As part of my collaboration with S from Simply Bike, we have been gathering some Q&A's from other cycling ladies out there. Ladies, thanks for sharing!
Here is Hannah, on her Brompton at around 24 weeks pregnant
Name: Hannah K
Location: Philadelphia (and Baltimore)
Cycling for how many years: Six and a half in Baltimore
Favorite part about cycling: I love not being beholden to bus timetables! I decide when I’m leaving the house and I don’t have to wait to transfer. Also, parking a bike is so easy, as opposed to when I would drive to work (and it’s free!). I also love the exercise I get as an added benefit.
Bike(s) you ride: Right now I mostly ride my new Brompton; in Philly I recently switched from my Surly Traveler’s Check to my mom’s old Peugeot that I converted to a 3 speed a couple years ago since it’s more upright.
What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: Independence, healthy, easy.
How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute: We found out I was pregnant the weekend that we moved from Baltimore to Philadelphia. I had already planned on using the Brompton and Amtrak to get to and from the office and to get around while in Baltimore 3 days a week. Fortunately during the first trimester I was feeling great and the commute was easy – 15 minutes from my house in Philly to the train station, just over an hour on the train, and then another 15 minutes to the office. I really like that the Philly portion is 95% on the Schuylkill bike path – it feels quite safe since there are no cars, but I found myself worrying a little bit about traffic in Baltimore. In the end cycling is the fastest and most convenient way to get around and my route in Baltimore is one that I’ve been doing for the last five years, so it feels familiar and relatively safe. I’d say that other than making sure I take the lane and making myself highly visible (yellow jacket, extra blinky) I use the same level of caution as before.
What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant: How easy it’s been!
How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant: My husband is an avid cyclist and very supportive, but he’s been good about helping me think through alternative strategies if conditions aren’t great or once I get quite big. My family as well – both my parents bike to their university jobs in a very-flat Midwestern college town, so while I’m sure they have concerns, they trust me. Now that I’m showing, a few people at work keep asking if I’m still biking – one woman even said “isn’t your balance off?” and while that may be true, it’s not in the side-to-side axis!
What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy: I did stop riding my ‘racing’ style bike to my appointments and around Philly once my belly got in the way; now I take the mixte or the Brompton.
What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience: So far, cycling has been the best option for me to be mobile in my new commute – much faster than waiting for the bus! As long as you’re confident about your cycling ability and your road safety precautions there’s no reason not to try it. But go with what is comfortable for you – not everyone I know is comfortable cycling in Baltimore even when they’re not pregnant, but knowing which routes tend to have the fewest cars or where there are protected lanes or plenty of room can do wonders for your sense of security. Also, take the lane, signal and stay out of the door zone!
In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy: I was running a bit at the beginning, and now at 23 weeks I’m doing weekly prenatal yoga. I walk our dog around a large park on most of the days that I’m home which is a great excuse to be outside and roaming.