September 19, 2013

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Easy delivery after biking through pregnancy

I agree with Ms. Bruner: I biked throughout my 3rd pregnancy. I kept expecting to find a time when it was too uncomfortable or difficult, but that day never came. I even rode to all of my prenatal doctor's appointments. My daily commute was two 8 mile trips each day, towing 2 older children to and from school in a trailer. The trailer plus kids weighed well over 100 lbs but I rode throughout the winter, up and down hills, etc. with no problems. I use the same standard hybrid now that I did then, 10 years later (without a step through frame).

My labor and delivery were amazingly easy, with no pain meds and despite my daughter's enormous size of 10lbs 8 oz and 23 inches in length! I attribute her health--as well as mine--to the fact that I was getting excellent exercise throughout the entire gestational process.

The biggest challenges?
Surprise! They weren't during pregnancy. Having to wait several weeks after Genevieve's birth to be able to ride again was a big let down. I had her in a bucket style "car" seat in the trailer by 6 weeks of age. The second challenge: not being able to fit more than one child in said trailer due to the car seat... By 6 months, I was able to ditch the bucket seat and get back to commuting with two kids in the trailer (the 4 yr old and the baby). At this point, the 6 year old could ride his own bike to school each day.

To my mind, the biggest deterrent to women cycling is having to deal with navigating with children. It's almost impossible to tow/carry more than two children unless you have access to (and can afford) a box bike. I've been heartened by some of the new bike designs in the past couple of years like the Yuba Mundo, Xtracycle, etc. that give a savvy cyclist parent some options. I didn't have those choices available to me, but was able to make do with jury-rigged accommodations.

Small kids don't handle traffic well. They lack the ability and experience to analyze speed, predict driver behavior, anticipate stopping distance, etc. This makes it hard to commute in traffic when you are riding with small kids until they are about 8 or 9 years of age, when brain development allows them to start to process situations using critical thinking skills. Having your child attached to you via a trail-a-bike, box bike, long tail, trailer or what-have-you is a good solution.

Jane Healy 301 days ago


What a lovely article. I gave up cycling at 33 weeks pregnant as I was having difficulty getting my knees up high enough - my bump was in the way! Good luck to you all with your forthcoming event!

Sara more than 1 year ago