This past May, I fell in love. I’ve been happily married for 7 years but when I found “Bluebird,” my Linus Mixte 3-speed, my whole experience of biking changed. And my husband was all for it. Now, I easily and effortlessly keep up with him. Our Sunday rides to the farmer’s market are faster and more fun. I ride more often, almost every single day and often multiple times a day. I am undeterred by windy Long Beach afternoons, and for the first time since I was a kid, I have a bike that really fits me.
If you have a bike, perhaps you know that experience of riding when your body and bike are in perfect harmony, terrain or weather conditions hardly matter. On my old bike, adding any variable like wind into the mix or heavily loaded panniers from the market or grocery store made riding feel like a chore. I always felt like I had to work so hard to get anywhere. Still, I rode because I like living at a walking or cycling pace, and I‘ve always done everyday errands on foot or by bike when I can. But the old bike never felt comfortable and no matter how I sat on the seat or adjusted the handlebars, I felt like I could never get any power in the pedals.
I can’t remember where I first learned of Linus Bikes, but I researched them and went and rode a few in the showroom on Abbott Kinney in Venice. I wanted to buy locally, so I found the shops who sold them here in Long Beach and went in to ride some more. Nicole and Evan at The Bicycle Stand really helped me understand what kind of bicycle would suit me best. They spent several hours with me, setting up different models for me to ride so that I could feel the difference. It was an empowering buying experience. I knew exactly what I was getting when I left their shop that day. They told me to work the bike on my rides and then to bring it in so they could make adjustments to enhance the experience. Since I bought it, they have obliged with appropriate tweaks here and there, making my riding life even better. For a woman on a bike, it’s very important to feel confident and a bicycle that really fits makes this possible.
My husband has been using his bicycle as primary transportation for the past 10 years, riding to work in all weathers. I will be riding Bluebird to work too. In 2013, I will open Long Beach Community Acupuncture, a clinic dedicated to accessible, affordable treatment. Acupuncture works most effectively when a person can receive it frequently. A community clinic provides a quiet, common space for treatment at rates that allow people to receive as many treatments as they need. I believe this model is a perfect fit for Long Beach’s diverse population of hardworking, creative individuals. With over 200 community clinics operating in the U.S., I look forward to adding Long Beach to that list.
The car-congested environment of Southern California is the last place I thought I could make a home, but I’ve enjoyed living in Long Beach for almost a decade now. I tend to like smaller towns. While Long Beach is nowhere near a small town in its population density and diversity, it often feels like one to me. I think it is because the city is largely accessible by bicycle, walking, and public transportation. And bicycling in Long Beach is only getting better. I am excited to be part of this wave of innovation by contributing to sustainable business, affordable healthcare, and keeping Long Beach a desirable place to live.
Susan Wiggins graduated from Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the spring of 2012. In 2013, she will open Long Beach Community Acupuncture. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about community acupuncture clinics nationwide, check out the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) at www.pocacoop.com.