Our office manager, Kelly Bray, spoke with our marketing and communications manager, Lauren McVittie, on her experiences cycling while pregnant.
What’s different about riding while pregnant compared to riding when you were not pregnant?
It definitely is about listening to your body. Some people will have no trouble adjusting. Others like myself will need to make some adjustments. I found that the saddle (bike seat) that I’d been using for years suddenly wasn’t comfortable anymore, so I ended up switching it out for a new one. As I’ve gotten bigger I’ve also switched from using my touring bike to only riding my more upright city bike. Eventually there just wasn’t enough space between my belly and my knees on the non-upright bike!
I’m very lucky to own multiple bicycles and be able to make the switch. For people who have one bike, there is a lot you can do to make it more comfortable. Raising the stem, getting different handlebars, and swapping out the saddle can all make a big difference to how the bike feels to ride. If you don’t have a basket or rack, now would also be the time to get one. Your spine has enough weight to carry without the addition of a backpack!
Aside from adjustments to the bike, I also found that I needed to adjust my expectations and be kind to myself. My lung capacity is reduced these days, so I’ve been going slower and leaving myself more time to get places. Keeping well hydrated is important and that means both bringing a good amount of water with me and also knowing where to find public washrooms on longer rides!
Is there anything that surprised you about cycling while pregnant?
I’m generally a very active person and I wasn’t planning to change that during pregnancy, especially at the beginning. I was most surprised by my own limitations – pregnancy nausea, exhaustion, and dizzy spells all limited my ability to bike, especially during the first trimester (they limited my ability to do most things, really). Luckily I’ve been able to bike more during the second half of my pregnancy. I listen to my body and only do as much as I can handle and that allows me to still get the exercise I enjoy and travel around the city conveniently.
Have you changed your cycling routes at all?
I have not, but I am lucky to live in an area with a lot of off-road paths and a few bike lanes. The only thing I might do differently these days is to choose routes that avoid big hills, since I currently have a tiny human crowding my lungs!
Have you noticed any benefits to riding your bike while pregnant?
The same benefits apply now that always have! It’s a convenient way to get around, an easy way to keep in shape, and a really fun way to explore the city. It’s been very important to me as my primary mode of transportation. With the growing bump and occasional dizziness, I really prefer not to drive. Public transit was something I avoided before I had my second vaccine dose, as pregnant people are at increased risk from COVID-19. While I love my daily walks, they are becoming daily waddles at this point. Cycling for me really is the most safe, comfortable, and convenient way to get around while pregnant.
By the time this gets published, you will already be on maternity leave. Are you still cycling or have you stopped?
I don’t plan to stop cycling any time soon. At this point I have about five weeks to go and unless something drastically changes, I expect that cycling will continue to be the best mode of transportation for me.
Any advice for other soon-to-be parents looking to cycle while pregnant?
Listen to your body, make adjustments as needed, and as always, talk to your healthcare provider to make certain that cycling is a good choice for you.
Tell us more about the cargo bike you recently purchased, what are your transportation plans after your baby is born?
We recently purchased a Yuba Supermarché cargo bike which we plan to use to transport our dog and child once the baby is old enough. I’m in love with it! It’s pretty incredible how much weight you can easily carry using a bicycle. So far we’ve mostly used it for grocery shopping and for going places with the dog and already I can tell how useful it’s going to be.
The cargo bike was a big investment which made sense for us because we don’t plan to own a car. There are tons of other options out there for biking with children, all with their own levels of convenience and cost-effectiveness. If you are interested in cycling with your child, pointA’s Tips for Everyday Biking webinar has a section dedicated to the topic.
A big thank you to Kelly for sharing her experiences, and we look forward to Kelly rejoining our team after her maternity leave ends in 2022.