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Bikes & Babies: Balancing Act(26 posts)

Bikes & Babies: Balancing Actpurduem
Jan 16, 2004 3:50 PM
I finally got "serious" about cycling 2 years ago. Now I cycle 3-4 days/week and love it. I am in better shape than I was at 18. Last year worked tons of overtime to afford a cycling trip to France. Now my wife is pregnant--which is GREAT!!. First baby for both, but I am freaking out about losing my cycling life.

Are my days of 100-milers over? Maybe I'm just looking to vent, but any words of wisdom are welcome. And please don't say "Buy a kiddie trailer." :-)
It's hard...really hardSpecialTater
Jan 16, 2004 3:59 PM
with a 3 month old at home and a work schedule that's essentially dark to dark until daylight savings kicks in.

My wife needs a break on the weekends since she's with him all week so my riding amounts to 3-4 hours on Saturday. I could ride more during the week if I were more motivated (lunch, early morning) but late nights with baby and other responsibilities tend to outweigh my discipline.

It's all worth it though. I could not be happier and I'll have plenty of time to ride later. If not, it's still worth the time you spend with them at the very early age. Like everyone says (and there are a ton of baby related cliches) they grow up way too fast.
Get a trailerKerry Irons
Jan 16, 2004 8:40 PM
We probably put 20K miles on a trailer with our two kids before they graduated to the backs of tandems. It helped that my wife is an avid rider, so we would do family rides. The trailer can mean relief time for your wife and together time with the kid, and often times the motion of the trailer lulls kids to sleep. You have to stop more often to sort out pacifiers, bottles, toys, etc. but it all works out. You get an extra workout by hauling the trailer (your forty pound air brake). We put the kids in a car seat and strapped that in the trailer.
At what age?SpecialTater
Jan 16, 2004 9:41 PM
My wife is hesitant even with some trusted friend's recommendations. Plus we are in a pretty safe neighborhood. I've heard Burley is the best.
We started around 4 months.Kerry Irons
Jan 17, 2004 8:25 PM
I know a lot of people would/will scream bloody murder about putting a baby in a bike trailer at that age, but as I said, we put them in car seats so they were fully supported, and never seemed to have any trouble. With all due respect, I think a lot of people are paranoid about a lot of things when it comes to babies. When you hear all the fears and warnings, it's a wonder any of us survived to adulthood.

There a lot of trailers on the market, and Burley is certainly one of the best, though I don't think it is head a shoulders above the better units. Our "baby" is now 20, so I'm a little out of touch with the details in that market.
I'm calling children's services...Akirasho
Jan 16, 2004 4:04 PM
... cuz round here, balancing babies and bikes is akin to watching Steve Irwin feed a croc while holding his baby...

Of course, each personal situation depends on each person's personal situation... I don't think that there is gonna be an answer or solution... merely how you and yours adapt and cope (I know of a few couples who, even without a child, find it hard to balance the bike thingy).

Or in the words of that great comedic actor of the 80's, don't have a baby... the baby has you

Be the bike.
re: Bikes & Babies: Balancing Actpurduem
Jan 16, 2004 4:16 PM
Thanks for the advice. My wife is very kewl and always pushes me to stay fit. If I keep my job maybe I'll ride to/from work. Only 2 miles, but I can take the long way (right, honey?). If I quit and become Mr. Mom, she'll just have to buy me a $700 Tacx computer sim. trainer. ;-)
try baby bjorn. I do it all the time.curtybirdychopper
Jan 16, 2004 4:18 PM
j/k. But I do like to joke with my wife how I'll be able to do all the normal things with baby in tow, like change the oil in the car, go to the gym, play hoops with the guys....

My wife is preggo now too, so I've been thinking how to get creative about my workout time. I think we just need to take turns; let her have her time doing other stuff, and me my time doing stuff. that and get up at 2am to start the 5 hr saturday morning ride.
Breath in, breathe out....cydswipe
Jan 16, 2004 4:20 PM
Your cycling life might take a break. Like Akirasho said, it depends on your situation etc. I've got a 3yr old and a 5 month old at home. It's worth the trade. You might be able to squeeze in a few miles here and there. Most importantly, BE THERE FOR YOUR WIFE! Especially if it's your first child. Neither one of you have been down the path before, so go together. Cycling will always be waiting. You family needs attention right away. You deserve to have a great family. Congrats on the pregnancy!
Right. You're not a cyclist anymore, you're a parent.Cory
Jan 16, 2004 4:42 PM
You have NO IDEA how your life is going to change in the next couple of years. At least it should--if it doesn't, if cycling remains the most important thing in your life, you probaby have no business having a baby to begin with.
It will probably dawn on you as it has to most of us soon after the baby's born: This is what I am now, and nothing else matters as much. I wish there were some way to convey it to people BEFORE they have kids, and there would be a lot fewer problems in the world.
FWIW, I'm looking at this from near the exit (kids are 23 and 18), and I can say honestly that nothing in my life has been as hard or as rewarding as being a father.
?????? Sorry But....the bull
Jan 16, 2004 4:52 PM
You will always be a cyclist!
Now you are a father too!
Life changes no matter what!

