How does it feel cycling with a tiny passenger?
Words: Katie Cornelius
Sunday morning I was terrified. I was riding down Beach Road at around 8am with a group of three mates. Riding two abreast, I was behind one mate and carrying on a steady conversation with my pal on my right. It was then that I became aware of a being lurking in the shadows, drawing closer and closer to my wheel. I glanced behind - the infamous MAMIL – free to range in his natural habitat. I signalled for him to go round – he didn’t budge. A bigger gesture – GO ROUND. No movement from this unknown aficionado. I felt my HR beginning to rise, fear gripping my chest. What was wrong with him, or more to the point what was wrong with ME?
I normally have no issue with providing a tow and a little refuge from the wind. I’ve relied on the kindness of strangers many times before. But now it’s different, it’s personal. I’m pregnant.
There was an immediate mental change for me the moment I found out that I was expecting. Before my body started to change my mind began racing, faster than I would in any crit. What does this mean for my career as a completely unprofessional recreational Lycra lover? How on earth does anyone balance a passion for a life on two wheels when there’s more than one on the bike seat? More importantly, how do I keep myself and in turn my growing baby, currently just a cluster of cells, safe from the dangers of the road?
In the time that I’ve been riding I’ve come across a total of 5 ladies that have been pregnant avid cyclists (hello lovely mammas!!) That’s not many, but I’m sure once the word gets out I’ll encounter many more. Lots of the women I ride with have children, but found their passion for cycling once their families were already established. Lots have solid advice about what worked for them and how they balance riding with family life.
My GP told me early on that cycling is a safe option for me in early pregnancy. Don’t overdo it but get out there, have fun. Happy mums equal happy bubs. She told me there would come a time when I no longer felt comfortable but only I could decide when that would be. I discussed monitoring my heart rate and my tiny bump with my obstetrician who was also supportive. My partner has been a gem, perhaps knowing instinctively that telling a woman in my situation “no” isn’t going to end well, and put his faith in my intuition.
I told my regular cycling crew the news before most other friends and family. It was still early days but I wanted them to know in case something happened to me out on the road. They were delighted of course and committed to a rotating roster of babysitting duties at the next TDU.
Life is different now. It’s hardly ‘GAME OVER’ but instead a road never previously ridden. One of flatter kms, steady HRs, less efforts, forgiving Lycra and decaf lattes. I’m excited to see where this one goes.
For now #bumpwatch has begun.