organizing a “books and bikes” ride for our community

Books and Bikes flier

For July’s Kidical Mass ride, I wanted to do something special. I’ve also been really excited to see so many Little Free Libraries pop up all over our town. The best way to experience a Little Free Library is on foot or by bike because it allows you to just walk or ride up to it, open it up and inspect its contents, peruse some book, and walk off when you’re done. When driving, you’re less likely to spot these gems and even less likely to look for a parking spot and pull over when you’re moving past them at a much higher speed. Since Little Free Libraries and bike rides seem made for each other, it didn’t take long for me to think of the “Books and Bikes” tour as a special themed Kidical Mass ride.

Little Free Library

I was also excited to introduce more kids in the area to the concept since these are new additions to our community and I’m not sure how many kids and parents know how they work or that they can freely help themselves to a book or two, hopefully donating or trading a book or two of their own in exchange.

Once the idea ws born, I had to solicit the help of my good friend S. who runs our Baby Toddler Book Club. She’s brilliant at making books come alive for children and thinks up the best activities and crafts to go with our reading choices (just check out our book club site to see what I mean). S. quickly agreed to help out and plan a reading and activity at the park to conclude our ride. After a 2-3 mile ride during which we’ll stop at three Little Free Libraries, we’ll finish with a reading of “Duck on a Bike” by David Shannon at a park and a bike-themed craft or activity for the kids. (I’ll post details on what we did after the ride!)

Little Free Library

I’m really excited about this ride and being able to combine two loves: books and bikes! To make sure that lots of families know about it, I put together a special flier (separate from our regular Kidical Mass flier) and distributed it throughout the community. I asked our local children’s librarians to help me promote the event and posted it on the facebook walls of several local bike shops. We’re also relying on good ol’ “word of mouth” to advertise it. S. helped promote it within her circle of friends and I also posted about it on our Kidical Mass website, our Facebook page, and other related community pages on FB. I decided against printing the flier and distributing it manually in order to save money and paper and because I’m pretty confident in the use of social media to spread the information.

Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Now we just have to wait and hope that we’ll have nice weather for our ride and story hour. Meanwhile, C. and I have been reading “Duck on a Bike” almost every night at bedtime and it’s quickly become a favorite. It offers lots of opportunities for interaction as we wave and say hello to each animal Duck encounters along with Duck, as she greets them all and the large and colorful illustrations really capture her attention. I highly recommend it for toddlers!

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

cycling while pregnant: dena of philadelphia

Today’s profile comes from Dena of Philadelphia, who wrote in saying that she rode her bike during her second pregnancy until 41 weeks! Wow, way to go mama! She returned to cycling with her 5 week old, something she chronicled on her blog, bikeMAMAdelphia, for all of those interested in post-partum cycling. You can also find Dena on Twitter @lachute . Below are her thoughts on cycling while pregnant:

Dena cycling while pregnantName: Dena

Age: 29

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Cycling for how many years: 11 years in the city

Favorite part about cycling: Being outside with my family & not having to wait on SEPTA (PT) all the time.

Bike(s) you ride: Urban Arrow Bakfiets, Civia Halsted & a 1980s Bianchi Sport SX

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: I go slow.

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

I had two different experiences pregnant and biking. With my first, I was commuting to a day job from South Philadelphia to Old City. Although the commute was short less than 4 miles I stopped commuting half through my second trimester. I became afraid of getting doored or being in an accident. So my first pregnancy stopped me from biking out of fear and not physical strength. I did not get back to biking until we started riding with our son.

With my second pregnancy this past year, I felt way more confident in a lot of aspects with biking while pregnant included. I went slowly. Never pushed my body past what I knew I was comfortable to do & just had way more fun.

Dena cycling while pregnant {Dena with her Urban Arrow at 38 weeks pregnant}

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant?
The amount of people who told me I was amazing. Honestly I was just getting from point A to point B.

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant?
My husband is also a biker so he was confident I knew what I could handle. Some of our family may have had concerns but never voiced them to us. Not that I would have listened.

