Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Are you getting enough exercise?"

My response to that question for years has been "of course"  And riding 30 minutes to work and 30 minutes back at a "sprightly-stately" clip for years has meant that "of course" I was getting plenty of exercise.

But now, my commute to the bike shop is 11 minutes (yes, I timed it- although it took several tries-I kept forgetting to hit the stop button when I arrived).  That's 22 minutes a day, which is better than many people get, but I probably need more like 30-40 minutes.   I end up riding more on my Monday days off, but not enough to really make up for it.

So recently I've been doing something I've never done before- purposely trying to add loops to my rides out of my way to add time.   If I go to Whole foods on the way home it takes 20 minutes, which helps, but even I don't need to go to the grocery store every day.

The reason that the question is pressing is that the Scientist and I are expecting a future cyclist, due at the end of December.   This isn't news to anyone who's seen me in person lately!  , but I haven't yet mentioned it on the blog.   I'm still riding, with the support of my OBGYN,  and one of the joys of running a family friendly bike shop is that not only do I get a lot of support from customers, but I also get to meet a lot of other women who are riding well into their pregnancy.

I'm mostly riding the Bakfiets- partly because I schlepp so much stuff to and from the shop most days, partly to add a bit of "resistance training" to my ride, and partly because the upright position and large "cockpit" are so comfortable.   I think I've retired Gilbert for the duration- while he's a pretty upright bike, I find I gently graze my belly on the stem when I push forward and raise myself onto the saddle.

I'm encouraged by how many other pregnant bikers I'm encountering.  I think that for many women to whom biking is a way of life, biking is the most comfortable way to continue to get around, even when walking starts to be less comfortable.  My doctor occasionally bikes to work, so I think she understands that if you're comfortable with your balance, it's not necessarily a bigger falling hazard than walking.  A Dutch woman in the shop the other day commented that in her experience, if you keep riding as your body changes, you can adapt and compensate to those gradual changes.  Plus it's good low-impact exercise.  

 It does really make you conscious of safer biking streets, and desirous of more separated facilities.   I went to a meeting about the proposed cycle tracks around the Boston Public Garden,  and there were some young male messengers who were anti- cycle track, saying that they wanted the "freedom" to bike fast in traffic, and didn't want to feel like they had to ride on the track.  Firstly no one is required to ride on the track,  and secondly,  even the strongest riders get colds, sprain ankles, or are otherwise slowed down (say by pregnancy) on occasion.   And if we're lucky we all get older, and people rarely rider faster and more aggressively as they age!

I'm not planning anything extreme like riding in snow, or riding myself to the hospital,  but I hope to keep biking as long as it's comfortable and convenient, and we'll see if that's all the way to near the end, or if I feel like I need to stop at 8 months or so.

And the shop?  Well,  the plan is to have the shop open limited hours during January and February- 3PM to 6PM or so.   Hard to predict since it's my first year, but I suspect those months would be slow anyway.  In February I can probably come in by special appointment, and I hope to be coming in- with the Future Cyclist in tow at least part time in March.  We'll see how that goes.


  1. congratulations! i am a first time mom (as of May), cantabridgian, and cyclist myself. i kept biking until around 32 weeks, at which point my center of gravity felt uncomfortably off (and i was experiencing SPD, so it was no longer comfortable). i was glad i biked that long - it made it that much easier to get back on and start my 8 mile round trip commute again once my maternity leave was over! people were not very supportive, though. my neighbors acted like i was crazy when they saw me leaving the bike room with my bike!

    one thing i wanted to mention, though. 3-6 pm is known as the "witching hour". meaning your baby is extremely fussy and wants to nurse the whole time. i spent those hours during the first few months of my baby's life swaddling, shushing, bouncing them on a yoga ball, etc. i wouldn't promise anything to yourself or your customers about being open then until you see what your baby is like and experience the witching hour yourself!

    1. Thanks for a tip- I'm not actually going to be in the shop in January or February except by appointment. The idea is to have a staff person in, and 3-6 is our busiest time. After February I'll still have a staff person in the afternoons, but will start to come in more and more.

  2. Exciting news!!! Congratulations to you both. You are having quite the year! Bike shop, Future Cyclist... wonderful!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Our 'future cyclist' is an actual cyclist, whizzing around corners at shocking speed on his balance bike and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am for you both. Congratulations!!!
    You know that I rode gently up to three days before he arrived, it will all depend on the weather and how you're feeling.. I feel just giddy with this news!
    You definitely will want to play it all by ear as to shop hours, life in general, but these tiny creatures are infinitely adaptable. Ours will be in Boston with us 12/16-18 and I'd wanted to come by and see the shop, but it sounds like you'll be busy then. I'm sorry but also hurray!!! :)

    1. Charlotte,
      Unless the FC comes early, I'll still be in the shop when you're in Boston, and I'd be thrilled to see you when you're in town! Definitely it's up to the weather how long I'll bike. I won't be biking if there's ice or snow, but cold might not be an issue, and at the moment biking slowly is MUCH more comfortable than walking.

    2. Oh I didn't find cold to be an issue AT ALL with the reactor in there. Keep you nice and warm! I am so excited to see you! :)

  4. I've been out of the blog-o-sphere for some time. I knew about the opening of Bicycle Belle through Nathan & Angela on Fb but I didn't know it was YOU! Then I heard that Stacy from Simple Six was down there this weekend and suddenly all the parts came together in my head. A HUGE congratulations on *all* the exciting adventures ahead. So great that you got the bakfiets already as it will be most handy with that future cyclist joining the party. Exciting stuff.

    My sister moved to Cambridge recently so my family needs to head up there soon. Will look forward to seeing your shop. Best of luck.

  5. Congratulations!

    You make an excellent point about the need for safer cycling facilities. The (usually young male) cyclists who argue against protected lanes are so frustrating.

  6. Congrats! Keep cycling as long as you can.