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!
Location: St. Louis, MO
Cycling for how many years: Going on seven years
Favorite part about cycling: Being part of the streets I ride through – really experiencing my surroundings. Getting around without a car. Knowing I’m doing something good for my health and for the environment
Bike(s) you ride: Kona Jake and Schwinn Voyager
What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: Normal, fun, empowering
How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute: Due to a job change prior to becoming pregnant, a daily [bicycle] commute was no longer part of the picture. To make up for this, I tried to use my bike as much as possible on the weekends to make sure that I could gradually adjust to my changing body.
For awhile, I mostly rode the Schwinn, which is a hybrid, because it seemed more stable, plus I thought the more upright posture would be more comfortable for my growing belly. Toward the end, I ended up on the Kona again – enjoying the advantages of a lighter and faster bike (to make up for my slower pace).
Weather also played a role. In the winter months, I was extra cautious about biking when the roads were icy, and once the heat of the summer hit (the last weeks of my pregnancy), I limited my rides to the cooler part of the day.
What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant: Although I went into it with the goal of cycling up until the end, the fact that I did so was a bit of a surprise (a pleasant one) since I’d never been pregnant before and didn’t really know what to expect or how I would feel at various points.
At 34 weeks, I completed a rather intense 2-day cycling instructor training, involving hours of on-bike time in hot summer weather. Going into the weekend, I was pretty nervous, but we rode at an easy pace, and I not only completed the training, I felt great at the end!
How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant: My husband, who also bikes, was very supportive. Since cycling for transportation was so much a part of my lifestyle already, I made my intentions to cycle throughout the pregnancy pretty clear from the beginning. Perhaps because of this (?), I did not hear anything negative from family or friends. I always wondered what strangers were thinking, especially toward the end, and I kept expecting to have to defend my decisions, but those situations never materialized.
What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy: The main “accommodation” was relaxing the pace and intensity of my riding. Both of my bikes have straight top tubes (AKA “male” bicycle frames), and I considered getting a step-through frame to make getting on and off the bicycle easier. Toward the end, it was a little tricky, but both bikes I already had worked fine.
I did stop using my clip-less shoes/pedals to eliminate the risk of a silly fall.
What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience: Go for it! If you were already cycling before you were pregnant, you’re in a great position to continue throughout your pregnancy (of course, you should consult your midwife or doctor, but if they’re not supportive, consider getting a second opinion).
If you continue a regular cycling routine, you adjust to your new, changing body gradually, which eliminates or minimizes balance and discomfort issues.
Cycling throughout the pregnancy was very empowering. Toward the end, each ride felt like a fun accomplishment. I was proud of my body and its abilities, even while in such a different state!
In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy: I lifted weights 2-3 times/week, modifying as necessary throughout the pregnancy. Early on, I would jog to the gym for lifting; later, I switched to walking. In general, I walked and moved as much as possible.