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

With my first pregnancy I switched my handlebars to upright to accommodate the growing belly. For the second we went through a number of changes. First we switched my son from a front mounted seat to a back. Then eventually I couldn’t mount the men’s frame of the Halsted and stopped riding for a month or so. We then decided to invest in a bakfiets, that way I could continue to bike through the third trimester and when the new baby came as well we could safely mount the carseat inside the box.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant?

Listen to your body and not your critics. You can do it! Dress in layers, I was an oven while pregnant, and often needed to strip down while biking.

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy?
I took up prenatal yoga and walked whenever we could. Chasing a toddler is also a great way to stay active!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us, Dena! Read more about Dena’s cycling adventures with two little ones in tow on her blog, bikeMAMAdelphia, and check out the rest of this series on cycling while pregnant here!

Did you bike during your pregnancy? Want to share your story with us? Send me an email!

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Posted in Biking while Pregnant, Biking with Kids, Guest Posts, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

cycling while pregnant: amber of saint paul

Today’s profile comes from Amber in Saint Paul. You can find Amber regularly contributing to Pedal Minnesota and on Twitter @stpaulbikemom. Below are her experiences of biking while pregnant, first on her own and then with a toddler: 

Amber cycling while pregnant

Name: Amber Dallman

Age: 34

Location: Saint Paul, MN

Cycling for how many years:

Since childhood…over 25 years, I guess. It’s how I remember getting around even as a kid in rural Wisconsin.

Favorite part about cycling:

Even on hot, sticky, humid days there is a breeze, and when it’s below freezing with a wind chill you still get warm (with the right clothing).

Bike(s) you ride: Surly Pacer, Nice Ride (Bike Share), and Babboe City Cargo Bike (we caved and bought a “second vehicle” about a month before #2 arrived)

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: Practical. Empowering. Utilitarian.

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute: While I am generally a cautious bicyclist, I certainly felt a lot more careful.

With my first I rode until the snow flew, which was about 8 weeks before he was born at the end of December. With our second, I occasionally biked in the winter if I didn’t have to tow the toddler to daycare and the conditions allowed for it. The snow and ice finally melted when I entered my third trimester, which I biked throughout. Our set-up for most of my pregnancy was to bike to daycare and work – I’d have a 30+ pound toddler in tow in a trailer for the first two miles. As this became increasingly more difficult with my road bike I started picking up a Nice Ride bike share bike for the remaining commute, which was more upright and stable. Using bike share was the best pregnancy bike I didn’t have buy.

As a car-light family, we try to minimize our vehicle use and were trying to figure out how we may best continue to this with the arrival of number two. We tested out some cargo bikes in my third trimester and ended up purchasing a babboe over Memorial Day weekend. It became the bike I’d take everywhere with the toddler from that point on. It was heavy and I was slow, but it was still faster than walking! In the long run the cargo bike is a great investment for us, and I can’t wait for the two kids to be in it together.

Amber cycling while pregnant

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

The number of people who were shocked that I was bicycling while pregnant! I’d actually say this makes me more sad than surprised – for a couple of reasons. First, in terms of safety, bicycling while pregnant didn’t feel any more risky than riding in a vehicle. Second, my eight-mile round-trip commute and then additional miles for errands and other trips don’t seem significantly taxing in terms of what is recommended for regular physical activity for adults – including pregnant women. Plus, I felt like my grandmother who had nine children and was the matriarch of a farm did way more physical activity in a day than I did riding my bike, walking, and sitting in my cube all day for work.

In the end, I wish being active – especially bicycling – while pregnant was more a cultural norm for women and we are encouraged to continue and engage in healthy behaviors over the course of 40 weeks and then beyond.

bike baby

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant?

In general, they were supportive. My husband in particular was encouraging. He even humored my request to bike to the hospital at nearly 42 weeks. (Note: I wasn’t actually in labor, but the midwife we see felt my amniotic fluid was getting low and I was nearing over 42 weeks. So, biking to the hospital was my last ditch effort to kick things off on my own. I took a bike share bike, and my husband used his bike so he could head back home for our car.)

Others were supportive, but often expressed concern for my safety. Frequently people asked how easy it was to balance. My response became, “Well, this didn’t happen overnight. Technically, the pregnancy probably did, but my body and balance adjusted over time.”

