Motorcycles on Insulin
Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Adventure
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A forum for Motorcycle Riders who also happen to be insulin dependent.
January 24, 2013
I started this page with the
following statement on December
I have been a Rider for 26 years. An Insulin dependent Diabetic
for about 5 weeks.
At this point I have no plans to give up riding.
But I do have questions.
I was hoping that folks out there who are a little further along on the
learning curve would share what they know with the rest of us.
Let me once again say THANK YOU! to
all of the folks who took the time to share their knowledge and experience,
along with their words of encouragement. I'm proud to be part of such a
I hope your "can do" spirit is contagious and that
everyone who visits this page catches it.
Thanks to the sound advice shared here and what I learned from the
"recommended reading list", I'm doing fine.
Naturally...16 years later...I'm still Riding.
problems / solutions / tips need to be considered by folks “running on
insulin” when traveling abroad? Especially in less developed places like
India or South America.
Email Gary at email@example.com
ON THIS PAGE:
Brief profiles of some folks "Riding on Insulin"
Avoiding "On the Road" lows
"On the road" Testing
What Every Rider "Running on Insulin" Should Have Long Solo Rides
Recommended Reading List
The information on this page is
quoted directly from the responses I have received on the above topics. If you
believe anything on this page needs to be corrected or know of additional tips
or solutions, PLEASE share them.
Comments and suggestions for making this page more useful are always
Email Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brief profiles of some folks "Riding
April 12, 2007
I have had Type 1 diabetes since 1960 and have been
riding MC's since 1963.I have been on
an insulin pump for more than 10 years.
Over the years I have owned and ridden the following: Honda 300cc
Scrambler, Honda CB 350, Honda CB500, Honda Shadow 700cc, Harley-Davidson
Springer, Honda Helix, Harley Davidson Electra-glide Ultra. The decision to switch to insulin pump
therapy ABSOLUTELY changed my life!! It
has given me true freedom of the road as well as improved my health
unbelievably (i.e. kidney proteinuria was reversed
and eliminated, retinopathy was reduced to negligible
levels). The pump has not removed the
daily responsibility of blood glucose monitoring, and careful balancing of food
intake and exercise, etc. but it has enabled me to live a much more normal
life. I have never let the fact of my
diabetes restrict my goals in living life.
Anyone out there who are "pumpers AND
riders" can find me at email@example.com
Jo Ann, April 11, 2007
Ive been a type 2 diabetic for about 20 years, and on insulin
for about 15. 62 years old, and have ridden bikes since I was
about fifteen and used to swipe my brother’s moped to ride to town for a
coke. After I was married to a
motorcycle fanatic, I learned to enjoy riding and eventually got a Honda 150,
then a Kawasaki 550, a Suzuki 700,
a Yamaha v-star 1100, and my pride and joy and only new bike ever, a Honda VTX
I exercise a lot, have had A1C’s in the five range for several years, and pay a lot of attention to what
I eat.I pride myself on good BG
control, but that can work against me when im
riding.I do let my BG run a little
higher when I know I'm going to be riding in extreme
situations or on long trips, which we do several times each summer.
Twice I’ve had a low while riding.The first time was on my first long
trip.I was nervous about riding with a
group of Rolling Thunder guys, and we rode faster than I'm
used to through the mountains during a heavy rainstorm.I was cold – now I know that’s a
real danger sign. Means
im going low.
We stopped at a fast food place, and I had a sandwich, milk and fries I
think.I thought that would hold me when
we started again, but it didn’t help enough. I remember passing curves on the hills and
thinking “I could just roll right over the edge” and not
recognizing the danger. Finally, I just
pulled off the road at a rest area sign.
The entire group, all ahead of us, stopped and actually backed up to the
exit on the berm to get off and see what the matter
was.While my husband explained, I went
into the restroom, sat on the floor under the hand dryer and hit the heat
button. I’ll never forget the
shocked looks on those ladies’ faces.
