How do I get from A to Z? It’s a constant question, especially when living in a large metropolitan area with loads of public transit and you don’t own a car. BP, that’s before pregnant, the weather tended to dictate how I got around town. Being a cyclist means having different concerns. Traffic congestion isn’t one of them, I know I’m never going on the highway. It was usually a thought of, do I want to take the lakefront trail or has it filled up with too many pedestrians at this point. I preferred not to ride in rain, but could and would, just altering routes for increased safety. Winter in Chicago always challenged my convictions, but I tried my best to be on my bike if there was no snow and I had clean warm gear; failing that it was public transit all the way.
Being pregnant has affected my lifestyle (and I know having a child will even further) in so many ways, but to start with… I can’t ride my super shiny silver Ghost of a road bike! I’m not afraid to ride it… I just can’t throw my leg over the top tube or bend over like that anymore! I also have this beautiful classic girl’s Schwinn Suburban, I *thought* I’d be able to ride it but unfortunately it’s over the weight limit of what I can carry so I can’t take it in and out of the house.
I needed a new (at least to me) bike solution and fast.
Fortunately, my husband acquired an old mixte-esque frame from a friend ages back. He never got around to doing anything with it but he thought “well, maybe I’ll put it together for my wife.” (I was still able to ride Ghost at this point, barely.) At about the same time, a friend sent me a link to something Bicycling Magazine calls “Biketown”. They pick a few cities every year and, over the summer, give free bikes away to essayists who can show how having a new bike will change and improve their life. Well, heck, how could I not try for that. I write, I bike, my life is changing one way or another – why not make it for the better. A new commuter style bike is exactly what I need in my prego-state; to ride for the remainder of my pregnancy, but also to attach the trailer to once our little Bot is big enough. So I wrote a little essay and forgot about it.
A week later, Bob909 got around to building the bike for me. A pretty good bike for being a total Frankenstein’s creature. I bought a nice sturdy basket for it – the less I have to carry on my back, the better – and I was back on the road riding everywhere and thrilled to be doing it.
Then I had a really bad morning. I found that for the first time in about 4 years, I overdrew my bank account. I was grumpy, stressed and had woke up at a ridiculous hour thanks to baby rumblings in my belly. Just as I was about to say “Forget this back to bed” I got an email telling me I won a bike. Holy cow, was I surprised. (The day miraculously managed to improve further but that’s not relevant here and now.) I showed up at a special little event to pick up my new ride. It’s a smooth riding Jamis Citizen in a light frosty purple. I can’t say enough how much I love Jamis Bikes. What a great company to be doing this for people!
We’re now overloaded with bikes! Between my husband’s two (and he has a third in pieces he hasn’t put back together yet) and now my four, the apartment is getting pretty packed. We’re going to sell the one he built for me, might as well right. but that still leaves us with five bikes between two people (I can’t wait until the little one can ride and we have to add another one). It’s a good thing we’ve got a decent sized basement and a great, understanding landlord.