Some of the comments I received from passersby were quite entertaining. Many were encouraging and included a thumbs-up, while others were a sentiment of shock that a pregnant woman could actually ride a bike.

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

Initially, using my road bike with the trailer worked well. However, as I become more pregnant the hunched over position was less comfortable. That’s when I discovered how great bike share bikes were for pregnant women! The upright position was more comfortable and stable-feeling. Eventually we invested in a cargo bike, which was also more upright and made schlepping our two year-old much easier (and enjoyable)! Also, I accepted that I was much slower at biking – particularly home, which is mostly uphill out of downtown Saint Paul.

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

Do what feels comfortable. I really believe maintaining a level of physical activity through bicycling, walking, and yoga helped me with my labor. If bicycling up to 42 weeks isn’t your thing find an activity that makes you feel strong and helps to physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare you for labor and recovery.

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

Throughout my pregnancy I also walked and ran (particularly in the winter months with toddler in tow) and did prenatal yoga.

Thanks so much, Amber, for sharing your story with us! I love the ingenius use of the upright bike share bikes as a loaner pregnancy bike, great creative problem solving. For more on biking in Minnesota and Saint Paul’s bike share program, check out the Pedal Minnesota website!

Did you bike during your pregnancy? Want to share your story with us? Send me an email!

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Posted in Advocacy, Biking while Pregnant, Biking with Kids, Fit Pregnancy, Guest Posts | 2 Comments

reading about & picking strawberries with toddlers

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

Our June baby book club meet-up was a really fun one. We read  The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood. I usually like all of the books that we read each month but I (and C as well!) especially loved this month’s selection. Something about the vivid illustrations, the fun and silly tone of the story, and the narrator/character interaction made this one an especially fun read. C. and I read it before bedtime nearly every night in June and by the time our group met, she knew all about delicious strawberries.

For our meeting, we went to a nearby farm that lets you pick your own strawberries. I wasn’t sure how she’d react to picking strawberries herself though and whether she would be old enough to enjoy this activity but she LOVED it. As did all of the toddlers who had a blast holding their little strawberry containers and filling them with the ripe and delicious fruit. Most of them did a lot more snacking than picking ;) but that’s alright too.

Afterwards, we sat on our blankets in a shady spot and read our book together. Most of the toddlers continued to dye their hands and faces a bright strawberry red as they snacked on their findings. We found a little playground area where the last bit of energy was spent swinging and climbing before we all said our goodbyes and went home.

I think we made it about three minutes into the car ride before I looked back and saw C. completely passed out in her car seat.

You can read more about how our book club works in this post here as well as on our book club page, where you can also see more photos from past meet-ups and learn about our “bookclub pals” donation system. The book club is something devised entirely on our own – our group of moms who all enjoy books and want to share that passion with our children. Feel free to take any of our ideas and organize something like this with your friends and children as well!

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

June's Baby Book Club Meet-Up

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Posted in Family, Reading Recommendations | Tagged | 11 Comments

june’s kidical mass ride + farmers market

June Kidical Mass Ride

IMG_3153

June Kidical Mass Ride

For last month’s Kidical Mass ride, we met up at our usual spot and proceeded to ride through quiet neighborhood streets with the downtown farmer’s market as our destination. We had perfect weather: warm, pleasant, but not too hot. It rained in some parts of the city while we were out riding but it somehow missed us. Our group consisted of lots of bike trailers this time around (we brought our trailer instead of the iBert seat because C. had been awake since 5am and we figured she’d crash during the ride and want to nap – which she did. And the trailer’s just a lot more conducive for naps than the bike seat).

Another wonderful thing about last month’s ride: lots of new faces! When I first planned this ride, I told all of our bike riding friends about it and the group that gathered was mostly made up of people I personally knew and had invited. Since then, we’ve spread fliers around town, connected with local organizations to promote the ride, and relied on good old “word of mouth” to let more community members know about our monthly bike outings. And it’s been wonderful to see it catch on and to have so many more families and kids join our ride. I love meeting new people at each ride and seeing the event catch on as a community staple. I hope it continues to grow and to inspire families to bike together, whether with us as part of the monthly ride or simply on their own when it fits their schedules.