I was exhausted, frozen, soaked through, and still too dazed to get
something to eat.Long story short, we
got a hotel room and I found some nuts we had and turned the heat up to 90 the
entire night.Next morning I realized
what had happened, and we were both wiser after that.Now I carry food with me, and my husband
often offers me things when we stop. He
carries snacks for me as well.
The second problem I still haven’t figured
out. We were riding on a beautiful
chilly fall day through gorgeous scenery in
with two friends. The friends wanted to
stop at an ice cream place, and I was doing great, but cold (remember that
sign?). We were headed to a restaurant
another hour or so away, so I ordered some sugar free ice cream thinking the
milk would hold me until dinner time. however, a few miles up the road (I was leading) I was going
too fast and almost ran off the road. I
hit the brakes and the bike tail swiped sideways, but I held it on the
road. Shortly after that, I completely
missed our turn, and kept going. I
didn’t even notice no one was behind me. My husband had to chase me down and get me to turn around.
Though I’ve been careful about carrying things
with me and paying attention to my body, I know that I need to test more
often.I do that before I exercise, and
after, and the difference in my BG is amazing sometimes.Riding a motorcycle requires concentration,
constant balancing, some physical strength, and general fitness.It also exposes us to extreme heat, cold,
rain, etc. All of those things place
demands on our bodies, and it only makes sense to take care of the details
constantly to counteract some of those. Having a good rain suit helps, too, as do riding partners that pay
attention and help out when needed.
I have ridden solo with no problems, and love
riding. I love the shock on some
people’s faces when I pull my helmet off and they see my gray hair. Two episodes in 30 years of riding is not too bad, but one might be too many. I just pay attention and am willing to say
when I need to stop or take a rest.
Keep riding – and taking care of your diabetes. It’s a healthy lifestyle – and I'm thankful for the impetus to take good care of myself.
Posted March 14, 2007
If you have any questions about riding and being diabetic feel free to sling me a
line! I have been a diabetic for almost fifty years and insulin dependent since
I was 17 months old and riding going on 41 years and no end in sight ...lol Gary J. Mohr firstname.lastname@example.org
Clay, Posted September 26, 2006
My name is Clay and I too ride daily. I have been a insulin dependant diabetic since January 1968. I have been riding since 1970. I
always take my back pack with a lunch box and all my supplies every time I
climb on the bike. I have spent far more time off road than on. Now I ride the
awesome Kawasaki KLR 650 Dual sport that our United States Marine Corp uses for military combat. I have been
very blessed with only one reaction behind the wheel of a truck in 1988. I came
to in the hospital and thank God no one else was involved and that woke me up
to the point that if I didn't take care of myself that nobody
else was going to. As a diabetic it takes devotion daily to take time to
test and keep yourself in shape. I am 39 and was 9
months at diagnosis. Diabetics
have to realize that you have to exercise and SWEAT. It takes lots of water to
keep you healthy I drink a 156 ounces of water a day.
I sweat every day but Sunday. That day is dedicated to Service to my Lord and I
usually don't get sweaty on Sunday. I still have all of my feeling in all of my
extremities and have had 4 surgeries on my left eye and it has been much better
since summer is here and I have been sweating more. It was bad because of blood
pressure and that to is under control. So all of you diabetics keep a watch on your blood pressure.
Stop by the pharmacy at Wal Mart and check it. It is
free. My advice to all of you is listen to your body it will speak to you when
something is not right. To all of you that ride, test before you ride and
especially if you are taking long rides. Keep supplies on hand and take breaks
to check yourselves. My body usually hits low sugar between 10:30am and again around 3:00pm . Yours could be different but make note and if you stay
routine with food intake your body will function routine with highs and lows.
