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New parents: has your riding changed?(25 posts)

New parents: has your riding changed?TypeOne
Feb 21, 2002 12:49 PM
So my wife and I are expecting our first child in October. This leaves this one last summer to race and spend half my weekends on a bike. I expect those changes in my cycling, but what about others?
As I was riding home from work last night and was nearly tagged by a careless driver (again), I thought maybe I shouldn't ride so much. I know the dangers and accept them, and I ride cautiously and legally, but I want to be around to see my kid grow up.
How have others changed when they became parents?
Not enough time or space to answer this one, but . . .morrison
Feb 21, 2002 12:58 PM
I'll take a stab. I have two kids (ages 2 and 3), so I think I still qualify as a recent parent. First, cycling actually became a hell of a lot more fun for me b/c it became my time away from home to unwind.

Second, I ended up getting in a hell of a lot better shape, and I became a much better rider. I attribute this to the fact that, with a kid, your time to ride naturally decreases. With work, baby duties (and doodies), etc., you have to be more organized to get the riding in. For the first time, I developed a training schedule and stuck to it. I switched from frequent meandering rides to frequent (but shorter) sessions for intervals, climbing, spinning, etc. Worked out nicely.

As to your concern about seeing your kid grow up, well, cycling might be dangerous, but if you're smart about it, and always pay attention, you're not in any immediate peril. I want to watch my kids grow up, but I also want to watch THEIR kids grow up. I figure the cardiovascular benefits of the exercise should help me live long enough to do that, assuming I don't get way-laid by a school bus in the process.

Good luck, and buy a diaper genie. Those things are awesome. Also . . . make sure the slats in the crib are less than 4 inches apart.

Feb 21, 2002 4:12 PM
I'll 2nd that.
I have an almost 4 yr old boy who makes the tasmanian devil look like a valium addicted housewife.
YES -your riding habits will change. They should. It was actually easier for me to ride more when my son was a newborn -he and mom napped a lot. I commuted to and from work as often as I could and changed some of my habits to fit in a ride when I could. As my son has grown and developed and become a real live little person, I want to spend time w/him.
I also want to ride. My riding frequency took a big hit between about 1.5 and 2.5 yrs. old. A whole lot of things got in the way of riding - then it opened back up again about 1.5 yr. ago.
Not everbody can do it the way Lance does it - juggling his career and family - and maintaining the competitive advantage. I decided early on that being a present parent was THE most important thing. It still is.
It's all a great ride -whether you're on the bike or playing daddy or being somebody's partner. Just hang on and enjoy it!
agree as well.....K-Man
Feb 22, 2002 7:26 AM
2 daughters 2 & 5.....Forced me to get a litte better organized as well. If cycling is important to you you will need to make sacrifices, period. I generally have one day a week that is my night to ride with the team. everything else is fit it in as possible. Early morning Saturdays while everyone is still sleeping, ride while the family is at church (don't go there). Riding the trainer at 10:30 at night once every has gone to bed...get my drift. I am lucky to get in 7 hours riding time a week this year (was 5-6 last year) and am in much better shape than many riding 10+ hours. It really forces you to focus on quality riding/training. Do some research on the web and understand what works and you'll be off to a great start.

that is strange that you say that....David Ho
Feb 22, 2002 7:42 PM
because I have a 3 month old and I have been doing @8 hrs a week and I am riding better than ever!We did a 70 mile fast group ride last week and I was right there no problem, and my friends came trickling on in a few minutes later.I felt really STRONG, like deep strong,and I have been baffled all week by it.I guess you're right-no junk miles all quality miles .

Sleep .... you will never sleep againMcAndrus
Feb 21, 2002 1:15 PM
Honestly, before kids (18 years ago so I'm not a new parent, sorry) I slept every night like a rock. I haven't had two good nights of sleep in a row since then. Our first didn't sleep through the night for two full years.

Oh, and if you want time with the kids
i and
time on a bike, get them into biking. Buy a tandem when they're old enough (say 10 or 12) and take them on week long trips. I did that and absolutely loved it. It may be my dieing memory and I'll die with a smile on my lips.
Tandems and Burleys.Andante
Feb 25, 2002 10:20 AM
Started using a Burley trailer at one month, and using a tandem at 18 months.
re: New parents: has your riding changed?ridgerider
Feb 21, 2002 1:23 PM
I'm not a new parent either; my oldest is a senior in high school now. I am able to ride more now than I could when our three children were small. Back then I had a heavy-duty mountain bike with a rear child seat. I tooled all over our small town and up and down some of the lower mountains nearby with a kid in tow. My kids loved riding in back and drivers were very kind, smiling and giving us an unusually wide berth on the road. Once your child is old enough to support his head sitting up, get a helmet and a child seat (or even better, a trailer) and take a spin. Those rides will be great memories!
Getting the kid on a bikeTypeOne
Feb 21, 2002 1:29 PM
Thanks, I definitely plan to try to interest the kid in cycling as soon as he/she is old enough. Maybe I'll be the guy with the Burley trailer next year!
And thanks for the diaper genie advice; someone at work told me it is "required!"
re: Ours diddzrider
Feb 21, 2002 1:29 PM
Our sons are now 12 & 13 so we aren't really new parents.
BC (before children) we rode together, even rode off from our wedding reception on decorated bikes. Suddenly we had so few opportunities to ride together. One of us had to be home at almost all times and if both of us wanted to ride we had to plan our time well. We used the stand more and sometimes we rode together in the basement.