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

For June’s ride, I also put together a little pictorial scavenger hunt that I handed out to the older kids. They were asked to find at least ten of the thirty images depicted on the sheet (things like a bench, a lady bug, a pair of eye glasses, the letter “A,” etc). The kids seemed to really like the challenge and even the littler ones who couldn’t quite participate enjoyed looking at the pictures. As a prize for playing, they all got little bike stickers that I found on Etsy.

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

Once we arrived at our destination, everyone parted ways and explored the farmer’s market on their own. We ran into more friends and picked up a few fresh veggies and then also headed home. For July’s ride we have something really awesome planned that has to do with the Little Free Libraries recently added to our community and my love for both bikes and books :) I’ve paired up with my friend S., who runs our monthly toddler book club (which I’ve written more about here and here), and we’re planning a special “Bikes and Books” ride! I am really excited about this and can’t wait to share more of it with you as it comes together.

Happy cycling!

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

June Kidical Mass Ride

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Posted in Biking with Kids, Social Cycling, Summer Cycling | Tagged | 4 Comments

cycling while pregnant: bobbie of iowa

Bobbie: Cycling While Pregnant

Name: Bobbie

Age: 26

Location: Iowa

Cycling for how many years: I rode a bike as a kid, but I have been regularly commuting by bike for about a year now. Before that I would say that I rode occasionally.

Favorite part about cycling: For most of our outings, biking from point A to point B is so much faster than walking or driving. We live a little over a mile from downtown (where we do a lot of shopping and meeting up with friends) and there’s a park about half a mile away that we go to almost daily. Before my son was old enough to ride along in the trailer we would walk everywhere. I love walking, but biking cuts our commute in half. There also isn’t the hassle of searching (and paying) for parking.

Bike(s) you ride: A 1986 Peugeot Orient Express

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant: Meet you there (because, chances are anyone who bikes with will be just a little bit faster than me :)

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute: I found out I was pregnant in December, and I was definitely wary of biking at the beginning because of the road conditions. I had to reduce how much I was biking over the course of our (very long) winter, so by the time I was able to bike on a regular basis again I was already 5 months pregnant. Since I also have to cart my 27+lb son on regular trips, I try to make sure our trips aren’t too long or strenuous. I usually try to make sure we stop along the way if I need to. Although most of our rides are no more than 5 miles round-trip, taking breaks makes all the difference.

Bobbie: Cycling While Pregnant

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant? In the beginning I was surprised how good I felt after a ride. Thankfully, I didn’t have any morning sickness; however, I was incredibly tired throughout the entire first trimester. I often thought I didn’t have the energy to bike even a short distance, but once I got going I felt so much better!

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant? Most of the responses I received were positive or indifferent. A few times I received questionable glances from drivers, but I think they were mostly shocked that I was biking while pregnant and pulling a trailer along. I’m also a runner and planned to continue running as long as I could. I ran a marathon a few months before I became pregnant, so I think most of my family and friends thought I knew what I could handle and that I would know when I should stop.

What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy? About halfway through my pregnancy I made a few changes to my bike including a more upright handlebar, borrowing my husband’s saddle, and getting a rear mounted bike seat for my son. Before I bought my Peugeot (which is a mountain bike) I rode a cruiser. I generally like the more upright position of a cruiser and I felt new handlebars would give my belly more room and take pressure off my back. It’s a little strange to ride a mountain bike with cruiser-like handlebars, but it has made a huge difference! I borrowed my husband’s Brooks saddle because it is wider than the generic hard seat that came with my bike. It’s surprising where you gain the baby weight the second time around and having a wider seat made riding so much more comfortable. I decided I could no longer bike with the trailer when I was about 25 weeks along because I realized that I was towing 50lbs between the trailer and my son. Even on short trips it was becoming hard. I thought it was worth the cost in order to keep biking longer, although I generally prefer the trailer. Since making these changes I’ve also started looking into finding a woman’s frame, as I’m finding that riding a men’s bike isn’t as comfortable as it once was. I’ve had a few awkward dismounts lately, and I’m hoping having more of a step-through frame will eliminate that.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience? Go for it! I stopped biking when I was pregnant with my son, mostly because I was scared to bike while pregnant. This time; however, I felt there was no question as to whether or not I would continue riding. Not only is it one of our best sources of transportation, but my son also loves to go for bike rides. It’s something that’s easy for me to do for him. The best motivation is knowing how much fun he will have!

