Cycling while pregnant: the third trimester

My third trimester began at the end of June, just in time for the peak heat of Saskatchewan’s summer. Although I felt okay on the bike for the most part, I felt the heat much more quickly than normal and had to cut back on riding when the temperature soared. This meant sometimes having someone else replace me as a ride leader, occasionally swapping my cycle-commuting for driving in and opting for an evening gravel cruise with a friend who was passing through on her way to BC instead of the day of mountain biking we had planned.

My companions on a sunset ride on the prairie at 27 weeks – escaping the heat of the day instead of mountain biking in the thick of it.

In addition to the scorching temperatures, cycling in my third trimester was also hampered by a cross-country move from Regina to St. John’s. We had much to do to prepare our house and to get our lives packed up and ready for a year away. Still, I would try to squeeze in short spins after dinner to stay limber as much as possible. As I was getting heavier, I found cycling was more comfortable than going for walks, especially on my commuter which was a little more upright. It felt a little more like normal life and it was a nice change of pace to be able to move a little quicker if only for a little while.

Once we arrived in St. John’s, we were busy with work and furnishing our apartment, so I did not have much time for riding. There were other added challenges too. St. John’s is a hilly place, and there were no options for avoiding tough climbs on rides leaving from our front door. And in anticipation of my new role as a mother on maternity leave, I had left my commuter bicycle in Regina, which was the most upright of my bicycles (I only brought ‘fun’ bikes for ‘me time’)!

I did miss cycling, and so we drove out to the coast for a relatively flat ride on a nice calm day when I was at 36 weeks. Going full circle, I was back on my fat bike, my best option for comfort out of the the bikes I had brought with me. I raised my handlebars as much as I could and savoured the ride as much as possible, knowing it would be my last ride unless I bought a new stem to improve my fit. With only four weeks to go, that didn’t make much sense to me, and cycling gave way to hiking in to nice swimming holes whenever possible. This pretty much fit with my expectations of being in St. John’s, as last time we lived here we spent more time backcountry camping along the coast than cycling.

The final ride pre-parenthood. ~15 km on the fatty along the gorgeous coast at 36 weeks.

I was fortunate to have had a very manageable pregnancy all the way through, and I am thankful that this enabled me to continue to be active throughout the experience. Cycling during pregnancy helped me by keeping me fit, connected with friends, and in tune with my body. It was certainly challenging at times to adjust to the new me after years of focussing on increasing pace and distance, but learning how to find ways to keep doing something I love has also been good preparation for the next chapter in my life!