We are happy to profile our second female commuter. Here’s her Commuter Profile:
How long have you been a bike commuter?
I have commuted by bicycle to work frequently for the past 5 years. I have always been a cyclist riding for recreation, exercise or for errands.
What do you do and what city do you bike commute.
I live in Temple Terrace , Florida and commute from my home to work at the University of South Florida in Tampa . I am the Director of the New North Transportation Alliance and a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). I moved to Florida almost 2 years ago to work at CUTR. My profession has been to create, promote and encourage sustainable transportation choices (carpool, vanpool, transit, walking or bike) for the past 12 years. I worked for the Utah Transit Authority Rideshare Department for 10 years prior to moving to Florida .
Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
I started riding my bicycle to work frequently after my son crashed my vehicle while driving on Interstate 15 near Salt Lake City . He was not injured, but the car was totaled. I chose to bank the money I received from my insurance company and live car-free in downtown Salt Lake City . That was 3 years ago and the account is still growing along with the money I don’t spend on owning a car. My current commute is around 4 miles each way. I ride an extra 20 miles with my commute for exercise several times per week.
What kind of bikes do you have?
I own a Trek 5200 WSD road bike and a bright yellow cruiser. I use the Trek for my commute to work, and the carbon frame on my road bike allows me to easily carry it up stairs into my office. The cruiser is for riding around my neighborhood just for fun.
Any experience that you can share with us about ‘learning the hard way’?
I learned to always plan my route when riding in Tampa . Many roads in Tampa have absolutely no shoulder and are very dangerous for cyclists. I have been caught a few times on roads that are not fit for bicyclist or pedestrians because of their design. Florida has the highest fatality rate for bicyclists and many roads are still being planned and built without shoulders or bike lanes.
What do people say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
Many people say that I am crazy for riding my bicycle in Florida , especially because I am very aware of the statistics for accidents and deaths in Florida . But the positive comments outweigh the negative, and I personally know many people who have started commuting by bicycle this year. We started a new local initiative called Tampa BayCycle and the response was very positive. I have had many bicyclists thank me for caring enough to start this movement. I have received many messages from participants who have started commuting by bicycle and how it has changed their lives. They ride for many reasons: to decrease their impact on the environment, lose weight or just because it makes them feel better. I am always surprised at how many people stop by my office just to look at my bike and talk about my commute.
Do you have an “advanced commuter tip”?
Always carry a digital camera, cash and a cell phone.
We want to thank Julie for her taking time out of her busy schedule to be profiled on our site.