. Charles Gray. I just finished reading the article you wrote about Tupac being similar to Jesus and on him being even better than Jesus. I am a fan of Tupac (his movies, music, the man). I am a believer in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

You are right in comparing the two, but Tupac is not better than Jesus. Jesus' legacy and spirit are still alive in the hearts and souls of millions more people and have endured for many generations. Tupac's legacy will live forever in the hearts of people he touched with his words and actions.

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