HMC Clubhouse: Nikki Brammeier on the Motherload
In the first of our HMC Clubhouse series we shared a virtual brew with cyclocross champion and former Olympian Nikki Brammeier to talk about navigating the motherload, and how she has adapted her training to balance bikes and babies.
Thanks for chatting with us, Nikki. First, what’s the biggest challenge when it comes to balancing motherhood and cycling?
Making time to recover. It’s hard to try and find that balance you need to ensure you have enough time for the baby, your cycling and yourself. The best thing I would say is just be kind to yourself, and if you do find you just don’t have the energy or time to get out on a particular day then remember there is always tomorrow, be kind to yourself.
What piece of advice would you give to your pre-pregnant self to prepare for life as a Mum (and cyclist)?
Definitely take the time to recover after birth, don’t rush getting back to riding and remember to try to make time for yourself when you can. Accept help off others and accept that you might not have the structure you had pre-baby for a while, but it does get easier.
What top tip would you give to mothers to encourage them to keep riding and not feel guilty about taking time for themselves?
Sometimes just 30 minutes to an hour can be all you need to feel like you’re doing something for yourself. That space can give you a sense of freedom and your happiness - wellbeing is just as important as your babies. Happy mum, happy baby!
Which taboos do you feel still need breaking down for women in cycling, and do you feel progress is being made by advocates such as you who have a voice in the industry?
I think women are finally showing it’s possible to take a break from the sport to have a baby and then return. Having a child shouldn’t be seen as something negative, it is one of the most wonderful experiences you will ever have. It doesn’t mean you need to change who you are, you are stronger than you might think.
What pieces of female specific kit have been worth the investment?
I didn’t really need to change much of my position on the bike other than put my handlebars up and point my saddle nose down slightly to remove some of the pressure later in pregnancy. It’s very much dependent upon individual needs and you should do whatever you feel is comfortable is right for your own body. The only thing I did invest in was a support band for my stomach as I ran throughout my pregnancy, and found this super helpful to give me some extra support.
Name the one ride or location you would love to share with your daughter in the future?
I love Girona, I lived there for a huge chunk of my career, there are plenty of rides I would love to share with her.
When you’re time poor what are the top training tips you would give to maximise training?
One thing that always helped was getting dressed in cycling or running kit as soon as I woke, this meant as soon as Ida had gone down for a nap I could get out quickly. I would also say having a turbo set up to jump on is a great idea.
Name the one race you look forward to spectating most in the season.
I haven’t had that chance yet, but as soon as we are allowed to spectate again we will be over to Belgium in a flash to watch some of the cx and see some old friends.
What’s the best mother’s day gift for a cycling Mum?
I think the best thing is just to be pampered and cared for, we spend so much time caring for everyone else that simple things like having breakfast made, flowers, a nice meal, and a fun planned bike ride or walk would be all that’s need to make that day special.
You can read more from Nikki on her brilliantly candid and informative Instagram posts, and on her blog at Mudiiita.com. Nikki offers bespoke coaching services and training plans for athletes of all ages, so if you want to improve your riding make sure to check her out.
Shop the Story:
Nikki was the inspiration for our Cyclocross print, part of the Queens of Everything collection. The print began life as a custom commission for Nikki, for her to give as a thank you to her friends and helpers as she celebrated the end of her racing career.
With her permission, we're able to offer our customers a version of this unique print, alongside a series of other artworks celebrating iconic female riders.
You can view the Queens of Everything collection here.