If you run extreme highs for a day you most likely have an infection. If your on the pump your sight needs to be changed. I was on
the pump for six months and decided to get off because insurance problems and
cost of supplies. I have been taking shots for 38 years and like them better,
but my daughter is diabetic and loves the pump and it works well for her. If
anyone wants to email me email@example.com
feel free. To all the riders
ride like your invisible and you will do fine, Stay out of blind spots. Watch
your mirrors and keep a close eye for a way out. I hope to see ya'll out on the
Jon, Posted November 18, 2005
I was just sent a
link to your website by my mother and I thought it was great, I didn’t
know that there were so many of us!! I am 21 years old and I have been insulin
dependant for about 8 years and motorcycling since elementary school. I have
had an insulin pump for about 4 years now and it has been a serious blessing
for both dirt biking and street riding. It’s
basically an indestructible unit so I could strap it on and crash my dirt bike
all I wanted and I wouldn’t hurt my pump. One thing that I’ve always made sure to do, and I think every
diabetic motorcyclist should, is to make sure anyone you’re with knows
your condition and how to detect a low. As we all know, we may not always
catch it, especially on a bike, so if they know the warning signs also, they
can help. I work at a Harley Davidson
dealership and one thing we promote a lot is safety, and I think that the more
a diabetic knows about their condition and how to take care of it the safer
they are, and the people riding with them. There is absolutely NO reason why a
diabetic can’t do what others can, it’s just a matter of the power
of your mind and willingness to be a strong person. I heard this quote the
other day and I thought it made a lot of sense, especially for diabetics,
it’s from Mother Theresa: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t
handle-I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” SAFE RIDING TO ALL any questions please e-mail me at
Jon Helm Donahue - Harley-Davidson Buell
Dan, Posted April 15, 2005
I just saw your website, and it’s really neat to hear
about other diabetic motorcyclists! I’ve been diabetic since age 12, and
am now the 35 year-old father of one. I grew up in a dirt-biking family, and
always aspired to be a racer myself. Diabetes
has made it more of a struggle, but I’ve always managed to prove the
skeptics wrong. I have raced motocross, enduro,
hare-scrambles, and even a hillclimb in the past, but
my competition focus is now enduro and hare-scramble
racing. I love the challenge of going as hard as I can for a full day cross-country
though the unknown, and really love to beat the healthy guys. It feels so good
when my competitors find out they were beaten by a diabetic with stage 4 kidney
disease and over 130 eye surgeries to his credit. I race bicycles too, mainly downhill mountain bikes but BMX as well when time permits.
Yeah, diabetes is tough no matter how you look at it and makes everything
harder. If you give up you’re done. I proved mind over matter works when
I became editor of Inside MotoX magazine and off-road
editor of Inside Motorcycles magazine up here in Canada.
I don’t brag or even mention diabetes unless it’s asked about;
it’s my dirty little secret, but if anyone wants some advice or anything
feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Dan
Dan's Latest Adventure - Dan Paris in deep.JPG - Posted July 12, 2005
Not to toot my own horn,
here's a story that I hope will inspire other diabetic riders that they can do
anything they set their minds to. Just returned from a GPS-navigated off-road
adventure around the perimeter of Algonquin park in Northern Ontario Canada. I rode a 'Paris to Dakar' type 640KTM Adventure
bike, and covered 1400km (875mi) in 4 days in the middle of nowhere. Most of
the ride was on logging roads, fire breaks, or single-track thru the Canadian
forest, and most days the temperature was hovering between 90 and 100F. Very
often the pace (our group were all experienced dirt bike racers on big
desert-racing type motorcycles) was super fast-often standing up in the 'attack
position' at 75 to 100 mph for hours at a time in the dust on that 400 pound
(fully fueled) dirt bike over rocks and ruts. Sometimes you'd be struggling in
first for hours through mud and over logs. I saw moose, bear, and came across a
weird cult that was creepier than anything nature threw at us. At some places
along the route the water was chest high, and we had to wade
the bikes through. Awesome experience! During the trip I had my
diabetes supplies and other meds in my el-cheapo insulated lunch bag stuffed
into my camelback, and munched on the odd power bar or juice box to keep blood
sugars in check. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner I ate the same things so I
had a steady baseline of calories to relate my insulin requirements to. The
other riders thought that I was odd eating the same things over and over, but
that safety factor works for me on a grueling trip like this. Really, I had no problem
with diabetes, and most of the other riders had no idea I even had the disease.
