Bump, Bike & Baby - Mummy's Gone Adventure Racing

Book Review - Moire O’Sullivan’s new book on balancing motherhood & her sporting life

By Louise Williams

When Moire O’Sullivan got pregnant, the first thing she asked the doctor was how much she could train over the next nine months. As a highly competitive amateur athlete, she wanted to go straight back to winning medals once she had given birth. The doctor’s advice to do some gentle walking and swimming didn’t satisfy Moire.

She invested instead in a road bike called Bike who becomes one of the main characters in this satisfying book about motherhood, identity and competitive sport. And the joy of going for a spin; “Riding Bike is sheer heaven,” Moire writes. “I had forgotten how fast you can go, how the wind whips your hair and catches your breath, how the rhythm of the pedals soothes away all your cares.”

Bike accompanies Moire around Ireland and to Cambodia for a stint with her husband Pete’s work. He (Bike always has the male pronoun) also blocks the doors of the house, causing fights about whether he should be kept outdoors, and creating tension between Moire and her husband about the hours that she spends training.

“Why are you always so feckin’ disciplined?” Pete yells at one point in the book — Moire’s response is to point out that training is her way of coping with the daily grind of motherhood. She wryly observes that Pete had considered discipline one of her most attractive qualities when they first met. With time, the couple learn to balance family life and Moire’s competitive drive; Pete never fails to cheer on his wife as she races across some of Ireland’s most challenging terrains.

Breastfeeding and mastitis don’t prevent Moire from getting back into medal winning as her family grows. “I wish I wasn’t the way I am, and didn’t have this restlessness to compete,” Moire writes. “If only I could be content as a full-time stay-at-home mum, it would make our lives a whole lot easier.”

This is a book about how we can belong to different tribes: cyclist, mother, wife, sports champion; and the struggle to balance these identities. As Moire points out “having a baby doesn’t automatically mean I have to stay at home and forsake my identity.”

Louise Williams is a member of Dublin Cycling Campaign and is currently writing a non-fiction book about borders.

About the book

In Bump, Bike & Baby, Moire O’Sullivan charts her journey from happy, carefree mountain runner to reluctant, stay-at-home mother of two. With her sights set on winning Ireland’s National Adventure Racing Series, she manages to maintain her post-natal sanity, and slowly learns to become a loving and occasionally functioning mum.

Bump, Bike and Baby – Mummy’s Gone Adventure Racing. Sandstone Press. Format: Paperback. ISBN: 9781912240067. Publication Date: 15/03/2018. RRP: £8.99. Available from Amazon, Foyles, Easons, and Waterstones. Paperbacks can be purchased here: https://goo.gl/8XDUZe and e-books can be purchased here: https://goo.gl/Q3p1fm

About the author

Moire O’Sullivan is an accomplished mountain runner and adventure racer. In 2009, she became the first person to complete the Wicklow Round, a 100km circuit of Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains, run within twenty-four hours. She is married to Pete and is the proud mother of their two young sons, Aran and Cahal. While busy adapting to and learning about motherhood, Moire won Ireland’s National Adventure Race Series three times in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Bump, Bike and Baby is about this personal journey. Moire blogs at https://moireosullivan.com/

Moire was also a guest speaker at Dublin Cycling Campaign’s public meeting in March 2018 where she contributed to the discussion about the barriers facing women who want to cycle.

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018 (All day)

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