For any new mothers that used to be avid riders, there will inevitably come a point in time after giving birth where you’ll make the decision to jump back on the saddle. Some have been ready to get back on as soon as a week postpartum, and yet for others it can take weeks, even months before feeling ready.
One benefit of cycling is that it’s low impact. If you had a relatively normal and problem-free delivery, you can try it out, starting with shorter rides, building your tolerance up over time as you get more and more comfortable again in the saddle.
But, when is the right time to get back on the bike? Of course, it really depends: On your delivery. Your energy levels. And of course, your keenness. Like most things as a new mother, there isn’t a one-size fits all answer.
Since everyone’s recovery from childbirth is different, it makes it nearly impossible to give a definitive time frame. You often hear that most new mothers wait six weeks before jumping on the bike. That’s because most wait until their six week check-in appointment with the doctor to get the go-ahead to start riding again.
We decided to reach out to one of our favourite cyclists and new-mama, Crissy Vitez, to share her journey of getting back out riding. Crissy is nothing short of a social media cycling sensation, posting envious selfies of herself out riding in colourful kits, and also documenting snippets of her journey as a single parent to her 6-month-old daughter, Starlight-Silvia (nickname, Starri).
We hope her story can serve as a reminder to be kind, listen to your body, and go at your own pace in your journey to getting back on the saddle.
How did you get into cycling?
My love affair with bikes started when I began competing in MTB Enduro races, then turned Roady!
Now you're also a new mama! Were there any complications during birth that affected your recovery?
Starri’s birth was actually pretty straightforward, a quick and beautiful experience! However, afterward things went a bit pear-shaped and both Starri and I ended up in the ICU. I had a reaction to some medication and my throat swelled to the point I couldn’t breathe! This kept happening so I ended up staying in the ICU. The worst part was not being able to see Starri apart from very short visits. I had some quite bad tearing too which I think a lot of vaginal birth moms can relate to. Needless to say, getting back on the bike was not as smooth as I thought!
What have you noticed has changed the most in your body, postpartum?
My back felt like a noodle, like I had no core left! Mentally, I was itching to get back in the saddle but physically my body was weak and I was just so much more exhausted than I expected.
How did it feel when you finally got back on the bicycle?
I was excited but felt frustrated as my body didn’t move like it used to. Even my reactions were slower. I ended up focusing on giving myself a break and just enjoying a beautiful ride at a slower pace.
I kept my rides fun, slow and steady and gradually built up the distance.
Any tips/thoughts you’d offer to other new moms looking to get back into cycling?
Get working on your core as much as you can! I did a lot of functional fit training while I couldn’t sit on a saddle and let myself heal down there! Then, slow and steady is key to gain that endurance back. Don’t push too hard, your body needs to fully recover, so make it fun, start with some chill cruising social rides, or pair up one-on-one with a buddy.