10 yrs ago we both did a triathlon which forced both of us to pay lots of attention to both our training. I got up early to work out and be back by 7:00 so Rachel, ready to go when I returned, could be back by 8:30 and I could get to work. It is possible, and shared effort almost always brings shared rewards.

The biggest change was in my perscpective on working out. As parenting demanded more and more of our attention, exercise became much more of a luxury than a necessity. I relearned that riding and running are going out to play and that the events I prepare for are celebrations of the day to day efforts that make them possible. It is possible to enjoy riding as part of a full life without making it the center of one's life.
re: New parents: has your riding changed?RayBan
Feb 21, 2002 1:31 PM
I used to ride/race ALOT and being on the bike never bothered me. Now I have 2 little kids, and I still ride but not every day. I still LOVE to ride, and I always will, but nowadays I miss being away from the house for too long. I race once in a while, but winning races is not the most important thing in my life anymore, I still think it's important to be a good role model to my kids by showing them how cool it is to ride and race a bike and how living a healthy life style is where it's at. I guess it's all about balance nowadays. so that's the lesson I've learned.
re: New parents: has your riding changed?maurizio
Feb 21, 2002 1:36 PM
I have a 9month old and the thing that is so tough is finding the time to ride. I agree with the earlier statements in that you train smarter, but it's also a release for YOU. Unless you have a super forgiving wife, you can kiss those CAT 2 length days goodbye. With work and the spousal obligations, you will savor the time on the bike. I recently invested in a trainer and will get in time when ever I can (baby's long naps, etc.).
Good luck. It's the best and remember the saying
"There's never enough time to ride"
re: New parents: has your riding changed?DrD
Feb 21, 2002 1:40 PM
I don't think there is anyone out there who is going to say they didn't change when the kids arrived! We had our first back in November, and yes, it definitely changed my riding habits in terms of time - I now generally get out about half as often as I used to - it doesn't bother me, though - I enjoy spending time with my new daughter! A lot of things change - esp. your priorities - when you have a baby (for the better, in my opinion) - there's nothing quite like it! Though it's a number of years off, I will really enjoy introducing her to cycling!

As far as safety on the road goes - there is no denying that cycling can be dangerous, but then so is walking along the road, or even driving a car - ride smart, be careful, and enjoy it while you can - to answer your question, I have no intention of stopping cycling altogether!

I'll second the diaper genie recommendation! Get the wide-mouth one, and always keep an extra refill in the closet!
Our first is due in less than...PsyDoc
Feb 21, 2002 1:42 PM
...a week!! My wife rides as well, though, she has not ridden since her 4th month. But, we have tentatively agreed to a schedule. First thing in the morning, I go out for a 1.5 - 2 hour ride. When I come home, she gets to take off for a ride as well. I do not know how long this will workout, or if it will work at all, but we are trying. I teach at a university and my schedule is pretty flexible right now. Once he is old enough, we are planning on getting a kid-trailer and taking him out on the weekends when my wife and I can enjoy riding together again.
Clean the bike up, put a cover on it and kiss it good bye!SingleThreaded
Feb 21, 2002 2:02 PM
It'll be good for a nice 1 or 2 hour escape every once in a while, but if your getting any more time your probably neglecting your family or your job.
unless you want a divorce your riding will have to change (nm)Real Man
Feb 21, 2002 2:04 PM
Our tandem mostly collects dustStraightblock
Feb 21, 2002 3:37 PM
since our first son was born. I had retired from Cat 1-2 racing a few years before I got married, but still enjoyed frequent local group rides, and we did several centuries on the tandem. Now it's hard to find time to get out together

Priorities changed, and while I never quit riding I didn't emphasize cycling for a few years. I supplemented my riding with running, and competed in 10k races to satisfy my competitive urges. Most of my cycling was limited to rides of less than 40 miles at odd times.

Time becomes much more precious with children, and cycling will probably have to take a back seat for a while. With school activities, sports, music, scouts, or whatever, kids nowdays are always going somewhere. While you can't and really don't need to be at every single practice or activity, don't miss too much or your kids will notice, and your wife will, too.