Mind over matter, practice, and common sense will allow a diabetic to do
ANYTHING. Just try, learn to listen to what your body is telling you, and be
smart and safe. Perhaps this will help inspire some of you to go on some great
adventures of your own; I'd love to hear about them! Here's a photo of my going
through one of the shallower river crossings on the big KTM.
Off-Road Editor at Large, Inside Motorcycles
Editor at Large, Inside MotoX
Sy, Posted December 23, 2004
I have been insulin dependant for about 20
tears, and motorcycle addicted for about 40. Hopefully, my post will contribute
something positive and maybe prompt others to do the same.
I find that when my BGL gets low I have only a short time to do something about
it; if I say that I will do something about it in a minute then I am asking for
a hypo. Because motorcycling can be so enthralling, and distracting, I have had
to put a system in place whereby I can get some sugar into me IMMEDIATELY I become aware of the
need. Without even stopping the bike in fact. So my
road bike has got an attachment for a 185ml Coke bottle which I fit up with a
short length of hose. The Coke goes flat, and gets hot on the bike, but who
cares? I hate the stuff anyway, it is only there for it's
sugar content. So if I suspect low BGL when riding along I grab the hose and
suck a few mouthfuls of Coke. The Coke bottle is easily replaced at the next
fuel stop. On my dirt bike I have two hoses (different size) coming from my backpack;
one (the larger of the two) has pure water, just for rehydration.
The smaller hose goes to a smaller reservoir that contains a sugar and water
mix (as much sugar as will stay in suspension, usually about 15 teaspoons to a
cup of water). So I always have instant and untroubled access to
sugar when riding my bike. Detecting or identifying the onset of a hypo
is not always easy. I have found a couple of infallible clues when riding that
I will pass on, perhaps they might work for someone
else as well. When my BGL gets low (but well before the hypo stage) I find that
my riding becomes uncharacteristic of me. I find myself messing up gear changes
and not steering good lines. Every motorcyclist prides him/herself on riding
well, and when I find myself riding not well I question the reason. Could it be
low BGL? To prove or disprove the low-BGL question I set myself a few mental
exercises, eg. what is the
square root of 81? What is 3X3X3? When my BGL is getting low I can't work these
things out, but in my 'normal' state it is easy. If I have trouble with the
exercises that I set for myself then it is time for an instant sugar hit.
I note with interest the concern shown by other contributors about keeping their
insulin cool. I have found that my insulin (Actrapid HM editor note – Humalog
is more temperature sensitive) is a very stable liquid, and not susceptible
to deterioration due to temperature (at least in the short term). My insulin
pen lives in my inside pocket always, and is thereby alongside a 100degF heat
source (my body) all day. And when injected the insulin is subjected to (and
indeed works best at) this same temperature. By all means I treat insulin with
care for storage purposes, but when out on my bike I make no concession to the
temperature that the insulin has to bear. If I can bear it so can my insulin.
And I live in outback Australia; the temperature outside as
I type is 40degC (104degF). I concur with all the other contributors on this
forum; don't let diabetes stop you from doing anything. It may take a bit more
organization and planning but you can do it!
Regards - Sy
He who laughs last thinks slowest
George, Posted September 23, 2004
I have had IDDM for 48 yrs. I contracted the disease when I
was 10 yrs old. I started riding
motorcycles when I was 14. My first bike
was a Honda 50 cc. Even with the small displacement I rode it everywhere. So
actuallity I have been riding for 34 years. I have really enjoyed the different
rides that I have had. Suzuki, MotoGuzzi, and I now own 2 BMW's, A R100RS and an R1100S.
