on to new adventures

Goodbye 2013 and goodbye Simply Bike. It’s been a great year of bike rides and 3 1/2 great years of blogging. I’m not sure what’s to come, I’m still searching for some creative outlet to replace blogging but I’m also just excited to focus on my family, volunteering more in our community, biking, returning to running and yoga, and learning to take better photos for our own record keeping. With two kids under the age of three and a full time job I’ll be returning to in January, I’m not sure that there is much room for anything else in my life right now.

Thank you to all who’ve read and commented on my blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter. I’ve made so many great friends this way and I’m glad to have been part of this online community.






Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

staying in touch on social media

October Kidical Mass ride

Hi everyone! Even though I’m not currently updating this blog, I am still checking in from time to time on social media. If you want to keep in touch or receive the occasional update or links, find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Fall!

PS: The photo above was snapped before our last Kidical Mass ride of the year. More photos from our October ride and other previous rides here. More about Kidical Mass here. And a few words on starting a ride in your own town!

Posted in Biking with Kids, Fall Cycling, Fit Pregnancy | Tagged | 1 Comment


It’s been decidedly quiet around here. I haven’t been posting much and I also haven’t been reading many of my favorite blogs lately. I’ve been busy with lots of things but mainly a new job!

Since I last wrote about my search for an academic position, I sent out a zillion more job applications and spent many more hours writing and rewriting cover letters. Most of the positions I applied for were ones that were related to my skills but not always a perfect fit. Then a job came up that sounded pretty exciting: academic adviser in the department of world languages and cultures at the university where I had already been teaching as a part-time lecturer. I’d know the faculty and the students, I’d be familiar with the college culture, I’d understand how the curriculum works, and I’d be in a full-time, permanent position. Sign me up!

I applied for the job (even though I was nearing six months pregnant) and held my breath.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

what i learned while cycling pregnant

Have you seen the latest issue of Momentum Magazine? I wrote a story on cycling while pregnant and featured some of the awesome women profiled in my “cycling while pregnant” series. Check it out if you see a copy of Momentum on your local newsstand!

For more on cycling while pregnant, see the entire series of interviews here! Thank you to all the lovely riders who wrote in and shared their stories with us and to Momentum Magazine for bringing attention to something often left out from the cycling conversation. Here’s to having a fit, healthy, and empowered pregnancy! ♥

Posted in Biking while Pregnant | 4 Comments

cycling while pregant: shannon of washington, dc

Name: Shannon

Age: 30

Location: Washington D.C. suburbs

{Shannon cycling the Tour de Cookie while pregnant}

Cycling for how many years: I’ve been cycling since I was a little girl, but started biking seriously about nine years ago.

Favorite part about cycling: The fact that it fulfills so many needs simultaneously – physical, emotional, practical, and spiritual!

Bike(s) you ride: 2004 blue Bianchi Advantage hybrid

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: Fun, empowering, relaxing

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute:
I was more careful than usual cycling while I was pregnant. I limited my biking to the suburban area where I live and didn’t attempt to bike in the city; the chance of getting in an accident was too great when I had no practical need to cycle. Relatedly, I decided not to use any of Washington D.C.’s bikeshare bicycles – they were too different from my own, especially their center of gravity. As I got further along, I also reduced my mileage and intensity, paying close attention to my body and not exerting myself too much. This approach was particularly difficult on hills, but I cranked my bike into low gear and slogged up slowly.

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant?
I was particularly surprised at my lack of balance problems. I don’t cycle in the winter unless the weather is exceptionally warm, so I was already showing quite a bit by the time I got on the bike outdoors in the spring. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that it felt normal, despite my shifting center of gravity.

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant?
My family and friends were generally supportive. My mom was both one of the most supportive and concerned people, as she loves cycling but is also a bit of worrywart. Acquaintances (in contrast to close friends) were somewhat surprised at how much physical activity I kept up throughout my pregnancy. I told them, “Wouldn’t you train for a 12 hour endurance event?”Personally, I liked challenging the assumption that pregnant women should be delicate little butterflies.

What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy?
As I have a hybrid“women’s bike,” I didn’t need to make any special accommodations.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience?
I would tell other women to continue cycling as long as they feel comfortable doing so. I found exercising throughout pregnancy was essential for my physical and mental health. It also prepared me to deliver after 10 hours of labor without painkillers. My experience also reminded me that I love how cycling is available to people of all different sizes and shapes. I can’t wait to introduce my son to it next spring!