I just keep on riding!
Be the bike, feel the bike!
You Can Do ItDropped
Jan 16, 2004 4:27 PM
I don't think 100 milers are probably something you're going to have time for on a regular basis. Still, I'm a firm believer that having children doesn't mean you stopped being a person.

I have a 2.5 year old and 6 month old. I get most of my riding in by commuting to and from work. I then will sneak in a 90 minute ride during naptime on the weekend. That is really all I have time for right now. Of course, I also sail a lot and brew beer, so I have plenty of hobbies that take up my free time. My wife understands cycling because she is a runner and needs to get her runs in too.

If I do want to get in a 3 hour ride on the weekend, as long as I give the family plenty of advance notice, it's no big deal.
It is OK!the bull
Jan 16, 2004 4:45 PM
I was in your shoes about 1 year ago.
It is okay, dont worry!
You will still be able to ride your bike!
Just get ready to give up everything else in your life!
I an a devoted rodie, I will ride tomarrow at 10 am till after lunch! I still ride more than 4 times a week! I got a kiddie trailer! You should get one to(sorry)!
re: Bikes & Babies: Balancing Actpurduem
Jan 16, 2004 4:48 PM
Thanks again to all. I think a trip for the 3 of us to 2005 Giro might be in order. To watch, not ride. Wife loves pasta and chianti. I guess if Simoni can do it with a new baby, so can I. He won the Giro in 2003, of course, so we'll see how he does in '04.
re: Bikes & Babies: Balancing Actamper
Jan 16, 2004 5:22 PM
You are a father now everything will come second to your children. Set up a schedule with your wife and pencil in the amount you need to ride and really stick to it. My son is 2 years and 7 months and for me the first two years were the toughest. I have a huge passion about cycling, but it's only mileage. Make you time on the bike more efficient. Ride rollers at night. Rides became much more meaning full after I took a short break from cycling. Time goes by so fast you will have plenty of time for cycling in the future and maybe you will acquire the best ridding partner you can imagine. Soon you will be both dueling to see who gets to the top of the hill faster. Being a dad is the most rewarding thing, beats the hell out a four-hour century. Good luck
You Will Become Very Efficient With Your Time...Gregory Taylor
Jan 16, 2004 6:12 PM
...if you want to get in a decent ride.

When my kid was in diapers, I used to get up early and ride at 6 am. I had a 30 minute route that I made into a very aerobic workout. Not optimal, and it won't get you in the Tour, but it worked well enough.

That has turned into commuting into work via bike 5 days a week year 'round. Again, it is a matter of efficiency. I figured out that it takes the same time to ride to work as it does driving the car or taking the subway, so I get in a 30 mile workout five days a week. On the weekends, watching the kid's soccer or swimming or just spending time with the family is a priority, but unless something special comes up an early (7:30 am) Sunday ride with the guys is almost always in the cards.

Cory is right: unless riding a bike puts food on the table, it should come second to the basic task of providing a good home (in the fullest sense of the term) for the kid(s). And, frankly, you will love being with your kid, so the sense that you are being asked to sacrifice something eventually fades when you realize that you are exchanging a little riding time for the privilege of being there to watch them grow up. Okay, I sacrificed during the diaper part. That really sucked.

