Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Biking with a Bump - Part 1

There are some great articles online about cycling pregnant.  This is going to be my personal story.

My first pregnancy began just before a hectic snow season.  There was no bicycling, but I did snowboard a little bit and walked/hiked almost everyday.  After the winter, I had about 3 months to ride around on my bicycle, which I did.  Each week I rode around our town while getting groceries, going to the library, riding to friends' houses etc.  We rode a fair amount and it only bothered me at the very end.

I remember being 39 weeks pregnant and my due date was one day away.  I rode up to the grocery store, filled my backpack with around 35-40 pounds of groceries and rode home.  My tailbone was hurting because of all the weight I had been carrying on my body (an extra 40 lbs of pregnancy weight and 40 lbs of groceries).  The next day I went into labor normally and had a healthy home birth.

The second pregnancy had a little bit of bike riding involved.  The most we rode in one day was around 50 miles.  Other than that, it was weekly errands and leisurely 10 or 15 mile bike rides through the countryside (after the 1st trimester nausea).  My 3rd trimester was over wintered and I didn't do hardly a bit of riding, just walking here and there in town.  I had a healthy, fast home birth.

For the first trimester of this pregnancy, I wasn't feeling great many days and didn't do any riding.  Knowing that we were going into an 8-10 week bicycle tour soon didn't scare me though, I knew I could make up for it.  About 3 weeks before we left, I began to ride two or three times a week with Mike and sometimes Tyler.  We hit the hills around town, trying to acclimate to that, we rode in a torrential downpour, around the countryside, etc.

And so we began to tour.  Straight into 30-40 mile days every day, 6 days a week.  Honestly, I have enjoyed every day of it.  My first bicycle seat was a mountain bike seat and lasted for over 2 weeks.  I bought a high-end performance seat for women and it turned out to be worse (don't ever get a seat with gel in it...not ever a tiny amount!).  Then I made a great decision and bought a Brooks B17.  :)  Happy arse.  No more waddling after a long day of riding.

  • My energy levels are so high.  I feel better than I ever felt with the other two pregnancies.  
  • I'm not tired (except at the very end of the day, when we're ALL tired).  
  • I'm not aching. 
  • I'm not (too) hormonal.  ;)  
  • Probably no more than I would be normally on high activity days after 2 hours of riding uphill.  
  • My hips feel great.
  • My tailbone feels great.
  • My appetite is ABUNDANT.
  • My body is thankful!

19 Weeks Pregnant, on the Blue Ridge Parkway Around 3,500 feet in Elevation


Going into this ride, many people mentioned their fears and concerns about pregnant bicycling.  Sometimes those things would start to nag at me, bothering my mind.  I would think, 'Am I doing something stupid?  Irresponsible?  Careless?'.  And then my body-sense would say, 'Don't worry, we take it slow.  I will tell you if something is wrong.'  I breathe a big sigh of relief.

This plays out in my mind over and over.  Others' projected fears whispering a convincing story and then a still small loving comforting voice says, 'I care for you'.  Whether pregnant or not, I know which voice is the Encourager and which is trying to crush my faith.

I know myself.  I know my body.  More importantly, there is One who sustains me (and the baby), giving sweet loving embrace every moment that I call for it.  If this was not our destiny at this time, it would not be possible.  I didn't believe in determinism for a long time, but some experiences have convinced me toward this idea, and farther from my own belief in free-for-all-existence confusion.  That is simplified, of course; my belief is more complex to explain.

We take it slow.  We climb mountains.  We can do this.  We are doing it.  We have done it.  The baby is sitting happy and loves to roll and kick around safe in the womb.  Little baby Completely, as Naomi named it.

20 Weeks Exactly:  Blue Ridge Parkway 4,356 Ft in Elevation