Well folks, I have reached my last day of work here at Green Action Centre and I have got to say I am certainly ready for this new adventure of motherhood and maternity leave!
Me riding my step-through bike at 36 weeks pregnant, loads of room between my belly and the handlebars!
I should start by saying that I have been very fortunate to have had a healthy pregnancy all the way through. Here is our pick of stroller and carseat combo
so that I can continue exercising when baby comes. This made it possible for me to meet my goal of cycling through to my last day of work, at 38 weeks pregnant. A lot of people including my doctors and close friends seem shocked when I tell them this, or when they see me roll up on two wheels – but think about it for a minute, you literally get to sit down while you travel!
With a couple small adjustments to my regular cycling routine, I have found that biking has been one of my favourite things to do while pregnant, and is so much easier than walking! With your legs and body supported, you and your little passenger can roam free.
A few things made this an enjoyable experience for me, and I want to share these with you before I go. If you have other tips that I have missed, please post them below – it will help keep more ladies on their bikes!
1. Make sure you are riding a comfortable bike!
I loved the ferocious speed of my road bike, but as my tummy grew it became clear it was not practical to swing my leg over the top bar (I had a men’s road bike) and was painful for my back to lean forward. Many girls (including myself) also ride road bikes that are actually too big for them, which could cause you a lot of damage in the case of an accident. However some pregnant ladies ride their road bikes all the way though, so it depends what the most comfortable bike is for you.
For me, a step-through or mixte frame has been ideal, as I have grown I really appreciate the ease of getting on the bike, and the upright handlebars that allow me to keep my back straight. I also greatly value the ability to change gears…what seemed like my flat prairie city suddenly has mountains. As your little bean grows, your lung capacity diminishes, so being able to cut yourself a break sometimes by shifting to a lower gear is a great gift.
I didn’t have the need for this, but have heard it suggested that investing in a bike with really great shocks can help your body avoid the jolt from our many potholes. Something to keep in mind!
2. Give yourself more time for your trip
Taking more time to enjoy my ride made all the difference. You might find you enjoy stopping to rest by the water, or visiting a bike to work day pit stop (like ours!) for coffee!
My husband and I commute together by bike each day, and while the first few months of my pregnancy did not require much adjustment…I might have started to make him late after a while (though I clearly denied that this was my fault). We made the choice to leave 5-10 minutes earlier each morning just so we could take our time and it made all the difference. I have really grown to appreciate a slower cycling speed, I was able to enjoy the ride more, and spot things I would have normally blew past – like the fox den we found this spring!
I did not find that I ever got a negative reaction from vehicles, I maintained my one metre from the curb and communicated clearly when I needed to turn or change lanes. I rode at a comfortable pace and vehicles respected that. I’d just like to see someone honk anyway!
We are fortunate to bike along a pathway most of our route. You might want to consider planning a different route that has more pathways or cycling infrastructure – even if it will make your trip a bit longer, it can make it all the more comfortable.
3. Take a break sometimes
Biking while pregnant was easy, sometimes I just made my husband do it! The pedicab was fun, and so was the occasional bus ride and carshare rental.
In the first trimester and the last trimester, you will have days that you just feel like junk. In my morning sickness phase, I actually found that cycling through a cool fresh breeze made me feel a lot better. Though sometimes I just had to stay home.
Remember that it is okay to give yourself a break sometimes (you should probably read that sentence a few times over). My husband was always very supportive if I changed my mind and felt like taking the bus, or if we were on our way out at night and I wanted to book the carshare vehicle.
Fun fact: Once you are noticeably pregnant, people start to offer you seats on the bus. You might not always need it, but man is it ever nice to be asked!
I could not have done it without the support and encouragement of my co-workers, the cycling community, and of course my husband Sean who rode by my side there and back every single day.
Well, I guess my next post will be about cloth diapers, or biking with a baby seat. Isn’t it funny how things change?! Until then I hope you all continue to ride safe and enjoy your two wheeled adventures.