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy? I am definitely more active during this pregnancy. Besides biking, I practice yoga, and walk often. I’m hoping to start a water aerobics class soon as well. Having a toddler is its own source of physical activity too!

Bobbie: Cycling While Pregnant

Thanks so much, Bobbie, for sharing your experience with us! You can read more about Bobbie’s adventures in cycling, running, and motherhood on her blog: run.bobbie.run. You can also find her on Twitter @run_bobbie_run

Want to read past profiles of women cycling while pregnant? Check out the entire interview series here and contact me if you’d like to add your voice to the conversation!

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Posted in Biking while Pregnant, Fit Pregnancy, Guest Posts | 2 Comments

this is 30

Life is so so good right now. I don’t want anything to change. Inspired by Lindsey’s post “this is thirty eight,” I thought I’d capture these moments, always fleeting, always so quick to pass, to one day remember just how good things are. So here is my list, my “this is thirty” time capsule…

This is 30.

Thirty is buying our dream home and settling into the life domestic.

Thirty is thinking about dinner and doing laundry and planning snacks and always making sure to carry a sippy cup and spare diapers in my purse.

Thirty is a continuous fight against all the grey hairs populating my temples and springing up in the part of my hair.

Thirty is carrying our second child to be brought into this world.

Thirty is watching our daughter become more and more independent, learning to voice her needs and wants, and developing her own spirited and beautiful personality.

Thirty is knowing that I married the best person for me.

Thirty is missing many friends scattered all over the world and wishing I had a lot more money to travel.

Thirty is not knowing what to wear as my body changes every day and nothing seems to ever fit right.

Thirty is filling out dozens of job applications and wondering when this will end.

Thirty is learning to garden and loving every minute of it.

Thirty is looking forward to afternoons spent planning flowers while listening to audio books.

Thirty is missing nights spent dancing and partying with friends but knowing that there’s no way in hell I’d have the energy or stamina to start my night at 10pm now.

Thirty is sleeping through the night and appreciating every sweet moment of it before the next newborn takes that away.

Thirty is having three little letters after my name (PhD) that seem to make zero difference in my daily life as mother, wife, friend, daughter, and writer.

Thirty is feeling like we’re on the cusp of something great with still so much of life ahead of us.

Thirty is walking to the grocery store and the post office and biking to yoga and to the park.

Thirty is missing my running routine and hoping that I will one day run a marathon again.

Thirty is waking up between 6 and 7 am each morning when our toddler wakes up and the dog hears us shift in bed and starts whining to be taken outside.

Thirty is waiting for our new yard to get fenced in and walking our dog three times a day, marveling at the beauty of our new neighborhood.

Thirty is still feeling insecure about my cooking and stressing out each time we invite someone over for dinner.

Thirty is having a little more spending power but still feeling guilty about most purchases made.

Thirty is surrounding ourselves with good friends and craving community.

Thirty is knowing fairly certainly that this will be the last time I will look down and see a pregnant belly.

Thirty is biking to the pool and walking laps in the lazy river.

Thirty is watching my husband’s career take off while mine is still very much a work in progress.

Thirty is learning to compromise more, to bite my tongue more often, to be more patient, to be more compassionate, and to judge less.

Thirty is the end of my twenties, which were mostly awesome, sometimes terrible, often chaotic, always exciting, and usually set to the backdrop of gorgeous European cities. Thirty is the beginning of family, children, our home, togetherness, roots, and happiness.

What about you? What does this year look like for you?