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy?
I walked to and from the closest stop of the Washington D.C. Metro every day. I also did yoga – both regular and prenatal – which was fantastic for maintaining my core strength and coordination. It also helped me regulate my breathing while in incredibly uncomfortable circumstances, which was essential for labor.


Thanks so much for your contribution, Shannon! If you’d like to read more about Shannon’s bike adventures, you can find her at her blog, Will Bike for Change (or Pie!). What a great approach to staying fit and training for an all day “endurance event,” as Shannon puts it. We wish you many happy bike rides with your son next Spring! 

Read more profiles by women who’ve continued to bike throughout their pregnancies here!

Posted in Biking while Pregnant, Guest Posts | Leave a comment

cycling while pregnant: christie of santa rosa, ca

Today’s profile comes from Christie Randolph, former motorcycle racing champion and competitive mountain bike racer. Christie has continued to ride throughout her pregnancy, logging impressive miles on her mountain bike even in the third trimester! Way to go, Christie! You can keep up with her adventures on her blog, passedbyachick.com and on Twitter @MellivoraMom

christie tahoe trail 27 weeks {Christie at 27 weeks pregnant riding South Lake Tahoe’s Connector Trail}

Name: Christie Randolph (nee Cooley)

Age: 38

Location: Santa Rosa, California

Cycling for how many years: 3 seriously, all my life casually

Favorite part about cycling: Being faster than other people. Yes, I’m competitive! There are a LOT of people who are faster than I am, so I still have a long way to go.
Honestly, I can’t say I have one favorite part about cycling. Being outside, being able to eat like a starved pig, and feeling strong are all tied for first. I love the outdoors, and I love moving around and seeing things. I especially love mountain biking, which, when you’re in the forest near your home, feels like being in the secret garden. I also love racing bicycles, feeling strong and seeing my fitness levels improve. Climbing a hill faster than I ever have, that’s an incredible, empowering feeling.

Bike(s) you ride: Santa Cruz Blur TRc full suspension mountain bike, Scott Scale 29er hard tail mountain bike, Cannondale SuperSix Evo road bike

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant:

Make it happen.

Many, many days I had to force my hands to pull open the drawers and yank out the cycling clothes, laying them on my bed with me wondering what to do next. Then, I forced myself to put them on. And then get on my bike. Once I was on my bike, I felt pretty normal in terms of tiredness, at least until the third trimester. It was motivating to get to that point that was a lot more difficult; some days the couch just looked so very glorious.

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute:

I stopped racing. Even in my first trimester, when I was concerned about the intense efforts and high heart rates that I typically see even in downhill mountain bike races.
I gradually lowered my intensity while on training rides. I was told to keep your effort levels low enough such that you can still carry on a conversation. Sometimes I exceeded that, but only briefly, and mostly only in the first half of my pregnancy.

I wear a heart rate monitor when I ride and run and for me, a talking pace usually equates to a HR below 155; my max is 190. It’s a little ambiguous though because your cardiovascular system goes so haywire when you’re pregnant. It’s up and down, some days 130 bpm feels horrible, other days I can jog along with my sister at 160 and chat up a storm.

christie mountainbiking

I continued to ride “gnarly” (intense, tricky, difficult, technically advanced) mountain bike trails throughout my first trimester, and then very carefully during my second trimester. I fell over a few times in my first trimester; I even crashed hard and landed on my head the day I conceived! That’s a broken helmet I’m keeping for the scrapbook. I would sometimes tip over while climbing technical trails, but this felt very inconsequential, like tripping when walking up the stairs.

In my second trimester I only rode sections that I felt I could get through with 99% certainty that I wouldn’t have any tipovers or crashes. Rather than try to “clean” (ride through a section without putting a foot down) a difficult section, I would happily swallow my pride and dab my foot out or even dismount and walk my bike.

In my third trimester, I’ve mostly avoided the gnarly trails altogether. I was still riding my mountain bike up and down a big fire road near our house until my husband said he was uncomfortable with me exceeding certain speeds on any kind of descents. So now I avoid the big hills and ride the “bunny hill” trails at the base of Annadel State Park, our favorite mountain biking place.

I still ride my road bike, but I added a rear blinky light to help traffic see me better. I ride alone, and with friends, but only on roads and paths I feel safe and comfortable on. I’m especially vigilant about watching for cars popping out of driveways and doing unexpected things, even more so than before I got pregnant. I also avoid climbs on the road bike, so I don’t tempt myself with fun, speedy descents, but also because it’s harder to haul me and the baby up big hills without working too hard.

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant?

