Mums' Corner

Cycling While Pregnant: Safety Guidelines

Susie Mitchell shares her top tips on how to stay safe cycling while pregnant, after winning the UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championships just after giving birth.

Cycling while pregnant is a great form of exercise but you must make sure your riding safely at all times.

Susie Mitchell won the UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championships back in 2013, just four months after giving birth to her daughter. Deciding whether to train during her pregnancy was not easy due to a lack of concrete evidence about the effects. After much research, Mitchell and her coach devised the following guidelines which she followed religiously throughout her pregnancy to ensure the safety of both herself and the baby.

  • Cycle in your comfort zone. But be mindful that this can change week by week as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Keep an eye out for the weather. If there’s the slightest hint of frost do not ride at all.
  • Watch out for uneven surfaces. Avoid cycling anywhere where there is risk of collision with trees or rocks.
  • No more group rides. There are too many variables and you can’t put your safety into other people’s hands. You also can’t control the pace of the ride to suit you in a big group.
  • No rides on your own either. You need someone with you and their job is to look after you. When cycling as a pair you are more of an obstacle and safer from traffic. The rider must match your pace, whatever that is on the day. Your buddy can cycle behind you when you single out to allow cars to pass or if the road narrows, staying outside and a few feet behind your wheel therefore forcing any overtaking cars to take a wide berth.
  • Keep up on nutrition. More than ever you need to have a sufficient drink to stay hydrated and food for energy. You should snack frequently as you will need extra calories and also it will prevent low blood sugar and lapses in concentration, keeping you mentally switched on and safe.
  • Only cycle on quiet roads without heavy traffic. It’s better to drive out a few miles to the quieter roads and cycle from there if necessary.
  • Slow is good. Don’t worry if you feel you’re going at your normal pace, remember being pregnant is like training at altitude so you will reap benefits even from these easy paced spins.
Susie down at the racing track with baby Tori, just months old.
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