You will definitely need some time to satisfy your cycling passion or you won't be happy, though. Instead of riding, you're going to find yourself spending more Saturdays at Chuck E. Cheese and T-ball or soccer games than you can imagine. Negotiate with your wife for some riding time. Let her know that you want to stay fit and healthy, and need it for your sanity. Be sure, though, to remember that she'll need some time off too, especially if she's a stay-at-home mom. If she has a hobby, sport or other activity she's passionate about, make sure she still has time to pursue it. And perhaps most important, be sure to set aside some time for the two of you to spend time together. Don't let it become just "your time" and "her time."

Our boys are 11 and 8 now, and one of our favorite weekend activities is a family bike ride to McD's or some other fast food joint for lunch, then exploring the neighborhoods & canal banks on the way home. Our older son is now big enough for the stoker seat, too, so I'm looking forward to trying longer rides with him this spring.
Our tandem mostly collects dustjswhern
Feb 22, 2002 4:34 AM
When my daughter was born it did not change our lifestlyes that much. I found that I did more quality workouts(I was a Triathlete at the time) and the quantity factor was alot of wasted time. I became more competitive and actually started winning more. I worked out less for I wanted to be home with my family and when it came to events we all went together and she has grown to be my greatest fan and I hers in gymnastics which she is a level 10. I rode indoors alot when she was a toddler. I am not of fan of bike trailers or tandems either. She now goes mt biking with me and our favorite ride is in Williamsburg,Va the colonial parkway to Yorktown and back.
Don't do what I did ...tarwheel
Feb 22, 2002 6:15 AM
When my daughter was born, I quit riding and didn't start back up for about 10 years. The first year it was just too hard finding the time, and then I got out of the routine. However, I was more of a runner than biker at that time, and also had some running related injuries to contend with. There is no way you will be able to cycle as much as you do now, but try to find the time to keep it up. It's a great stress reliever, and you'll put on some pounds in a hurry if you don't do something.
Not a typical response...biknben
Feb 22, 2002 6:52 AM
My cycling changed dramatically after the birth of my daugter 2 years ago. I was a serious cyclist who never bothered to race. I was steadily gaining weight and slowing down. I looked in the mirror and realized I didn't want my daughter to grow up with an out of shape dad trying to live through her successes.

I dropped 55 lbs, started racing, and am not looking back.

Think in terms of quality not quantity. When I'm on the bike, it's all there is. When spending time with family, they are #1. If anything has suffered, it is my job, but I only consider that a means to pay bills. Bills are getting paid so it's good enough.

Good luck with the new family.
Took up bike commutingvitusdude
Feb 22, 2002 7:03 AM
Before becoming a father six years ago I rode after work several days a week and on weekends. Lots of rides in the country. Drove my wife nuts. She said "After the baby comes no more dissappearing on the bike for hours at a time", etc. When I went back to work, I began bike commuting. First 2-3 days a week, then 5, and gradually one weekend ride, though usually local. The result is, that due to my 35 mile daily bike commute, I am riding more now than before having two kids. Riding a bike has its dangers, but so does not exercising. A guess you will have to pick your poison, so to speak. Without riding, I would be a basket case, so its not a hard decision for me. Gotta ride.
Start commuting!tmguy
Feb 22, 2002 7:04 AM
I have a 5-month old boy and he is the apple of my eye. You will have a new appreciation and capacity for love that will transcend anything you have ever experienced.

Like the others, I do not do the long weekend rides anymore. However, I do commute the 6.5 miles to work and back. I am still riding and it gives me that time to unwind and stay in decent shape. I still love riding and will be getting a new Pinarello Opera for my 40th birthday next month. Probably my last high end bike. Soon I'll be looking at bikes for my son - I can't wait!
Start commuting!EW
Feb 22, 2002 9:28 AM
I totally agree. I have a 2 year old and a 5 month old. I took up commuting after my first child was born. 20 miles round trip. It satisfies the need to ride. You can practice sprints from light to light or just do a recovery ride. My training rides never last longer than 2 hours anymore because it is not fair to the kids so I have to do shorter, more high intensity rides. I ride on the trainer a lot more as well. Oh, yeah, don't pass up getting the Opera, you'll never regret it. What a bike. It's not as fragile as some might have you believe. I would probably not commute on it, though :)
Start commuting, but think of it differentlyRayBan
Feb 22, 2002 11:37 AM
Yep, I commute a day or 2 a week when daylight permits. I do it on a fixed gear bike but I call it training :)
Feb 22, 2002 12:29 PM
I commute now, but I imagine I will enjoy it more when it is time away. Assuming daycare responsibilities are worked out with my wife I'll still ride to work everyday.

I'll probably be like most people who posted: I'll still ride and stay in shape, but I'll enjoy being a dad so much I won't miss a thing!