I’m surprised that my bump hasn’t gotten in the way while on my road bike. It’s a racing bike, with an aggressive position, and I can still reach the drops comfortably without pummeling the baby on board with my quads as I pedal. My hands get sore from holding the weight of my upper body up though!

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant?
I’m not sure exactly how my husband feels about it, to be honest. He’s so excited about our baby, and therefore probably a bit anxious and nervous about doing everything right. It’s also probably difficult for him not being in control of the situation, so he’s had moments where he’s flat out told me he’s uncomfortable with me riding in certain places, situations, trails, and so on. He freaked out one day on our honeymoon; we were both on treadmills and he saw my heart rate of 147 and was sure this was way too high!

My parents are extremely supportive, trusting that I’ll do what’s right for our baby, but they do remind me gently to be careful. They almost seem proud of me.
Most friends are supportive as well, and mostly surprised that at 35 weeks I’m still pedaling.

Christie with friend in Vanderkitten kits

What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy?

Around 33 weeks I had a special stem put on my bike that raised up the handlebars. Also, sometime in the second trimester the dorky (but effective) blinky light went on the back.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience?

Well…you can read my story and know that there are some women who definitely do still stay very fit and active during pregnancy. I’d say do what feels right, because I don’t want anyone to be harming themselves or their babies, but honestly, there were so many days when I could have coddled myself like that but didn’t; like, the couch really felt right some days, but I rode anyway, and it was fine and I’m glad I did.

I think many pregnant women baby themselves way too much, almost as if being pregnant is a vacation from eating right and exercising. Gear up, get ready, train for labor like you’d train for a century ride!

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy?

I’ve also jogged and hiked, preparing myself for late pregnancy days when I might not be able to ride. Also, I’m guessing I’ll be shorter on time when the baby comes, and jogging/running presents a much more compact, convenient workout. I might even (gasp) get a treadmill, as I really can’t fathom being on the trainer for more than an hour. Even an hour is brutal!


Thanks so much, Christie! At the time of this post being published, Christie is 37 weeks pregnant and expecting the arrival of her first child soon! We wish you and your growing family all the best at this exciting time!

For more profiles of women who biked through their pregnancy, check out the rest of this series on cycling while pregnant here!

Posted in Advocacy, Biking while Pregnant, Guest Posts, Mountain Bikin' It | 4 Comments

2 years

This video is my birthday card to our daughter who just turned two yesterday. It’s my love letter to my husband with whom I celebrated four years of marriage yesterday as well. It’s the result of two years of playing with Photobooth on my computer and watching our daughter grow from a cute and chubby little infant to a feisty and beautiful toddler. It’s all I need to see to remember how good we have it.

The past two years have been by far the hardest years of my life. Parenting is hard. But they’ve also been the most beautiful, exciting, and rewarding years our family has experienced together. They’ve lasted both an eternity (what was life even like before we had her? Who can remember?) and they’ve passed in a heartbeat (she’s TWO already??).

Soon our family will grow again to include one more member and our stories will change and unfold in new ways to include this other little person. I can’t wait to see what the next two years will bring and I’m so grateful for the past two that have taught me so much about love, forgiveness, patience, humility, understanding, and comfort. These have been the best two years of my life, for sure.

Music: “Ho Hey” The Lumineers

Posted in Family | 15 Comments

“we’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one…”

This is one of my favorite pictures from our July meet-up of our Baby/Toddler Book Club. We read “We’re going on a bear hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury and went on a bear hunt of our own. Here the kids were wading through a deep “river” on the their way to find the bear. This was by far C’s favorite stop on the way to the bear cave and I love how they all just piled in like sardines. So cute!

More photos and tips for making the book come alive for toddlers on our Baby Toddler Book Club blog. This month marked our one year anniversary of doing this with our kids and I’m so excited that the club will keep going and that we have another year of books, activities, and friendship to look forward to.

Posted in Reading Recommendations | Tagged | Leave a comment

july’s “books and bikes” ride combines reading with fitness

Books and Bikes ride

Our “Books and Bikes” ride was a success! For July’s Kidical Mass ride, we decided to visit a few of the newly erected Little Free Libraries in town. Before long, we had a whole “books and bikes” theme to the ride complete with a story time reading of “Duck on a Bike” by David Shannon and the making of bike lincense plates for the kids. I paired up with my friend “Book Club Mama,” who runs our Baby Toddler Book Club and asked her to plan the story time and bike-themed activity to take place in a park at the end of the ride. You can read more about the book she chose, the idea for making bike license plates, and her perspective on the ride on the Baby Toddler Book Club blog. (The blog is also an excellent source of ideas if you’re thinking of forming your own book club for kids, complete with reading suggestions and themed crafts and snacks for each book).

