The Big Idea – Riding with a Baby on the Way

We all ride for different reasons. In my life, it’s just normal to hop on a bike. So when people ask if I’m still riding while pregnant, the answer is, “of course!”

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A few months ago, I woke up my husband by shaking a stick in his face. I hissed, “Do you know what this is?”

He half opened an eye and mumbled something incomprehensible, so I smacked him upside the head and informed him that it was a pregnancy test. At age 44, having been fertility-challenged in my 30s and having been 100 percent clear with my new hubby that biological offspring were out of the question, my body was somehow harboring a tiny critter. At the time of this publication, I’ll be about seven months along, hopefully a little less panicked and possibly even excited about the new addition to our brood.

With both my older children, I rode for as long as I could. With Skyler (now 13), I was out on the weekends on my road bike until my knees banged my belly and my back and hips got super-stiff; even then, when walking was agonizing, riding my upright bike felt great. With Sasha (nine years old), I must have been in pretty good shape to set off with a couple of young City of San Francisco bikeway planning dudes late in my pregnancy. They seemed oblivious to my condition as I huffed and puffed up the steepest damn hills, and would have kept going all day if I hadn’t called an abrupt end to the adventure.

But that was all a decade ago.

Here, now, carrying a baby “at advanced maternal age,” a politically correct term for “geriatric pregnancy,” I have been barraged by well-meaning family members and friends who must know, “Are you still riding?”

Well sure. Why not? I need the exercise more than ever. It’s the way I get around, the best way to get to most of my daily destinations and I feel fine. No I’m not going out for super-long rides, and I’m not feeling strong enough to conquer San Francisco-like hills, but unless I start to feel off-balance or in pain, my plan is to ride as long as I can.

Confession: a couple years ago, I watched two of my Alta colleagues – programs manager Jessica Roberts and designer extraordinaire Karen Vitkay – with envy as their bellies rounded but their legs and butts stayed slender. With each of my pregnancies, despite the daily riding, I gained a solid 35 pounds, not all of it confined to the baby-specific areas. But after each, I slimmed quickly. This time around, I’m hoping to gain a little less, despite the relentless gnawing hunger. But I’m not worried; the poundage will come off once I get back in gear.

We all ride for different reasons. Some ride to stay fit, others to save money, to beat the traffic, avoid parking hassles, have fun and experience the joy of propelling one’s own body through time and space. In my life, it’s just normal to hop on a bike to go to work, the store, movies or a friend’s house. So when people ask if I’m still riding, the answer is, “of course!” at age 44, having been fertility-challenged in my 30s … my body was somehow harboring a tiny critter.

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