Baby on Board: Cycling While Pregnant

Baby on Board: Cycling While Pregnant

Bike Auckland

While designing our fabulous new logo late last year, Su Yin Khoo was also working on another major project: her first child… while fearlessly biking round the city pretty much up till the last minute. 

My first and only child was born on Christmas Day. (Yeah, we know). The birth went pretty well; in fact, I think what helped with my stamina during labour was the fact that I rode my bike all throughout my pregnancy last year. The day before I went into labour, I biked up Franklin Rd to have lunch with my sister at Ponsonby Central.

I cycled almost every day I was pregnant. I was lucky in not having pregnancy nausea or any other complications, and on average I managed about 10km a day. In fact, in 2015 I smashed my annual total of kms cycled!

My husband and I also cycled from our apartment in the CBD to every obstetrician appointment in Parnell. We discussed cycling while pregnant (and riding with baby) with our OBs, and they had no problems with it. Keeping riding was important to me, as I’ve always wanted to normalise the idea of ordinary people on bicycles going about their business – and even more so for pregnant women who are often treated like delicate flowers. Bugger that.

Of course, some things do change when you’re pregnant. As time goes on, you can’t bend forwards quite as much, so I had to make some modifications like getting a cruiser-style handlebar for my bike. And you get short of breath more often. The most important thing, I found, is to not ride hard-out, and to listen to your body.

Unfortunately, some drivers still drive like dicks around you – and worse, are not embarrassed about it even after they realise that you are pregnant. (Like I said, dicks.) But I’ve been cycling in Auckland long enough to gain enough street sense to avoid or manage these situations.

I didn’t just keep cycling – there eventually came a point where I would choose cycling over walking for things like going to the movies. It was just so much easier, faster, and less uncomfortable to get on the bike than to waddle all the way to where I was going!

Here is very pregnant me with Carol and Genny at the opening of LightPath in early December.

Carol, Genny, Su Yin at the opening of LightPath.
Carol, Genny, Su Yin at the opening of LightPath.

Naturally, I wanted to keep riding after Ada arrived. I don’t drive at all, so getting a cargo bike was practically a no-brainer. We settled on a Nihola Family (with electric assistance) because I wanted a tricycle, thinking that it’s easier to stop and hop off for meltdowns. This was the smallest on the market. I found out about it via a Sydney bike style blogger (Velo a Porter), we imported it from Australia, and it joined the rest of our bikes in our apartment car park. I mean, bike park.

You can’t have too many bikes. Still room for more, too.

We love the cargo bike. The thing about cargo bikes is that they’re currently so rare in New Zealand that people are genuinely curious – and riding one with a baby only elicits smiles (mostly from women and knowing dads). And, if you do need to be on the road, drivers definitely tend to be more tolerant of a cargo bike, even at your very slow speed.

The all-consuming task of caring for a newborn meant that we didn’t get to take her out in it till she was a month old…

First jaunt with bubs.

…but since then, I have slowly but surely been taking more and more trips with her. Mostly at a jogging-paced loop around the CBD, where we live: along Nelson St, then Lightpath, Grafton Gully and Quay St.

Negotiating the bollards on Grafton Gully, gingerly.
Negotiating the bollards on Grafton Gully.

She hates the bumpy bits and has had several meltdowns, but we’ll just stop for a cuddle and/or a feed.

Here's Ada on her way to see the nurse for her first immunisation shots at 6 weeks.
On her way to see the nurse for her first immunisation shots at 6 weeks.

Here she is, ready for Friding at nine weeks old. Hottest February on record! I’ve since added a sun-shade that is actually designed for a double buggy. It works.

Friding, the easy way.

And once she can stay awake a bit longer, quaxing trips are definitely on the cards. I can’t wait. All in all, I can highly recommend more mamas and mamas-to-be gain mobility and their independence on cycles!

The view from the cockpit. Or is it a view OF the cockpit?


— Su Yin Khoo is a freelance designer based in Auckland. We thoroughly recommend her work. 

Join us

Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better region. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

Suggest a new ride