I was a little too late in submitting my story to make it into the Simply Bike: Cycling While Pregnant series before the blog took a hiatus, but I loved reading all the stories and am currently enjoying the trimester-by-trimester Common Pregnancy Questions on Velo Mom. My “babies” are now 7 and 4.75 (with no more planned) so my cycling while pregnant days are long behind me, but it was such a special stage so I’m happy to belatedly share some thoughts. These are my answers to the questions of the Simply Bike: Cycling While Pregnant series.
Favorite part about cycling:
Noticing so many little things about the city as I pass through—this is even more special with my toddler along for the ride.
Bike you ride:
Bianchi Milano city bike with Bobike mini baby seat.
What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant:
Easier than walking!
How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute:
I cycle primarily for transportation and am pregnant with my second so my “commute” is ferrying a two-year old around town which is very conducive to short trips that keep us close enough to home for midday nap breaks.
What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant?
Walking upstairs is much too tiring and I avoid stairs as much as possible, but bicycling is a breeze. I ride slowly on a fairly upright bike to begin with so sportier cyclists may notice more of a difference.
How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant?
It certainly helps that half my family is in the Netherlands where cycling is such a normal part of all stages of life. No one seems especially concerned nor impressed with it.
What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy?
Nothing! I was happy to discover my belly fits behind the Bobike mini front kid seat even past my guess date. During practice surges (that’s the HypnoBirthing term for Braxton Hicks contractions) I just coast or slow my pedaling.
I hoped the baby wouldn’t make his arrival on time so I could attend one last Kidical Mass ride and he obliged so I was able to keep riding to 40+ weeks.
What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience?
You’ll love it! It’s a wonderful and easy way to feel normal and energetic during pregnancy. It’s too easy to become sedentary when expecting and treat pregnancy as a delicate condition.
In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy?
I love swimming and loved how buoyant I felt in the water. It was a lot harder to find time to go swimming alone than it was to go biking with my toddler, though, so I’m not able to make it a regular habit. This photo is from 37 weeks pregnant, having just completed a one-mile open water swim. It almost felt like cheating, swimming while so buoyant.
p.s. TBT stands for Throwback Thursday
Whew! I think I just got blog-lash (whip lash) from seeing “biking while pregnant” on my feeder and then clicking to the blog to read it!! One mile swim while at 37 wks? You are a rock star.
Oops, I guess it should be titled “I’M ***NOT*** PREGNANT #TBT Cycling While Pregnant” ;)
The best part about the swim was that I had the start time wrong so I was taking little B for one last pee break and missed the start and sprinted (well, 37-week-pregnant-in-a-swim-suit version of sprinted) from the community center to the lake a bit behind everyone else. Sure helps the nerves, though, not having to stand around in chilly water, anxiously waiting for that “Go!”
I love this!! What a fun post to come across, this makes me miss my blog and the community I found through it but every time I’m tempted to revive it, I remember the laundry and the unfinished house chores, and work, and the kids, etc etc. But I love that you wrote your answers to my questions as a TBT post. And I’m so impressed by your swim! I was definitely not swimming a mile by that point in my pregnancies :)
Thanks! It was sort of cheating since I already had them composed from last year when I sent them in :) But seemed like a good time to put them to use after Jen’s post on the Wheelwomen Switchboard. I’m much much much more impressed by your running, just so you know.
Hey, my wife did hypnobirthing also. She rode up until the day she gave birth, though she had to switch to an upright (folding) bike. As you said, she claimed biking was much easier than walking.
She works on the east side, so she had two options for getting there: bus across 520 or biking up and over Lake Washington. Biking up and over took 2-3 hours. Taking the bus would take a variable amount of time, but there were no bathroom breaks. She preferred biking up and over, being able to stop whenever she needed to, versus being on the bus needing to pee while it crawled through traffic (this is pre-520 tolling). She’d carpool to get home.
Wow, that is the most impressive commute! I have yet to make that ride, but it’s on my list.
Your blog is an inspiration and this post, more! I did’n had the chance to cycle during my first pregnancy but I’ll sure do, now, if I’ll ever have more children!
Thank you! I wish I hadn’t stopped bicycling during my first pregnancy. I started out so tired and just stayed inactive :( But having a toddler to keep up with the second time around didn’t give me a choice (thank goodness!).
We recently ditched our car and now get around via bike with two small kiddos. We are talking about the possibility of having a third child, but we are concerned about how to get around with an infant without a car. How old was your son when you started biking with him as a baby, and what carrier did you use?
Congrats on ditching the car! We still have ours, but hopefully won’t forever. A while back I spent two weeks thinking I’d have to find a way to accommodate a third baby and I’ll admit I was a bit freaked out and thankful it wasn’t a reality since I never figured out what to do. With my first I waited until he was one and used the front baby seat, but with my second I felt he had sufficient core strength (hooray for babywearing and its benefits for mom and baby) to put his infant car seat into a trailer at 10 weeks. Unless you want to use a box-style or bucket-style cargo bike (bakfiets/Bullitt with box in front or Madsen with bucket in back) the popular way to tote babies seems to be in trailer. Both methods feature putting the baby in an infant car seat and attaching that to the bike. Our car set wedged perfectly into our old Burley Solo single trailer, but I see car seats strapped into double trailers with tie-down straps. For cargo bikes, the car seat base is often connected to bike the car seat snapped in and out. I feel silly that it didn’t occur to me to change our Burley Solo hitch. It connects to the axle of regular bikes, but I’m pretty sure it could be changed to clamp to my longtail. And there is a family in town who tows a trailer with their Xtracycle (and just had their third!). Personally I feel like my bike is already SO LONG so that’s probably why I didn’t think about adding the trailer, but longtail + trailer seems pretty feasible now that I’m thinking more about it. And there are other creative solutions like regular bike with front and rear seats plus trailer for baby, or regular bike plus FollowMe Tandem coupler for kid bike connecting down at the rear hub so there’s room for rear seat above it and baby trailer behind the coupled kid bike (yes, that’s long!), or tandem bike with kid cranks and rear kid seat plus trailer. Oh, and I didn’t really feel like doing any biking before 10 weeks anyway, though I know a lot of moms who want to hop back on their bikes sooner than that. I also know car-free families that utilize busing for everything until the infant is big enough for the bike, but they seem very eager to get back to the freedom of biking.
Thank you so much for the awesome reply! It’s something a haven’t been able to find a good answer to until now. We have a Chariot and a cross bike, which is how I get my kids around now, but they are getting so heavy we are looking to upgrade to an Edgerunner. I guess we’ll just keep the Chariot and try to hitch it onto the Edgerunner when the time comes. Thank you again!
Phew, I worried it was TOO MUCH reply. You will love the EdgeRunner. Having the weight up on the bike versus dragging in the trailer makes such a difference! And if you have room to keep the trailer, definitely do so. They’re great for cargo or kids in very bad weather in the meantime and baby when the time comes. I think the automotive aisle has nice tie downs, but http://www.strapworks.com/default.asp has oodles of stuff. My friend got rainbow seatbelts for her EdgeRunner FlightDeck there!
Thanks again! I love your blog. Being new to family biking and also being in the Northwest (Portland) I feel like your blog has been a lifesaver!
Portland?!! You’re in the land of family biking! Now I’m jealous! :) Are you on Facebook? There’s a great group in Portland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PDX.CargoBiking/ and there are several Portlanders in our similar Seattle group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/seattlefamilybiking/ Ooh, I just love Portland.