My note of caution is that I never had problems in the early or mid riding
years. Be careful as the time of the disease gets long spanned, it becomes
easier to not be as able to recognize low blood sugars. I was stopped by the
police just a short distance
from my house and my blood glucose was 21. What I do now is test before riding,
also I'm on an insulin pump which for me is the best device ever invented. Don't be susceptible to thinking that you have
just a short way to go to reach your destination. PULL OVER and take care of
things before they get out of hand. But keep on riding, just use good sense.
Rebecca, POSTED February 25, 2003
I just ran across your page and found
it very interesting. I have been insulin dependant for ten years. It seldom
interferes with my riding. I have developed the attitude to take care of
myself. The people I ride with are aware of my condition and usually respect my
meal schedule. I always keep glucose tabs with me and some type of snack with a
small OJ. Other than diabetes, I am one of the healthiest grandmothers I know
and still riding strong. I am sending this mail from work........my email
address for any type of response is email@example.com.
I will not be looking at email for the next two weeks as I am Daytona
bound the 26th. Safe riding to you and all bikers out there. May God keep us
Lyle, POSTED February 9, 2003
I have been an insulin dependent
diabetic for 30 years. I also have been a motorcycle rider off and on for
as long. Finally after retirement I adopted the motorcycle as my primary
travel mode. Many of the excursions involve friends with the same
enthusiasm for motorcycle travel. One thing I am very open about with my
fellow travelers is my condition. I do not want them to be unprepared for
any incidents that could arise as a result of my diabetes. I always have
alerted them to my critical periods when I likely need a snack. The mid-morning,
mid-afternoon, and late evening periods are the critical times for me where I
need to watch for a hypoglycemic reaction. We diabetics who have these
low sugar times know that sometimes our conscious mind loses control and we can
use a little help. Hard as we try, a good friend can get you over that
critical time period. Every gas stop becomes a snack stop for me. I
have some great friends who do take a serious interest in helping me to pay
close attention to that condition. Sometimes I feel that can become a
burden to the group, but I have been lucky to have some great riding
friends. I have made trips across the country, even to Alaska, Skyline Drive
and the Blue Ridge Parkway,
trips to Bike Week, this year into Mexico
for 21 days, and countless day trips on the byways of Pennsylvania
and neighboring states. When I go on long trips I have a medical
information card I give each of my fellow travelers. This card will have
all my pertinent medical information. I, like a lot of your contributors,
also stuff in every outer apparel a source of Hi-test
sugar. I am also big on carrying those little Sunny Delite Orange drinks.
I have a little 6-pac cooler with a hard liner insert that I have additionally
lined with half-inch Thermo-fax insulation panels to keep my insulin, a couple
of drinks, and ice. I have also had quadruple bypass surgery in Nov. 2000
and more recently has a pacemaker implanted to monitor and assist in
stimulating the heartbeat. I have always maintained a program of exercise and
diet throughout my life. I consider myself in decent shape. I am
not going to let any of my conditions keep me from traveling by motorcycle as
long as I am able. May you keep the shiny side up and rubber side down.
Don, February 8, 2003
My name is Don
and I was born just before WWII ended. I have been diabetic since 1959
and started riding about 11 years ago on an Honda Nighthawk 750. At that
time the promise was to test before a ride and frequently during long
rides. That's what I had to do and I did it. I was taking one shot
of NPH in the morning (by now that seems so antiquated a treatment). That
provided me with a little control of the diabetes but also gave me way too much
excitement with lows (and Highs I didn't know about). I was testing once
a day, unless I was about to ride. In 1997 I got a new doc who said that
could be like looking at a broken clock - correct twice a day when I was
looking at it. So I started testing more frequently and saw how erratic
my levels were so we figured something else had to be done other than one shot
of NPH. In June of '98 I started on an insulin pump and it is probably
the best thing I ever did for my treatment. My wife says it was a life
altering event. Before the pump I was very careful to test and make sure there
was level enough to keep me going. With the pump it is assumed that my
level is good, and I still test and find it to be so. But, I feel lots
better generally and have much better control and flexibility - if the group I
am riding with wants to stop for ice cream (some bikes simply cannot pass an
ice cream store in summer) I can do it and join in and enjoy and simply bolus
for insulin to cover it. Obviously, I recommend a pump for all that can
Four years ago we got a 1982 GL1100 Aspencade so we
could go to the Honda Hoot in Asheville. We enjoyed that a lot and have
been going back since. Knoxville, however, is a bit too hot for our blood so
this year we are off to Americade. When we go to these things we ride, which is what the bike
Todd, POSTED September 18, 2002
Stumbled onto your website and thought I'd contribute a brief note. I'm a 45
year old guy who's had Type I diabetes now for 21+ years. Never been back to
the hospital since I was diagnosed. I lead an active lifestyle and actually
consider my condition an unfair advantage at times! As many have said in this
forum, look out for yourself and I make sure that others know about my
condition in case I start acting a little strange. I recently restored an old
CZ mx bike and enjoy the AHRMA nationals. My mother
once told me that the best thing that could happen to a person was to come down
with a serious disease and have to take care of it. Keep up the good work all.
