Biking with a Bump



At my first midwife visit, I asked if it would be all right if I kept riding my bike while pregnant. My midwives said that as long as I felt good, didn’t push myself too hard, listened to my body, and felt safe, cycling was a great form of pregnancy exercise.

I’m currently in my 32nd week of pregnancy, and I’m still loving my bike. Here’s why:

Even though I’m in my third trimester and feeling tired, heavy and achy, cycling still feels good. It’s low-impact and (miraculously) makes my back feel better. It makes sense, when your back is being pulled forward all day by a heavy load, spending some time in an opposite posture (with a curved back) is a relief.

There is also something amazing about being able to zip around on a bike when I’ve become used to lumbering. I’m still able to move at a normal human speed on a bike, as opposed to when I’m waddling around on foot. Although I haven’t been swimming much, I imagine it’s the same sort of freeing feeling of being lighter and more agile. It feels wonderful.

Some drawbacks: I have to be much more careful about falls. This means that I find myself getting off my bike a lot more often, for safety’s sake. The people of Collingwood generally will not keep their dogs on leashes, and I have to be careful that no one darts in front of me while I’m riding. One woman actually told me, as I was slowly approaching her off-leash Weimaraner “Watch out, because she WILL run out in front of you.” So, maybe keep her on a leash whilst on this busy, multi-user trail?

Also, as the baby grows, we’re both running out of room and leaning forward is becoming difficult. I suspect that sometime soon the baby will just refuse to cooperate, and I’ll have to give it up. But until then, I’m going to enjoy this as much as I can.

Baby Bike



It’s only early March, and our toddler is only 18 months old, but this long-anticipated day has arrived.  C has a bike.

Pete was in Toronto for an appointment and swung over to Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop on Bloor St.  He picked up this little kick-bike for C to start using this summer.  She’s a bit small for it now, but we’re hoping that by June or July she might be able to ride it a bit.

I’m excited for C to try out her own little bike.  Yes, she’s growing up too fast for my liking, but it will be fun to see her try to ride on her own.  I hope she loves cycling as much as we do.  Or, as much as I do.  Maybe not as much as Pete does.  Pete enjoys plummeting down mountains on bikes.  I’m fine with C loving to cycle, as long as her cycling doesn’t turn into this:



Excuses, Excuses


I’ve been having difficulty keeping up my blogging lately, for a variety of reasons.  Here’s a quick list:

1) Toddlers are BUSY.  It’s getting harder to find free moments when C is up and about.

2) I never have time for everything, and right now the two things that are suffering are blogging and banjo-playing.  I’m not happy about it, but I have to prioritize.

3) I’m following through on my goal of volunteering my time with a community organization that I think does really good work.  That’s definitely time well spent.

I’m hoping to keep things up and running here, despite the time-crunch.  Tomorrow night I’m going to a lecture and book signing by Linden MacIntyre of the Fifth Estate.  I read his Giller Prize-winning book, The Bishop’s Man, while I was pregnant with C and I loved it.  I’ll be sure to report back…someday.


A Bike Post from the Bikeless


I thought that I should probably write something about biking, since this blog is entitled “Bike, Banjo and Baby” and I have written approximately zero posts about bikes.  However, I am currently bikeless, so a bike post is a bit difficult to conjure up at this juncture.

This is what a bicycle looks like, or so I’m told.

To solve this problem, I told Pete that he had to do some crazy stuff on his bike to provide me with some material for the blog.  I took this back almost immediately.  I need him able-bodied for parenting purposes.  He came home from downhill riding the other day with scrapes and scratches on his knees and stomach from “not falling off his bike.”  That’s about as exciting as I’d like his riding to get.

We are working on getting a new bike for me.  C is old enough to be towed behind us in her chariot now, so the pressure is on.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever owned a bike that was bought just for me.  I inherited bikes from my sister, and usually those were well-used and/or ill-fitting.   I once inherited a bike from her after it had been stolen from our garage, taken to a nearby park, kicked around a bit and possibly set on fire.

So getting my very own, brand-new bike is very exciting.  I’ll be sure to post a photo once we actually pick it up from Pete’s friend’s bike shop in Toronto.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep blogging about trying to maintain some balance in our lives with a baby in tow.  This weekend, we’re heading to Algonquin Provincial Park to take C camping for the first time.  I spent my university summers working there, and I’m really excited to be bringing her there for the first time.  So excited, in fact, that I looked up some Algonquin Park videos on the Friends of Algonquin website.  They’re not quite as inspiring as the video shown every 12 minutes in the Visitor Centre, or as instructive as the Ministry of Natural Resources bear safety video (pro tip: yell “whoa bear!”), but they suited my purposes.

And now for a quick question: does anyone have any mountain bike recommendations for me?

Father’s Day


I didn’t manage to post anything on Mother’s Day, but since I was supposed to be lounging around and getting spoiled by Pete and C that day, I don’t feel guilty about it.  I feel even less guilty because, in fact, I was doing very little lounging.

