Q: "I am getting back into triathlons after a 10 year hiatus and two kids, now 4 years and 15 months old. I am fairly strong in swimming and running, but I am weak on biking. I am looking for other moms who might train on the bike with their kids and I'm also looking into buying a used bike and trailer. Do you know of any moms who might do this? I work full time so I am looking for bike partners on the weekend." - Julie S., Baltimore City.
A: I was in your shoes not so long ago. Having taken a break from triathlon after the arrival of three children in five years, my double jogging stroller and bike trailer, which I used to tow the little ones behind my bike anywhere and everywhere - from around the neighborhood to the 20-mile BWI trail - were two of my most treasured pieces of baby gear. As a mom of young children, you get things done any way you can, and when it comes to exercise, creativity counts!
But you are not alone in your quest to find other parents with similar interests. Check out the website fit4mom.com which claims to be "the largest fitness program for every stage of motherhood." With more than 1,300 locations nationwide, Fit4mom offers moms an opportunity to get in shape and meet other moms while having fun with their baby. The organization currently offers four different classes: Fit4baby, Stroller Strides, Stroller Barre, and Body Back, and includes six chapters located in the Baltimore area, one in Baltimore City and one in Howard County. In addition, many moms club, such as Moms Offering Moms Support, are comprised of women who meet regularly to walk or run with children in strollers. Check out their website, momsclub.org, to search for chapters in your area.
Though most of these organizations focus on walking or running with strollers, they may serve at a starting point from which you can meet other women with similar goals and interests and who may also welcome the idea of cycling with children in tow. Consider contacting local triathlon clubs, such as the Baltimore Area Triathlon Club, the Tri Harder Triathlon Club of Baltimore, or the Mid-Maryland Triathlon Club, or visiting your local cycling shop to connect with potential training partners.
Race Pace Bicycles recommends the Baltimore Family Bike Party, which organizes fun community bike rides for area kids and families, as another resource for locating fellow athletes with similar interests.
As for locating a used bike and trailer, check out local bike shops, eBay, Craigslist and Play It Again Sports for good deals on used bikes and trailers. Consignment shops and community yard sales can serve as a treasure trove of used bikes and trailers, and the Carroll County Agriculture Center is home to Stop, Swap and Save, the mid-Atlantic's largest indoor bicycle swap.
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