Biking While Pregnant Q&A
Keagan poses with her bike behind the Cycle Toronto offices
Our Interim Executive Director is expecting big changes in 2020, and we’re not just talking bike lanes. Keagan is expecting her first child, but that hasn’t stopped her from riding a bike. She took some time to share her experiences with us.
What were your first thoughts about riding a bike while pregnant?
Biking is the main way I get around, so it felt natural for me to keep doing it. I’m fortunate to have bike lanes and quiet streets to use in my neighbourhood and on the way to work. There are safety risks no matter how I get around, so when I weighed that out, continuing to bike was the right decision for me.
Did you discuss riding a bike with your doctor, and what did they have to say?
Depending on the medical professional I’ve talked to, I’ve received different opinions. Some doctors and nurses have been supportive of continuing to bike as a healthy, low-impact activity. Others (including people who have no medical credentials) have remarked on how surprised they are that I am able to do it physically, and a few of those have cautioned me about falling. Since I am comfortable riding on city streets already, and because indoor cycling is often recommended as an activity to stay healthy while pregnant, I figured I might as well get the transportation benefit from cycling and keep doing it outside.
How far along are you, and what has your experience on a bike been like so far? Have you had to make any adjustments to the way you ride?
I’m currently seven months pregnant, and, overall, I’ve felt great. I ride slower than I used to, but I find that cycling still gives me more energy than it takes away. My center of gravity has definitely changed, but that’s not much of an issue with an upright, Dutch-style bike. I have noticed, over the last couple of months, that biking is actually easier on my body than walking, and definitely more fun than the TTC.
Did you stop riding when the weather turned wintery a couple of weeks ago?
I’m normally a year-round cyclist, but even so, I do not bike when the Cycling Snow Route Network isn’t clear and dry. Biking in the cold or the rain is no problem if I dress for it, even if my rain pants aren’t fitting as well these days. Road conditions are the make-or-break for me. I’ll bike on some main roads without bike lanes if I have to, in good weather, but in bad weather conditions, I don’t feel safe. After a big snowfall, the arterial roads without bike lanes are often the only roads that are cleared, and especially when pregnant, it doesn’t feel worth it to me. I have been biking the last couple of weeks because the roads are dry and clear.
Cycle Toronto fronts onto Spadina, so Keagan rides on the side streets
Is there a point in time that you think you’ll stop riding? Why?
If I feel like I can’t physically do it anymore, I’ll stop. If not, I’ll keep going. For anyone who’s considering biking through their pregnancy, I’d say try it and listen to your body.
Do you have any words of advice for bike riding expectant parents?
Check out the Toronto Cycling Handbook: Family Edition. It’s full of useful tips for cycling with your family from pregnancy until your child is a teenager. To go along with the handbook, we’re developing a “Biking with your Family” workshop that we’ll be launching in 2020 as part of our Street Smarts work. My first baby purchase was a gently-used, convertible bike stroller. I can’t wait to try it out next year.
Keagan getting ready to lock up her bike and get to work
Getting informed is the first step in choosing to ride a bike. That’s why we run numerous Streets Smarts programs including producing The Toronto Cycling Handbook: Family Edition. Cycle Toronto relies on donations to run these programs and there only a few days left in 2019 for you to contribute and get a tax receipt. Donate now to “Fund 2 - Cycling Program” by clicking here.
- Exercise and Pregnancy - American Pregnancy Association
- Exercise in Pregnancy: Your Pregnancy and Baby Guide - UK National Health Service
- Tips for riding when you are expecting - Canadian Cycling Magazine
- Baby on Board: 10 Tips for Riding While Pregnant - People for Bikes
- Cycling while Pregnant: Tips and Advice - Bike Radar
- Is Cycling While Pregnant Safe? - Bicycling.com
- Pedalling while pregnant: The good, the bad and the ugly - CBC