Biking with Xina Jones
One of the best things about biking in Dallas is the people. Dallas cyclists are not just one type… we are all shapes, sizes, styles, colors, ages, and lifestyles. We ride big bikes, small bikes, fat tires, thin tires, one tire, three tires, sitting up, sitting back, leaning forward, fast, slow, and everything in between. To highlight and celebrate the variety of the people of the Dallas cycling scene, we are launching a brand-new feature series called “Biking with…“ We hope that you’ll enjoy meeting the folks that are Biking in Dallas.
Xina Jones is a quiet legend. She has been a bicycle messenger in Dallas since 1999, lives car-free, and she currently helps lead the weekly Time In The Saddle rides from Whole Foods in Lakewood on Tuesdays. I met her a couple years ago at a get together at The Gingerman and recently reconnected with her on a few social rides. She’s always willing to help new cyclists, and loves exploring Dallas city streets. I enjoy picking her brain about Dallas roads, buildings, and landmarks; rarely do you meet someone as knowledgeable about Dallas (in particular, East Dallas) history.
When she’s not busy making deliveries around downtown, Xina has started working at Eden’s Farm (community-supported agriculture) in Balch Springs south of Dallas. “I see Eden’s members, their families, and other farmers there, so it’s a true community. I love doing whatever I can there because everything is grown sustainably. (They can’t use the term ‘organic’ because they’re not certified by Texas or the FDA. Certification is expensive and more paper work than the owner, Marie, can devote time and resources to; she’d rather dedicate money and energy to farm work and food.)”
On Sunday mornings, you’ll probably find her riding through “various neighborhoods to glimpse what other people are doing, leisurely taking in the many sights and sounds, snapping photos of places and buildings before they’re gone or demolished.”
On her bike fleet… For work, I ride a Marin Sausalito that’s been transformed into what one mechanic called a ‘psychocross’, a hybrid that desperately wants to be a cyclocross but just isn’t. The original frame wasn’t a Sausalito, but a bladed, brushed aluminum Point Reyes, but after it, and its free replacement cracked, the Sausalito was the last free one Marin sent. (These aluminum frames cracked every two years after heavy daily [mis]use of carrying file boxes on handlebars, rolling off curbs, etc.) The current one is probably only holding up because it’s been rotated with my other two bikes, a Santa Cruz Roadster (road) and a Klein Palomino (trail).
Xina’s advice to new cyclists… Know that you have the right to ride on streets and roads that motor vehicles use: be confident, friendly, smile, use hand/arm turn signals, stay in your lane, be predictable, use lights at night, wave ‘Thanks!’ when a driver is courteous- positive reinforcement goes a long way. It’s too easy to get angry with drivers who don’t know or understand, and it doesn’t help at all to vent at them.
Xina’s reminder to motorists… Because motorists took a test with the following information to get licensed, it should be known that cyclists also use streets and roads at all times, that biking is also transportation, that we need only 3-6 feet of space to drive around us if we’re on a two-lane road, and, if there are multiple lanes, simply signal and change lanes. Although most of us travel slower than motorists on city and rural roads, we’re easy to pass and we really don’t slow you down as much as you might think.
Thanks to Xina for sharing a little bit about her life! In case you missed the first profile in this series, meet Máthews Faza.
Photos courtesy Chris Curnutt.