Family is important, but cycling allows you to form close bonds as well.
Jennifer Longville may not think of herself solely as a cyclist.
As a professional and mother, riding a bike sometimes takes a back seat, but that doesn't wane it's importance.
Cycling provides Jennifer not just an outlet to get away, but also also a sense of community.
Her Wednesday night Women's Ride isn't just a two hour escape, but a ritual.
With the work week being so hectic, the friendships and camaraderie formed from this group ride gives her something to look forward to in the middle of the week.
We catchup with Jennifer as she talks about how she found her "2nd family".
Jennifer ready to roll with her cycling family.
Long Beach has grown rapidly in the last few decades. How different is it now from your childhood?
It has lots more bike lanes and more cars. I do see more people on bikes - students getting to school and recreational riders which is great. Long Beach has put in a lot of bike lanes and a bike share program!
Do you have any memories cycling as a kid?
I remember my first bike was a green Schwinn with a banana seat. I remember learning how to ride by crashing thru the neighbors front yard ivy! My second bike was when I was in high school, a blue 10 speed Nishiki! I went everywhere on my 10 speed.
What was it about Geography that interested you as your major?
Meeting new people and seeing new places. Mostly the meeting and making new friends. Plus I really like maps. I still have a Thomas Guide in my car!
Jennifer's real family.
You worked in Maine for four years. Was living out there a comfortable experience?
Yes, it was comfortable and very different than here. It was a beautiful place to live. I worked with a great group of coworkers and we were all about the same age. I am still in touch with some of them. I missed my family and was happy to move back. Plus, I missed the Southern California weather. We are so spoiled here with great weather all year long.
When your kids were young, you would take them to school in a trailer, but back then you really didn't consider yourself a cyclist?
It was to get outside and have fun with the kids. Plus it was my form of exercise at the time. I started out with a one seater attached on the bike but they outgrew it pretty quickly. I felt a trailer was safer and I could take both of the kids!
Now that they are teenagers, what are the bigger challenges of balancing your work and family life?
Finding the time to ride. I have to ride right after work because if I go home first something always comes up and I never get back out!
Cyclists sometimes have an alter-ego.
How important is it to have cycling as an outlet?
Very important! It helps relieve stress and keeps me going. Juggling between teenagers and elderly parents can be very stressful. When I ride I can catch up with my riding friends to see how they are doing with their families & work. We support & encourage each other.
Riding in a group is always fun, but why is the social aspect just as important too?
For me it's part of the whole. I have meet some incredibly inspiring people during my group rides. When I ride sometimes it's hard to get motivated to go or I'm just not feeling it. After the ride I always feel better and am always glad I went.
How did you find out about LACBC?
I saw the Operation Firefly notice off the LACBC link asking for volunteers.
Where else will we find you riding outside of Lakewood?
I have not ridden along the central coast of California yet, so that's on my bucket list. Also, I ride in Long Beach and the group rides take place in Costa Mesa, Newport, and Irvine.
Find links to more #LACBCeverywhere profiles on our Bike Month page.