How I managed to carry on cycling when I became a mum

All parents know and love(!) the joy of getting their child around and about. From those nervous early trips to the doctors, via the shops, playgroups and swimming pool to the nursery/school run, it’s a daily ritual that we all go through.  What about trying to do all this without a car?  Keen cyclist and mum-to-be Dawn decided she would invest in a stroller bike and carry on cycling as much as possible once her baby was born. 

4 years later her son has just started school, and she shares with us how she’s coped doing the majority of her daily trips by bike (including getting up a very steep hill!)

How I managed to carry on cycling when I became a mum

“About 4 and a half years ago, I invested in a Zigo Leader stroller bicycle. I was expecting my first child and as a keen cyclist who hasn’t driven (by choice!) in over 20 years, I needed a way to get him around from A to B.
Zigo Leader
I can honestly say it was the best investment I have ever made! At six weeks old my bundle of joy experienced his first ride in the Zigo in a specially adapted seat which is suitable for new-borns. It was a slow ride as I agonised over every lump and bump on the road and whether it was hurting him.

Baby in bike trailer

Fast forward six months and I became a little bit more relaxed about the bumps in the road and we were flying!

How to carry on cycling when your baby arrives

The Zigo soon became an absolute godsend, as he wasn’t always a fan of being in a pushchair but always seemed to love the bike, often falling asleep in it, or was just happy to take in the sights. We used it to go to the park, the swimming pool, to nursery and sometimes shopping. On an average week I was easily using it 5-6 days a week. It was essentially being used like a family car – I was able to carry on cycling, and transport my baby – result!

How to carry on cycling with a baby

At 18 months he started using a balance bike and we’d do the nursery run twice a week, with him on his Zooom balance bike and me following behind on the Zigo with his bag/coat etc.

Zooom balance bike

If he got tired on the way back then he could get inside the Zigo and I would stick the balance bike on top.

How to carry on cycling when your child is little
Fast forward to him being three and a half years old, and he was ready to start riding his own pedal bike. We purchased a lovely Frog Bike for him and for a while, as he got used to riding it to and from pre-school, I had to ditch the Zigo and walk/run alongside him. Although he’d mastered riding and stopping, he’d not quite got the hang of pushing off to start!

Learning to ride a Frog Bike

Luckily this only lasted a few weeks (thankfully, as I’m not a huge fan of walking), and so we fell back into our nursery routine similar to before. Him cycling on his Frog Bike and me following behind with the Zigo loaded up with bags etc.  Sometimes he’d get tired and so he’d jump in the Zigo and I’d stick the Frog bike on the top.  However, as it was a much bigger bike than his Zooom it was definitely a fine balancing act!  

Luckily our home to nursery route was all on segregated cycle paths so it always felt safe, whereas I’d probably not cycle on the roads balancing the Frog bike on top.

Doing the school run by bike

A few months ago, having just turned 4, my son started school. There was never any question about how we would be getting to school each day – it was always going to involve 2 wheels.  We just had to work out a few little logistical issues due to the small matter of a steep hill on our school run!

We worked out that door to door it was a 1.5 mile journey each way. And luckily for us the first mile is pretty much all on segregated cycle paths. However the last half mile goes up a steep hill and is just too much for his little legs (at the moment) to manage – it’s even quite difficult for him to actually push the bike up, such is the gradient.

So my husband and I had many a discussion about the best way to get up this short but sharp hill! I wasn’t happy balancing his bike on top of the Zigo as this part of the route was on a busy road, plus the wheels of his pedal bike often pick up mud, dead worms and leaves etc and then it gets all on the Zigo, plus me when I am lifting it on.

Cycling to school
So my husband came up with a clever design to add to the front of the bike and had a friend with all the tools (!) to put it together. And ‘ta da’ – my son’s bike now fits snugly on front of the Zigo and we now have the perfect solution to allow us to carry on cycling the school run, albeit one that’s quite hard work for me!

How to carry on cycling when you become a parent

So most mornings we cycle the first mile, my son on his Frog bike and me following behind on the Zigo. We then stop at the bottom of the hill, stick the bike onto our new contraption. I then huff and puff up the hill with my son and his bike. At the top I get him out and he cycles the remainder of the journey to school, unless he’s tired, it’s raining or he’s simply not in the mood such is the changeable nature of 4 year old’s temperament!

What next for our Zigo Leader?

I’m conscious that the weight limit on the Zigo is 5 stone, so I’m not going to be able to use it forever with my son. Plus hopefully it won’t be long until he can get up that hill on his own.

Whether I’ll sell the Zigo or not after he’s outgrown it is yet to be decided though. I tend to use it as a run-around bike as well (minus my son) as it’s so useful for running errands as you can just jump on it and throw in bags, shopping etc. So when he is finally too big for it, I may just keep it for myself!”

A massive thanks to Dawn for sharing with us the logistics how she managed to carry on cycling when her son was born.

It would be great to hear how you’ve managed to carry on cycling when your baby came (or if you haven’t) Do share your experiences over on the Cycle Sprog Facebook page.

Four years ago Dawn kindly wrote a review of the Zigo Leader for us, if you’d like to know more about the bike itself.  She’s also written about how she cycled during pregnancy if you’ve not had your baby yet.

When Dawn isn’t riding her Zigo Leader, she runs Revive Sports Massage in Warwick.  You can follow her on Twitter at @revivewarwick

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