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

We met at our usual location and set off for the ride. We planned to stop at three Little Free Libraries that were all en route to the park where we wanted to end our ride. Everyone participating was familiar with the concept of Little Free Libraries (or “book boxes” as some of the kids called them) and we encouraged riders on the event flier to bring a book to swap or donate. Since there weren’t many kids’ books in the Little Free Libraries we stopped at, many of the kids ended up walking away with books brought and donated by fellow Kidical Mass riders. Which worked out very well and some even plopped right down next to their bikes eager to start reading their new finds.

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

After stopping at all three Little Free Libraries on our list, we ended the ride at a park where we spread out blankets and listened to “Duck on a Bike” read by my friend S. The kids loved the book and getting to say “hello” to all of the barnyard animals just like the bike-riding duck does. At one point in the book, a group of bike-riding kids all storm the barn yard and all of our own bike-riding kids got to see themselves in the story. We ended the story time with supplies for making bike lincense plates with the kids’ names on them and barn yard stickers, letting our kids share their bikes with farm animals just like the kids in the story.

Judging from the eager crowding around the Little Free Libraries we visited and the enthusiastic response to the book we read and the bike license plates, I’d say the “Books and Bikes” ride was a hit with our young cyclists.

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

Books and Bikes ride

We usually vary our routes and destinations to keep each Kidical Mass ride fun and somewhat new. Last month’s ride ended at the downtown farmer’s market and a cold and rainy ride in March meant that we skipped the park and opted for hot chocolates at a coffee shop instead. I’ve learned that it’s best to stay flexible and decide on a route and destination as the day gets closer and as we get a sense of the weather. Of course, with a ride like this one, the route and end point were pretty set ahead of time and all we could do was hope that the weather would cooperate. As a back-up plan, we chose a park that had a large covered stage area where we knew we could hold the story time in case of rain.

You can read more about our Baby Toddler Book Club here as well as submit your own kids’ book club page/blog to be added to the site. You can also read more about Kidical Mass here and let me know if you’re going to be in the central Iowa area and would like to join one of our rides! Also, check out Seattle’s special July Kidical Mass ride: 19 adults, 19 kids, and 19 bikes went bike camping!

For more ideas, reviews, and tips for biking with kids, check out the “Bike with Kids” page of this blog and if you have any specific questions, ask away in the comments below! More photos from our ride here.

Posted in Biking with Kids, Reading Recommendations, Social Cycling, Summer Cycling | Tagged , | 5 Comments

“how long will you keep biking?”

Cycling at 19 weeks {biking to a friend’s party at 19 weeks pregnant}

“How long will you keep biking?” – asked a friend recently on my Facebook wall after I posted a picture of my big pregnant belly at 20 weeks. The answer: I don’t know. For however long it will feel good, I guess.

With my first pregnancy, I biked until my 38th week and then decided I was done. It wasn’t my legs or my lack of balance, it was the overwhelming feeling of breathlessness that finally got me to retire my bike until about two months post partum. I never suffered any loss of balance and for the most part found biking to actually be easier than walking. But the increased shortage of breath finally did me in.

With this pregnancy, I’m already feeling short of breath all the time. Who thought it was a good idea to move into a two-story home while pregnant? Those stairs kill me every time! I can’t even remember what it’s like to not be panting through conversations. But all that aside, I can still manage to walk, bike, and swim on a regular basis each week. Slowly and not very gracefully, I assure you.

I don’t know how long I’ll keep biking, I just know that it still feels right. It still feels like an easier way of covering the few blocks to get downtown or to the grocery store and it still fits into my routine. It’s always harder when I have to pull the trailer with a toddler but thankfully my husband has assumed toddler-trailing duties anytime we ride together.

This weekend I plan on participating in our monthly Kidical Mass ride, which I organize for our community. I hope to continue riding in a few more rides to come, especially since I have a fun idea for October’s Halloween ride (about a month before my due date, we’ll see if I can make it?)

Staying active during pregnancy is not always easy. Some days I just feel very tired and only want to curl up and sleep the day away. But the alternative to moving is much worse. Days spent sitting too long are usually the ones that leave me with restless legs (a condition I suffer from regularly but that is always exacerbated by pregnancy) and feeling somehow more tired than before. So I get up and try to work some kind of physical activity into most days, allowing for a slower pace and a more forgiving route. For how much longer? Who knows, I guess the answer will continue to be: for however long this feels good.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Posted in Biking while Pregnant, Fit Pregnancy | 6 Comments