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Twenty Months Later by Toni Youngblood

Submitted by on October 18, 2011 – 9:33 am6 Comments

Almost two years ago Toni sold her car and began life In Dallas on two wheels.  This is her 3rd update for Biking in Dallas, you can follow her story here, or catch up with her at the Tits Tuesday ride.

I can’t believe it, I have been happily CAR FREE for TWENTY MONTHS now!!  It has been a unique experience and I feel fortunate to have a lifestyle conducive to this bohemian adventure—but it hasn’t been entirely without consequence. In addition to being hit by an S.U.V. downtown last year, I’ve found myself walking home from Greenville Avenue to Downtown at 3am after a blowout for which I was ill prepared.  Earlier this year during that whole Super Bowl ice storm fiasco, mobility for me was pretty much crippled.  I couldn’t ride to work on the ice, DART wasn’t running because of the storm, and the taxi cab companies chose THAT weekend to go on strike!  That week was probably the biggest challenge so far…that and trying to show up at a party looking fresh and polished with wind-blown hair and chain grease on my calves.

I’ve enjoyed incorporating the bikes into nearly all of our social activities, and I cannot even remember the last time I paid for transportation.

It’s been a pleasure to watch and participate in the growth of the Dallas cycling community over the past two years.  I remember the early days when your best bet for a social ride was the now defunct 75208 Sunday rides.  Now there are more social rides each week than I can keep up with—practically every day of the week!  When I’m not leading a “Tits Tuesday” ride or tagging along on one of the fledgling “WedEx Wednesday” rides, I like to zone out with solitary lake laps in the sun.  I’m a big fan of the impromptu rides, too!  The text alert sounds and within an hour a group of us are pedaling toward the Amsterdam or Bishop Arts.  I’ve enjoyed incorporating the bikes into nearly all of our social activities, and I cannot even remember the last time I paid for transportation.

at the Dallas Pride Parade

We’ve ridden our bikes in the St. Patrick’s Day & Gay Pride Parades, we’ve mobilized a posse to pass out promotional material for one of my favorite bands (Captured!By Robots), we’ve drawn blood with bike jousting, and we’ve had sweat-soaked races to the pool about a thousand times over the summer.  When my friends and I hop on the bicycles, we are instantly transformed into the Peanuts Gang.  Age, money, status—none of these things matter when you’ve got that 2-wheeled equalizer carrying you away.  These bikes keep us young at heart…I think this has everything to do with the growing popularity of the social cycling movement in Dallas.

Beyond the social aspect, riding a bicycle every day allows you a freedom the gas-guzzling masses don’t realize.  Sure, running errands takes more strategy than it did when I was a driver—but it becomes like a game:

Accidents happen

outwitting the “to do” list!  Battling the traffic, the elements, and those damn texting drivers.  What is the quickest way to get there safely?  How will I carry my purchases?  What if it starts raining or a dog chases me?  Once I’m pedaling the pavement, though…my mind wanders, I become relaxed.  Stress and bike riding just don’t mix.  It’s very zen feeling the sun on your skin, the breeze touching your face, smelling cut grass, hearing the sounds of the city.  Road Rage doesn’t happen on a bike.  Commuting becomes playtime.

As I approach my two year Bikeversary I’ve got my eyes peeled for a new ride.  The Raleigh Technium has served me VERY well but I’m ready for something a little tastier!  I’ll be on the lookout for a shiny new road bike with racing components and tires that look like candy.  (I welcome any and all leads.  Seriously, if you know of a bike that fits that magical description please email or Facebook me!)  I’m also in the market for a new messenger bag as a summer of hardcore use has ravaged both of mine.  I suppose it’s high time to retire my gloves and put these little hands of mine into something new, too.  Hmmm, I think I’ve just come to the realization that it is time for a bike-life makeover…

– Toni

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