My day started when Pete handed C to me to wish me Happy Mother’s Day and she promptly stuck her chubby little thumb up my nose and gave me a nosebleed.  Luckily, the day got better from there.

Pete looked after the baby for most of the morning while I chatted on the phone with my lovely mom.  He looked completely wiped out by 9:30 am.  Babies are tiring, it turns out.  We then had brunch with some friends and their adorable almost-one-year-old daughter.  And then, I did something that I will remind Pete about for a long, long time.  I let him go for a cross-country mountain bike ride.  On Mother’s Day.  I am a saint.

I kid, though.  He earned it.  He’s a great dad.  And in honour of Father’s Day, I’m going to make quick list about his fatherly awesomeness.

  • He knows who C’s friends are.  That’s a very good indication of how involved he is in her little nine-month-old social life.
  • He only lets her watch TV when there is a downhill mountain bike race on.  See, he cares about her cognitive development, but also about her budding downhill racing appreciation.
  • He thinks C is the cutest baby out there.  Actually, he thinks she’s the cutest lady-baby.  We know a very cute boy baby and Pete thinks he holds the men’s title.
  • When he walks in the door after a long day at work and an hour-long commute, he kisses me and then reaches out for her.  I think that speaks for itself.

C and I are very lucky to have him.

I would also like to wish a very happy Father’s Day to my own fantastic Dad.  He is so amusing and quotable that he deserves his own post.  I’ll be sure to do that soon.

Happy Father’s Day!

Running Up That Hill


I’m signed up for a “mountain adventure race” that is taking place in less than a month.  I put that in quotes because there is no mountain in my town.  There is an escarpment that we call a mountain.  I thought I should clear this up, lest anyone think that I’m training to run up a legitimate peak.

Keeping active is one of the things I’ve tried hard to do during C’s infancy so far.  It’s good for both of us.  I think it’s important to model a healthy lifestyle.  I want to be able to keep up with Pete once I actually get my own bike (one of Pete’s may have to move out to make room.)  And C really likes being around other babies at mom-and-baby fitness classes.  It’s a win-win-win.

I started going to postnatal fitness classes at the YMCA when C was seven weeks old.  At first, I took it easy and only went once a week.   I went for lots of walks with her in those first few months though, because the weather was absolutely glorious until mid-December.

In January I added a second postnatal class to our schedule, and this one was more of a boot camp.  C loves these classes, because she gets to hang out with other babies and watch moms jump around and do endless burpees and generally suffer a lot.  Babies like that sort of thing.

I became friends with some pretty active and athletic new moms who encouraged me to sign up for this race.  And I’ve had a lot of fun training with them.

Here is a photo of our group training to get ourselves over a 6’ wall (among other obstacles).  The YMCA staff have been great and have set up obstacles for us to train on.  They’re super fantastic.

All in all, I’ve had a great time training for this race.  The actual race may kill me, but the training has been fun.  But as I’ve gotten stronger I’ve started to wonder: how will I be able to keep fit once I start working again?

I said in my first post that I was hoping to get some tips from readers.  Right now, I’m able to exercise because I bring C with me to the gym during the day.  But once I go back to work, I won’t be able to do that.

Here’s what I want to know from parents who work.  How do you find time to exercise? 

Bike, banjo, baby and blogging


I have an eight month old baby.  That means several things.  I’m pretty tired by the end of the day.  I do a lot of laundry.  I spend a lot of time hanging out with a little pre-verbal person who makes me laugh and tries to eat my face.

Before C was born, I heard so many warnings that my life was going to change so dramatically that I would no longer recognize it, or myself.

You’ll never get a good night’s sleep again.

It will be ten years before you have time to read a book again.

You won’t have any time for yourself, everything is about the baby now.

I started this blog because my husband and I are first time parents who are struggling to do a good job with our baby, while holding on to our passions and individuality.

Pete is a mountain biker, but he would like me to point out that that he is not ONLY a mountain biker.  We have seven bikes in our garage and not one of them belongs to me.  And we’re not storing any bikes for anyone else.  We don’t collect old bikes and restore them for people.  Pete owns seven bikes.  And before anyone comes to the (admittedly logical) conclusion that he’s a big spender, he drives a 2002 Honda Accord.

I play the banjo.  I decided to learn an instrument after I finished university, mostly because I was sick of studying and wanted to do something different.  I bought a banjo at a local music store and drove family members crazy for a few months until I could pick out a recognizable bluegrass song.  Poor them.  They heard a lot of “Cluck Old Hen” and “Old Grey Goose” and “Shuckin’ the Corn” and other banyard tunes.  Sorry, family!

We have lots of other interests, of course.  This blog is going to follow us as we try to keep up with all of these things while raising a wonderful little person.  I’m hoping that as we stumble along we can share some of our successes and missteps.  I’m also hoping that we can get some tips and tricks from readers.

Thanks for reading!