{More photos of our everyday life here: Iowa}

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Posted in Family, Food and Home, Life in a Small Town | 18 Comments

cycling while pregnant: the first trimester, the second time around

Mother's Day {cycling at 12 weeks pregnant}

As I write this, I am seventeen weeks along in this pregnancy. I’ve made it through the difficult first trimester that seemed to leave me paralyzed with fatigue most of the time. I don’t remember feeling this tired with my first pregnancy and I definitely did not feel any such strong pregnancy symptoms with my second pregnancy that only lasted 7 weeks. Despite the nausea and fatigue, I still made it out for the occasional bike ride and now that the first trimester fog has lifted, my bike and I are back on track. Since this pregnancy (and my relationship to cycling) seems to be pretty different from when I wrote about cycling while pregnant before, I thought I’d add to the dialogue with a recap of how cycling through the first trimester the second time around is going.

(I’m going to refer to this as my second time cycling while pregnant, but technically, it’s my third time as I cycled the entire seven weeks that I was pregnant with my pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage. In retrospect, it’s interesting that I felt completely fine during those seven weeks and experienced no fatigue or nausea and had absolutely no trouble biking as much as I wanted to on our Florida vacation. Since that pregnancy ended shortly after it began and since I didn’t experience any pregnancy symptoms, I’m going to refer to this experience as my second time of “cycling while pregnant.”)

Reading my previous post on first trimester cycling, I’m struck by how different of an experience that was compared to this one. I felt strong, energetic, able, barely affected by the pregnancy. The tiredness was manageable and my nausea mostly came in the evenings. I was also in a much different place when I became pregnant: I had been running regularly before that and cycling regularly as well. Although I had scaled back my work-outs considerably from the previous year when I had trained for and run two half marathons within two weeks of each other (and set a new PR for myself), I was still in great physical shape. That stamina stayed with me as I continued to bike, run, and walk during the first trimester albeit at a slower pace.

Fast forward to this pregnancy: Picture a long cold winter with much time spent indoors. Add to it a toddler keeping me on my feet all day long. Throw in a part-time lecturer position at the university. Now picture the “for sale” sign in front of our house and imagine all of the work required to sell a home. Am I exercising regularly….? Ha! Am I exhausted? You bet! It’s hard to say whether the first trimester this time around was so much more brutal because of the nature of the pregnancy or the fact that life has changed for us. Life is crazier, busier, harder, and also fuller. I sink into bed exhausted each night but in a good way. I wouldn’t change a thing about this but I also am far away from those earlier care-free days of just me, my excitingly new pregnancy, and the schedule of someone still relatively unencumbered by many of the responsibilities still to come.

As a result, I tried to rest as often as possible and only cycled or walked when it felt good. My longest bike rides during the first trimester were on Kidical Mass days when I biked far more than I would on a regular day (often around 10 miles round-trip) but with the added help of having T. pull our daughter in the trailer.

Oh yeah! That’s another thing: cycling while pregnant this time around meant cycling with TWO on board: one growing baby inside my belly and one excited toddler in her bike seat or trailer. Add that to the mix and there you have it: cycling this time around just wasn’t as easy.

But it was still very much desired and I tried to bike as much as I could, my body permitting. I accepted my slower pace and the fact that some days (or weeks) I just couldn’t muster the energy for it. But when I could, it was glorious.

Mother's Day {bike ride to the botanical garden for Mother’s Day, 12 weeks pregnant}

Lest you think that cycling this time around (and being pregnant this time around) is all work and no fun, let me add that things have drastically improved as I have made my way into the second trimester. I have more energy again and I feel good. Last week I started attending prenatal yoga classes and I biked there and back. I’ve been going to free Saturday morning yoga sessions at a near-by park and I’ve been biking there too. Another thing that has helped: our recent home move put us in a much more central position to all of the businesses and amenities in town so where it used to be a 4+ mile bike ride to get to most of my destinations, we’re now within a mile or two of most places I’d want to go. This means that I can bike or walk to everything and that I’m slowly building up endurance and strength again.

