Mum-to-be, Lucy, checks in for a second time, to tell us how she’s been getting on cycling now she’s 37-weeks pregnant. Lucy explains what’s been helping her to keep riding with a much bigger bump.
Earlier this year I wrote about my journey of re-learning to ride my bike with a brand new baby bump.
I’m now 37 weeks pregnant, well into my third trimester and baby could come any day now.
As my body is growing and slowing down, I can feel my energy levels decreasing.
I’m still riding bikes, but it feels very different to a few months ago and I’ve learnt a lot since then.
Cycling during the second trimester
My first trimester was dominated by morning sickness.
But by the time I’d reached the second, I was feeling great and loved having cycling adventures.
The hormones were amazing and I felt invincible.
My bump was still fairly small, so I could ride any bike and manage all my usual hills.
I found cycling more tiring than I did pre-pregnancy and I was reducing my distances.
I was also hungry and thirsty all the time, so would schedule regular refreshment breaks.
Even so, keeping active really helped me to feel happy and well.
Cycling up hills
As my pregnancy progressed I found hills became a lot harder.
I stopped attempting some of the bigger ones altogether, seeking out flatter alternative routes instead.
I also started giving myself permission to hop off and push my bike when the going got tough.
As my bump has grown the range of movement from my pelvis and lower back has reduced.
But my upper back has thankfully remained fairly mobile with the help of yoga.
Had this not been the case, I was ready to add a wing mirror to my bike.
Just in case looking over my shoulder became difficult.
One day it was pouring with rain and I had a midwife appointment to cycle to.
As I started getting my waterproof trousers on, I realised that I could no longer fit into them.
So I quickly fashioned a waterproof skirt from a bin bag and made it to my appointment on time, by bike and fairly dry!
Learning to be flexible, adapting and not caring too much about what I look like, has certainly kept me active and happy throughout pregnancy.
Before my pregnancy I’d normally ride a hybrid bike, which is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike.
It’s ideal for pottering around town and is my go-to for everyday journeys.
I’ve been riding this bike for years, however it slowly became more difficult.
The riding position requires me to lean quite far forward, which caused my bump to rub on my thighs.
Throughout my pregnancy I’ve been renting and borrowing different bikes and they’ve really helped me to keeping cycling.
1. Shared city bike
Like a lot of cities, Brighton has a bike share scheme and I’ve used it quite a few times in recent months.
These rental bikes have a very upright riding position, which removes the discomfort of my legs and bump colliding.
They are very convenient as you can pick them up and drop them off at racks all over the city.
They also have built-in baskets, perfect for carrying bags and shopping.
Their only drawback is that they don’t have gears, so I’ve avoided tackling hills on them.
Lucy rented city bikes for their upright riding position.
2. Brompton folding bike
My partner has a Brompton with a nice upright riding position.
I’ve borrowed it for short local journeys and found it very comfortable.
However the small wheels make hills a bit too challenging for me right now.
It’s designed to fold and be carried when out of use, but whilst pregnant I preferred to just wheel mine like a normal bike.
In the middle of my pregnancy we went on a little adventure to the Isle of Wight.
To navigate the hills I rented an electric bike with an upright riding position. It was a revelation.
I was confidentially covering longer distances without feeling exhausted.
I really recommend an e-bike to anyone in pregnancy who’s finding cycling a bit tough.
If you can, try it before you give up on cycling altogether.
Hiring one could add a few more weeks, or even months of freedom and joy during pregnancy.
4. E-cargo bike
I’ve also borrowed an e-cargo bike from a local business in Brighton called O3E.
Cargo bikes are designed to carry more than just their rider.
They're used to transport children, animals, shopping, camping kit or anything you like.
The one I borrowed was electric and can carry up to four children with seat belts, or just a lot of stuff in my case.
This bike was wonderful and really helped me to keep active.
It enabled me to carry lots of equipment for work and take new baby gear back home.
I’ve been really lucky to have had a fairly smooth pregnancy and I think this is partly due to cycling.
Cycling has kept me physically and mentally well.
It’s helped me to maintain the freedom and independence to get out and socialise.
To anyone who’s considering cycling during pregnancy, I say go for it.
Keep listening to your body and you’ll quickly know what’s right for you and if you need to make any adjustments.
A few months ago I really didn’t know if I’d still be cycling now, but I am.
I don’t know if I’ll be riding next week, or even tomorrow, but I do know that I’ll decide day by day, always listening to my body.
Dory in Finding Nemo says “just keep swimming” and I say to myself “just keep pedalling!”