Tips for Riding Comfortably While Pregnant

with RADKA KAHLEFELDT

As a professional triathlete, pregnancy has been such an amazing learning experience so far! I’ve been taking each day as it comes and tuning in with my body and my doctor to see how I should modify my training with each change in my body. Now that my due date is just a month and a half away, I’m so excited to still be riding my bike in some fashion.

Until about 20 weeks, I felt comfortable and confident riding my Liv Avow Advanced racing bike out on the roads. After that, the forward “time trial” position started to put pressure on my belly and I decided it was time for a change. Luckily, I had my Liv Envie Advanced to turn to. The reach on the Envie is nearly 3 cm shorter than the Avow, so it put me in a substantially more upright position. Still, I had to make some adjustments to make riding my road bike more comfortable.

When I got my bike fitted initially, I had lowered the stem and put nearly all the spacers on top. Usually, you would cut the steer tube of the fork down (so you don’t have a nub sticking out of the top), but I hadn’t done this yet – it’s a good thing! Because I had room to move my stem up by putting spacers underneath, I was able to lift my bars 2 cm higher with very little effort. This made a big difference in my body position.

My Envie has an integrated stem/ handlebar. This doesn’t allow for any other handlebar adjustments, but if I wanted to be even more upright, I could always purchase an angled stem and separate handlebar. With another stem, you could easily gain more height, therefore making more room for the growing belly! Another option: rotate your bars 180 degrees! This is a super quick and easy adjustment for a wind trainer session.

Another thing that has happened recently – I have made the decision to stop riding on the road. As my belly and the baby are getting bigger, my pelvis isn’t doing as good of a job protecting my little one. So, it was recommended to me that I should set up my bike on a wind trainer for the last trimester. Though it is a personal decision, I just don't want to risk any possible problems that could happen should I crash.

I love riding outdoors, but here are some of the benefits I have found when using the wind trainer:

1) It is safe (no traffic, bumpy and bad road surface, punctures...)!

2) You will do more work in 1 hour on wind trainer then is 1.5 hours riding outdoors!

3) You can still set up your wind trainer in your backyard so you get the fresh air and some vitamin D from the sunshine!

4) You don't need to worry about fitting into your tight bike jersey!

5) Toilet stops are more comfortable at home!

6) You can ride any time of the day (no rush hour, no darkness...)!

7) If it is too hot, use a fan and/or air conditioner to keep you cool!

8) You will never run out of water if riding indoors!

9) You can set up your bike in an even more comfortable position for your belly than when riding outdoors

10) Your family will stop worrying where are you going and will stop nagging you to ride carefully.

Pro Tip #1: My bibs were too tight on my belly… so I had to improvise. To make my rides more comfortable I cut the front part of my bibs almost all the way down to the chamois to make space for my belly. (I use now a maternity FITsplint underneath the bib to cover and support the naked belly)

Pro Tip #2: I’m now just about 7 weeks shy of my due date and I’ve had to improvise further to keep riding my bike on the trainer. Now, I have a new invention. See below! My advice: Don’t be afraid to look silly. If you love to ride, make it work for you!  

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