I recently treated myself to a new bike. I figured turning 40 and being pregnant for the first time were reasons enough. It's a lovely, gold, step-through Bridgestone, with the addition of a long stem, upright enough for me to bike around happily pregnant at seven months. I hope to ride to the very end, and who knows, maybe I'll even ride to the hospital—it's been done before.
I feel the very best when I'm riding. Sure, I'm not as fast as I used to be, but I add on some extra minutes to get places, and off I go. I estimate that by the time this baby is born, I'll have pedaled around 1,500 miles. I can't think of a better way to spend my pregnancy while this child grows inside me. I think of all that good oxygen that he's getting and the comfort he feels in the sweet pedaling motion. And for me, bicycling is symbolic of so many wonderful things that I love about being alive: good health, clean environment, strong community, simplicity and just plain fun—all things that I want my child to experience throughout his entire life.
I truly believe that riding my bike every day makes me a better person, and I bet it will help me be a good mother as well. Spending time on my bike has given me patience, strength, self-awareness and love of the simple way of doing things. It is absolutely my favorite way to get around; it allows me to see my world up close and to get to know my neighbors.
I often wonder at the world that I am bringing my child into, and when I'm on my bike, the world actually looks pretty good. People smile, wave and stop to talk, I use my very own power to get myself places and I am immersed in the changing seasons. Over these last few months, perched high on my new bicycle seat, I find myself reveling in the life unfolding around me and inside me. It is certainly a joy to be pedaling for two.
Sarah Hadler is a Safe Routes to School assistant in Sebastopol for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.