This is Part Four in a series by Natalie Good on her journey back to cycling after pregnancy.
I pulled my two girls in the Burley D’Lite X trailer on Day 1 of the Ochoco Overlander. At ages 4 and 1.5 they are getting heavier every day, currently weighing in at a combined 68 lbs! It might be true that if you ride regularly with your children as they grow that you will gain the muscles needed to pull 68 lbs plus trailer (30 lbs) and gear up an 8%+ grade, but I have been cross training and did not have the power today. But even though my girls and I did not complete the full 70 mi, 5,300ft Overlander Day 1 adventure, we had an amazing ride and mom earned a lot of trophies!
Biking while pulling kids, you learn to celebrate different types of success, different trophies. It’s hard to not think about success and trophies when you are working so hard to just maintain a 10mph pace. The ride is not about distance. It is not about speed. It is not about keeping up with un-tethered cyclists.
The first thing my crew and I needed to know was the steepest grade mom could manage without falling off the bike. For me, on this day, that was 8%. Doing an out and back I had to figure out that number quickly so I did not go down hills that would be too steep to climb back up. But climbing an 8% grade, sustained over 100+ yards while pulling roughly 100 lb – that’s a trophy.
The next thing we needed to master was child comfort. My girls are not babies anymore. They are active participants in the ride. They need water, snacks, toys, etc. They don’t always enjoy the scenery and the peace and quiet as much as I do, especially when I am climbing a hill at a 4mph pace. Sometimes we sing, sometimes they cheer me on, sometimes they just scream and fuss. Sometimes we stop for a minute and take a photo – that’s a trophy.
When you’ve been riding for 45 minutes and notice that you have only gone 4 miles it can be discouraging, but then you notice calories burned – 442 calories in 45 minutes! – that’s a trophy.
Gravel Cycling! I cannot say enough about gravel cycling, especially with kids. We are so lucky to live in Prineville, OR where we have gorgeous gravel roads in spades! Wide, open roads with no cars. It’s quiet, the air is fresh. If pulling 100 lbs on your bike does not sound relaxing, you haven’t tried Central Oregon gravel. Just being out here and bringing the kids – that’s a trophy.
The Ochoco Overlander 2021 was a huge success for all. It was challenging, it was peaceful, it was beautiful, it was fun. And while I did not ride the full route with my girls, I came home with many trophies that I hope to get out there and earn again soon!