Enjoy it! You will have plenty of time to ride.
You've got to adapt. You'll do fine.KG 361
Jan 16, 2004 7:13 PM
Like others have said, be creative. Also, give your wife a break. That hour or so that you stay and baby-sit will reap rewards down the line. Also, what's wrong with a kiddie trailer? Some of the best times that I have spent with my girls have been with them on the back of my bike. They're 9 and 11 now, and believe it or not, they still remember some rides when they were real little.
With a new baby you'll NEED cycling as therapy... (nm)RemmingtonShowdown
Jan 16, 2004 8:45 PM
shorter ridesDanoK
Jan 16, 2004 10:56 PM
I just had my first baby last year. Your cycling will change, no doubt. But for me, marriage had already changed my cycling substantially. When I was single, I could wait until the part of the day with the best riding weather and then head out for 4-5 hours whenever I wanted. Marriage changed that to limiting my rides to 2 hours max and usually heading out early in the morning so that my wife and I still had the whole day to do what we needed to do. When the baby came along (a fine little boy), I couldn't necessarily head out early in the morning because it seems the morning is the main time of the day when I can give my wife a break from the baby. He keeps my wife up several times per night for feeding. In the morning, he is quite content to spend time with me and my wife can sleep in to make up for the lack of sleep during the night. However, I still get 2-hour rides in later in the day simply because my wife
a) appreciates that I've given her a break and let her sleep by staying in and
b) knows how much I like to ride and need to ride as relief from a very stressful job.
Its all a matter of adaption and accepting that when a baby comes, there is a new priority around the house....but its a change you won't really mind.

P.S. I just ordered a trailer, too.
What I Did.macalu
Jan 17, 2004 5:01 AM
I've gone through it too. Big cliche: Your life will change. It's true. The long weekend rides were over for awhile. Years later, they are coming back with the kids school-age now. What to do in the meantime? I took up bike commuting. First three, then five days a week. About a 25-30 mile round trip, one year it was 35 miles round trip. It gives you all the work out you need and plenty of base miles. I use a road bike with a back pack. You really don't need a commuter bike, just safe bike parking and a place to change, hopefully to shower as well. Its the answer. I'm 49 now, been bike commuting for 8 years. The old guys I ride with on Sundays all do it. The guys who don't, by the time they hit 50, are off the back. Good luck with the baby and the biking.
May have to reorganize priorities but...biknben
Jan 17, 2004 7:41 AM
As I got older, married, and reached fatherhood I've had to reorganize my priorities and drop some activities. I no longer play corporate softball, competative Volleyball, or soccer. That being said I ride now, with two kids, more than I ever did before. Those other sports always required other people and schedules. That can be a problem with family life and children. Riding can be done solo at any time you want. It shouldn't be difficult to grab some time and get away. You might have issues getting away for hundred milers but if planned right you can still satisfy the riding fix.
re: Bikes & Babies: Balancing Actgtx
Jan 17, 2004 7:43 AM
Don't set any expectations riding-wise, for the first year. Consider any riding you do in the first year a nice bonus. Also, buy and read this book now:
how to ride with a newborn:cyclingforwealth
Jan 17, 2004 2:17 PM
Are your in-laws within driving distance, say a couple of hours away? How about one of your wife's great friends? Drive there every weekend. When you are 100 miles away from their house, stop the car, get on your bike, and meet your family there. You're a hero for agreeing to visit these people that you normally wouldn't want to see every week and you get your ride in.
If mom is understanding.......TNRyder
Jan 17, 2004 8:27 PM
I actually went out riding on the day that my two youngest kids came home from the hospital. Mom is taking a nap, kids are taking a nap, and dad is hopping on the bike for a quick spin.

There are going to be opportunities for you to ride that will have an overwhelming impact on the time that you spend with your wife and baby. As so many people have said, be creative and adapt. Your rides will get shorter, but you are gaining so much. Have fun being a dad!
I'm with TNRyderthisendup
Jan 17, 2004 10:49 PM
You've got to take it when you can get it. I have a 6 y.o., a 3 y.o. and an 11 wk old so I'm well versed at it. I definitely get less sleep than I did when I was younger too- that's just part of the deal. Not that I get up; and ride early but mostly letting mom sleep in while I watch the kiddies as a trade off for getting a ride later. I'm constantly making deals with my wife so that she can get a break too(she's a stay at home mom).

Congratulations and good luck!
Not over, but changing.djg
Jan 18, 2004 11:23 AM
I won't say that which you don't want me to say because your baby shouldn't really go in a trailer right away (maybe not for a year--check with the pediatrician).

Kids can be incredibly rewarding (the biology really does work generally--you end up loving them) but anybody who says that they're a breeze is lying. Once you've settled into things, there should absolutely be time for some regular riding but, yeah, especially for the first year or so, your schedule will change. Rollers in the garage to squeeze in a quick spin here and there help; and commuting--if feasilbe--is a very good way to build some regular riding into your work day. Be flexible, and be prepared to compromise, and you'll manage to ride. And be patient. Sometimes giving up a couple of months seems like a big deal--those times are typically before the fact and not after.