Friday, March 5, 2010

Profile of a carfree American- Tammy Strobel, Portland, Oregon

Tell me a little bit about you (name, age, occupation, carfree or carlite, where you live).
"I'm Tammy Strobel; I'm an independent consultant and blog daily at I'm car-free and live in Portland, Oregon. When not working on RowdyKittens, I can be found outside taking photos, walking or riding my bike. :)"

When did you start using a bicycle for commuting?
"I started using my bike as my main method of transportation about 2 years ago to save money, improve my health and reduce my environmental impact. Saving money was a huge priority for us. On average we save about $8,000 a year by not owning a car."

What inspired you to start?
"Dee Williams’ tiny house and the idea of a simpler life inspired us to try something new. Simple living challenged us to eliminate our unnecessary stuff and to prioritize our life goals."

What is a day in your bicycling life like?
"Everyday is different. Now that I'm an independent consultant, I work from home. So I usually end up riding around town to different coffee shops. There is always something new and fun to see. "

Do you recommend cycling to friends/family members/others? Have any taken you up on it?
"I just finished writing my first ebook on car-free living and I hope the book will inspire people to start commuting on 2 wheels. Or go car-lite. :)"

What kind of bike are you currently riding?
"Right now I ride a Surly Long Haul Trucker and it's perfect for me. I can haul lots of groceries around town and still go fast. :)"

In your opinion, what’s the best part about cycling?
"I love being outside and pedaling by restaurants. The smells are incredible. "

What’s the worst?
"Mean drivers and pouring rain."

What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting/ considering commuting by bike?
"1. Wear a helmet. 2. Follow the rules of the road. 3. And make sure your bike fits appropriately. There is nothing worse that a bike that doesn't fit. "

Anything else you would like to add?
"2 things: 1. Overcoming the fear of change 2. the importance of community involvement. My wish is to address the fear of change on everyone's mind. It's so easy to be hindered by fear. I think it's important to remember that anything is possible. When we sold our cars we didn't get much support from friends and family members. We were told that our decision was crazy and austere. It was hard getting negative feedback from family and friends. But I'm glad we ditched the cars. We're healthier and happier. :) Connecting with your community is incredibly important. I hope more and more cities will follow Portland's lead and develop policies that cater to bikes. But that won't happen without active citizens. We all have to do our part."

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