Roll Models: Joanna Goddard, Biking Mama-to-Be

Our latest Roll Model is Joanna Goddard, Manhattan blogger extraordinaire. Not only does she maintain her own personal site, Cup of Jo, she also blogs (and writes) for Glamour magazine. Joanna and her husband Alex are expecting their first child–a boy–any day now, and she has continued riding her vintage 3-speed throughout her pregnancy. Read on to learn what plans she has for cycling after baby and what the best thing is about riding a bike.

Joanna on her bike, 33.5 weeks pregnant

Tell us about your cycling history — when did you start? What do you ride? What drew you to cycling?

My family has always been really into bikes. My dad, sister and I biked all the time, and we always took bikes on vacations. I had a blue bike with a banana seat. When I moved to New York City nine years ago, I got a bike, and I LOVE riding here! It makes the big city feel much smaller, and it’s great to feel the wind in my face. So refreshing and invigorating. (Read a story Joanna wrote about her first bike here.)

As a blogger who mostly works from home (I assume), how does cycling fit into your lifestyle?

Yes, I work from home. I’m actually claustrophobic so instead of taking the subway, I ride everywhere, pretty much year round (except for those insanely cold days). I ride to appointments, dinners, parties, errands, etc. (I recently rode to a big meeting in a pencil dress and super high heels, which was a bit of a feat!) My husband and I also take evening rides by the water, and we often take long weekend rides from our West Village apartment up to the lighthouse at the George Washington Bridge. It’s funny because in New York, you see everything on the bike path–teenagers on unicycles, dudes on Penny Farthings, we even recently saw a group of nuns rollerblading in their full habits!

You’ve kept riding throughout your pregnancy. What reactions have you gotten from family/friends/strangers? Have you made plans for riding after baby?

My trusty bike has saved my life during my pregnancy! Walking (i.e., waddling) has been uncomfortable during my seventh and eighth months, but biking feels amazing, since I can sit up straight and feel free and strong. Strangers are incredibly sweet, actually. Bike messengers and guys on the street will often yell out, “Hey, mama!” or “Congratulations!” as I ride by, or they’ll tell other bikers, “Be careful, she’s pregnant!” It’s really sweet — it’s like the pregnancy version of catcalling. :) After the baby arrives, we can take him on the bike with us once he’s a year old and strong enough to sit up in the bike seat. I’m excited to take him on his first ride. We already bought a bike seat in anticipation. :)

What tips would you give other moms-to-be about cycling while pregnant?

Do it! Ask your doctor first, of course, but mine encourages it. Biking feels easier than walking when pregnant, I think, and it’s wonderful, gentle, low-impact exercise. Just remember to wear a helmet, of course, and ride carefully.

How does your style conflict with or contribute to your cycling? Do you have any guidelines you apply to yourself when dressing to go somewhere on your bike?

I pretty much dress like a ten-year-old boy (jeans, sneakers and T-shirts), so my style fits pretty well with biking. But if I’m going to dinner in a dress or skirt, that works, too. The only big fashion guideline: Wear a helmet! I love this one from Bern, and I put reflective tape on it.

Joanna's Bern "Watts" helmet

What’s the best thing about riding a bike?

Those magical moments that you can’t plan, like right after a rain storm when the sun comes out and you’re biking by the water, and the air is perfect and beautiful and the water is sparkling and you’re just flying along.

Thanks, Joanna! For more of Joanna’s beautiful pictures and inspiring posts, visit A Cup of Jo.

  • joanna goddard

    thank you so much for including me! :)

  • eva

    what a sweet interview. I admire her can-do attitude about riding while pregnant. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tee

    what a sweet interview. I admire her can-do attitude about riding while pregnant. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dave

    Fantastic post – go Joanna!

    Some inspiration from across the water:

    I love that a bicycle can give freedom of movement to so many people who find it difficult otherwise because of physical limitations (even if they’re temporary).


    • dukiebiddle

      Dutch doctors insist on talking on the phone while riding? But we don’t have the infrastructure for that!


      • Dave


      • Frits B

        They also strongly advise against wearing a helmet, for fear that the baby might be born with one: “met de helm geboren” = born with a caul :-).

  • Lorenza

    Another wonderful inspiring example ;) I have few years to go before I want and can afford to become a parent, but when I’ll do I will definitely be a cycling mum-to-be :D xoxo

  • neighbourtease

    This really makes me wish I had cycled through my pregnancy but old bike was so aggro there is NO way. Next time for sure. You look beautiful, Joanna.

  • Dottie

    This profile is so fabulous! Joanna is a shining example of how bicycling can work so simply and happily into one’s life, no matter the circumstances.

    I really love to hear that the reactions she gets from riding are positive. The stories about the gentlemanly bike messengers and pregnancy catcalls are heartwarming :)

    Also, love Cup of Jo!

  • Lady Vélo

    Very inspiring indeed – thank you for sharing this!

  • Kristin Tieche

    Roll Model! I love it!

  • Kate

    I love this post and I love Cup of Jo! Although I’m nowhere near close to having a baby, it’s nice to know I’ll be able to keep cruising around when I do. I’m glad to know I’m not the only girl who’s experienced the pencil-skirt wearing while riding predicament!

  • Laurie H

    nice profile! very encouraging!

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  • What Would a Nerd Wear

    i LOVE this! joanna is too cute (and who doesn’t love her blog, seriously?) and i love her story about pregnancy catcalls.

  • Steven Vance

    Here’s a warning to potential Bern helmet buyers. Make sure you get a Bern model with EPS foam or Zipmold foam. The “hard hat” versions do not meet safety standards and are no better than wearing a hat.

    Chicagoans can visit Copenhagen Cyclery on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park to get fitted and buy a Bern helmet. They’re an authorized dealer.

  • Mari Lynch

    I couldn’t agree more with Joanna’s comments about how great it is to bike while very pregnant, feeling free and strong. And I attributed my easy labor with my firstborn to bicycling through my pregnancy, including the ninth month!

  • Miss Sarah

    I always joke that it was riding my bike over this one digustingly potholed street that broke my water and sent me into labour. While I was riding I said, “Haha, maybe all these bumps will make my baby come early!”

    12 hours later. Water. Breaking.

    And Dexter. 2 weeks early!

  • Jano

    Bicycle helmets don’t really work anyway… so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

  • mercedes.

    um, no. unless they’re worn incorrectly, a helmet absolutely works. and it works well.

  • Nick

    Look here:

    I cracked the helmet in the post, and I’ve broken others as well. What makes you think they don’t work? Now, I’m not sure that helmet laws reduce head and neck injuries, and wearing one might lead you to take more risks… but as to actually working? Yes, they do work.