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The Fear Has Set In by Toni Youngblood

Submitted by on February 21, 2010 – 9:56 pm10 Comments

I met Toni Youngblood at a Thursday night Hawaiian theme ride hosted by the Richardson Urban Bike Club.  This was my first time there and didn’t know anyone.  The whole group was very friendly and approachable, and Toni was one of the first people that I sat an visited with.  I’ve since crossed paths with her on numerous other group rides and she always brings a great energy to any event.  She also picks the coolest costumes for themed rides.  Her car-free experiment started today and we’re excited to have her share that experience with us and our readers.  – Chris Curnutt

Toni Youngblood

I ride my bicycle.  Regularly.  Social rides, pub crawls, down the street to the liquor store when I don’t feel like getting my car out of valet and fighting over meters on Main Street.  Sometimes around White Rock lake for exercise, sometimes I’ll just text a few friends and we’ll zip around downtown and catch up on the latest gossip.  Beginning March 1, however, I will be surrendering my overpriced Pontiac Solstice and going strictly 2-wheeled for the duration of 2010.

I’ve been toying with the idea of ditching my car and all the ridiculous expenses related to it for awhile now.  I recently left my career in real estate (it was killing my soul) and I’ve been trying to squeeze every penny out of my now measly budget.  The idea of saving $430 a month  on the car loan, $150 on full-coverage insurance, the $100 that is rolled into my rent for valet parking at my parking building, gas, oil changes, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, etc. is ENTIRELY appealing…but I know this is going to mean a dramatic change in lifestyle.

At the Halloween Ride on her Green Machine

Allow me to backtrack a bit and tell you how I became engrossed in the Dallas bike culture to begin with.  I’ve had bikes before, sure, as many of you do.  Mine mostly sat on my porch when I lived in Lakewood, collecting dust until it was stolen while I sat in my living room one afternoon.  A longtime friend and AVID bicycle enthusiast, Colin Clarke, offered to sell me a replacement cruiser super cheap and I eventually accepted.  Colin, as anyone in the scene knows, is an Oak Cliff native and basically eats, sleeps, and breathes all things with wheels.  He created a group he dubbed 75208 which meets each week on his turf and mixes casual riding with socializing, drinking, and the occasional swim.  Having recently been dumped, I was super depressed and shamefully lonely—and my buddy persistently invited me to join he and the fellas for their weekly rides.  One week in April, he told me that he had painted canned beers to look like Easter Eggs and that his ride would include a festive little “Easter Beer Hunt” in a nearby grassy area overlooking downtown.  EASTER BEER HUNT???  Are you kidding me???  That was my induction into the 75208.  With the exception of one or two Sundays when even 4 pairs of pants wouldn’t keep me warm, I have been on every Sunday ride since that day.

There were a number of aspects of the 75208 rides that continually seduced me—the extra exercise, the interesting new characters I met each week, exploring unfamiliar neighborhoods and watering holes.  More than anything, though, this weekly date gave me something to look forward to.  No matter how boring, abysmal, and lonely the workweek was, I knew that come Sunday I would be smiling in the sun with my new bicycle buddies in Oak Cliff.  I met Becky, who introduced me to Autumn and Havi.  I met Cristy Cruiser and Jay, who led me to Kizzle and Matt Daddy and Rodney and Josh.  Darrin and Kristian, Jonathan and Lee… I met Carl and Bama which soon led me to John and Major Tom and a WHOLE NEW WORLD of bike rides in Richardson.  Soon I was not only a devout member of 75208, I was also attending weekly rides with a group up north called “Richardson Urban Bike Club”).  These Thursday rides were mind-blowing!  Costumes and weekly themes, surprise destinations, carnivals, and bars you can still smoke in!!  My obnoxious little convertible didn’t have a bike rack, so I was forced to face my fears of public transportation and conquer the DART Rail.  This newfound DART savvy is going to come in verrrrrrry handy in the near future….

February 2010..Toni Youngblood goes carless in Dallas

Back to the here & now:   It’s nearly Spring and although one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to rid myself of the expense of my stupid Solstice, I’m a total wuss about cold weather so I have postponed my liberation until the days of 60 degree high temps.  I’m nervous.  How am I going to get my groceries home on the bike??  What about when it’s 110 out there and I want to look cute, rather than arrive at my destination a sweaty mess with wind-wrecked locks?  What about my beloved roadtrips—how the hell is that going to happen now??  Venturing home from Henderson at 2:30am, flying solo with nothing but a nog light and old roller derby helmet between me and all the last call dynamos??  OMG, what have I set myself up for?

Today, February 22, at nine in the morning….my car was officially relinquished.  The fear has set in.

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