One of the things I used to love doing with the husband before we got married was to spend days going on long cycle rides. We even took our bikes on our honeymoon to Cornwall to do some mountain biking. It was a joy, occasionally I cycled (sort of illegally) through Verulamium Park to work. It was great fun trying to outpace the park warden on his golf buggy and since he knew me and where to find me, I think he enjoyed the morning challenge as well. Anyway, with pregnancy came an end to my cycling as I suffered really badly from SPD and had trouble even walking.
The past few months I’ve done a bit of physio on my SPD from which I haven’t really recovered. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t really do much aside from swimming. The trouble is when you have 3 kids and at least one, at any time, it’s really quite hard to just pop down the pool for a swim. I know I need to do exercise for my mental state of mind and so I’ve taken the decision to just go with a bit of gentle exercise doing stuff which I enjoy. If I suffer too much during/ afterwards then I stop.
Without a doubt I knew the best way to go for a bit of exercise for me was to get out my bike. Fortunately for me one of my old blogging/ twitter friends is a keen cyclist and he agreed to take a look at my bike and give it an overhaul. We sourced a bike seat suitable for Eddie and I took a practice run on the bike without him. The thing about a rear bike seat is that it really unbalances you compared to what you are used to. Think something heavy wobbling about and throwing arms everywhere to point out random ducks and other wildlife. However, once you get even vaguely used to it a rear bike seat is a fab way to get a bit of exercise with a child.
One of the things I have really enjoyed is the chance to have a bit of one on one time and a chat with little Ned. He loves our trips so much that he stands pointing at my bike: ‘bike, bike!’ The route I have been cycling is fairly short, but includes a very demanding steep uphill section which with two stone of child on the back of the bike is an extremely good workout.
I must admit, until recently I was very sceptical about cycling about with a child on the back. One of the things which has put me off is the potential danger for the child. However, I then thought about how many times I have actually fallen off my bike (once when I was about 8). Ned is really securely strapped in, the seat is covered at the sides and he wears a helmet. I feel confident that in the unlikely event of me falling off and crashing the bike he wont suffer much of an injury. This is also coupled withe the fact that there are some very good cycling routes near to my house so we don’t have to worry about cars.
Without a doubt, I think cycling with a child is the best exercise you can have, especially when you need to take a child with you. I’ve tried jogging with the buggy, but frankly its cumbersome, restrictive and not much fun. If you go out on a cycle ride you can go places, do stuff and you feel a bit more independent somehow. The actual exercise of cycling isn’t that much different to before children, if anything you get a bit more exercise because of the added weight. Its a win-win situation and I cannot recommend it more highly to you if you have a child you need to take with you.