Cycling to prenatal yoga at 16 weeks {heading to prenatal yoga at 16 weeks}

Yoga in the park{free yoga in the park. I biked there.}

I mostly want to record this experience for those who come to this site looking for information on cycling while pregnant (one of the most popular searches bringing readers here) and find my account from two years ago. If you read that and thought, must be great to be her and feel so good, I don’t feel great at all so I guess I shouldn’t try to continue biking because it’s just not fun anymore… to those women I want to say: hang in there! Even if the first trimester is kicking your ass, it won’t necessarily stay that way! It will likely get better and you’ll be glad you tried to stay active when possible. Take things slowly and listen to your body (and health care provider) and trust that your body knows what it needs and how much activity it can handle while its growing another human being. Walk, swim, bike, run when it feels good and don’t when it doesn’t and know that you’ll likely go through many stages and levels of (in)activity during these 40 weeks.

As for me? I feel good enough that I’m going to bike to the pool today (a first! – combining a bike ride with some light swimming). And I hope to have many more bike rides left in me this trimester and the next. Happy cycling!

Are you cycling while pregnant? How has it been going for you? What would you tell someone wondering about cycling while pregnant? Please leave your comments below! I’d love to hear your impressions!

For more cycling while pregnant testimonials, check out these reader profiles and stay tuned for a new profile coming later this week! Would you like to participate in the series? Send me a message and I’ll provide the details! 

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Posted in Biking while Pregnant, Family, Helmet Head, Life in a Small Town, Pregnancy, Summer Cycling | 11 Comments

on the move

I appologize for the lack of posts the last couple of weeks but we have been completely consumed by our recent move. Our families came into town to help out (which was hugely helpful!) and many of our friends came over on Saturday to help lift all the heavy furniture. We’re still wrapping up things at our old house and unpacking at the new house and getting our toddler and dog acclimated to their new home. We have no internet access at home yet and our days are still chaotic and busy but we absolutely LOVE our new home and neighborhood. We keep pinching ourselves to check that it’s real. We are now the happy wardens of a nearly century-old home in the historic district, a short walk or bike ride from parks, shops, restaurants, and the library. This move has been so much more difficult than any move I’ve undertaken in the past (I guess that’s what happens when you’re moving three individuals and a dog rather than just one girl out of a dorm room or tiny appartment). But despite the work and the exhaustion, we’re thrilled to be finally home.

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Posted in Family, Food and Home | 4 Comments

may’s baby book club meet-up

May Baby Book Club

May Baby Book Club

May Baby Book Club

For May’s baby book club session, we read What Makes a Rainbow by Betty Schwartz with illustrations by Donna Turner. The night before our book club met, C. and I spent an hour in our basement along with our dog as we took shelter from the tornadoes that swept the country. In Oklahoma, its presence left devastating damage and loss. Here in Iowa we were much more fortunate to barely feel its graze as the tornado swept through our communities. Nonetheless, we were all a little shaken by it the next morning when we came together to read the serendipitous selection of What Makes a Rainbow.

We made rainbow fruit plates and rainbow ribbon bookmarks and spent the morning basking in the sweet mundane, not taking a moment for granted and feeling so fortunate for our safety and well-being.

You can see more photos from our book club meeting here and read what “Baby Book Club Mama” had to write about May’s book club selection.

Since I last wrote about our book club, my post was picked up by Offbeat Families and featured on their site. I hope our club inspires other book-loving parents to start a similar group for their tots as it’s really a lot of fun for all of us; kids and parents alike.

Because we realize that not every parents is as able to provide books, snacks, and craft supplies for their child, we started the Book Club Pals. With a small donation made by each of us in the group, we are able to put together a goodie bag each month that includes the book we read, the ingredients for the snack we made, and the supplies for the craft or activity themed to the book. My friend S., who organizes our book club and who writes the blog under the moniker “Baby Book Club Mama” is also the one who spearheaded this initiative. Each month, she takes the good bag to a community organization that selects a family in need to be our “pals” for the month and to receive the book and supplies that allows their child(ren) to have his/her own book club party at home.

You can read more about our Book Club Pals program here (and see what we donated in March, April, and May).

If you’re inspired to start your own Baby Book Club or already have something like this going, I’d love to hear about it! What children’s books do you read or would you love to read if you had a book club for your little ones? I’m really excited for June’s book and meet-up as it’s going to be a field trip to somewhere extra special… more on that next month!

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