Logan, POSTED April 16, 2002
I'm 17 and have been a diabetic since I was 10. Actually, I spent my
10th birthday in Riley Childrens' Hospital in
Indianapolis. I just wanted to say that it really means a lot to me
to know that there are a lot of diabetics out there just like me who love
motorcycles and aren't letting their diabetes stand
in the way. I got my first bike, a Honda XL 100, when I was ten and
haven't stopped riding since. To me, there is just a feeling you get on a
bike that you can't get anywhere else. I haven't spent a lot of time on
the highway yet because I'm not old enough to get my motorcycle license, but I
hope to find a nice crotch-rocket or cruiser and get out on the highways of
Southern Indiana. I also love to ride dirt bikes, but I usually end up
scaring my mom pretty bad. She doesn't agree with my idea of
"safe". I think deep down she understands
though. Well, once again I just want to thank you and all the people that
have submitted their tips and information to the website for reminding all of
us that when something is important to you, you can't let anything stand
between you and your dreams. Ride On! Logan
P.S. Gary-I would love to hear from you and anyone else who is diabetic and
loves to ride. firstname.lastname@example.org
George, Posted March 7, 2002
I am a 68-year-old diabetic who continues to ride and enjoys his time on the
motorcycle. I was diagnosed about 27 years ago and have been insulin dependent
for 23 years. I am now on the insulin pump and management has improved
significantly. The main purpose of my writing is to caution my fellow bikers to
carry back-up batteries for both their monitor and pump, as I don't
recall seeing this mentioned while going through the correspondence. Batteries
for the monitor may be available but those for the pump may not be as easy to
come by. It is very important on long trips in rather isolated parts of the country
and in foreign countries it is essential. I believe everyone else has covered
all aspects of traveling with diabetes.
Richard, from England, Posted
November 19, 2001
I'm 47, motorcyclist since 17,
insulin dependent diabetic since 21. I would echo all the people on your page
who tell us that diabetes is a condition, not a disability. Like motorcycling,
it just needs judgment, anticipation and good sense.
For overseas, I travel very often for
work in Asia and the Middle East. No problems so far. Try to get a doctor's
note explaining your condition, translated into the language of the country
you're visiting - but I've never had to show mine in over 20 years regular
travel. One painful piece of advice - get your teeth fixed before you go too
far off the beaten track. I had to have some root canal work done in western
Sumatra, where the dental practice had neither anesthetic nor electricity.
Treadle operated drill, sterilized over a gas jet. It hurt, and I've still got
a bit of the broken drill bit stuck up in my canal somewhere. Not nice, and
diabetics are susceptible to bad teeth and root infections. Get them sorted
before you go.
Dawn, Posted November 5, 2001
I am 37 years old and have been a
diabetic for 32 years. I have been riding motorcycles since I was 18. My first
bike was a Yamaha 500 virago I kept that for about a year then I graduated to a
Harley Davidson Sportster,
what a rough ride! Finally got my '87 HD Lowrider Custom. I have been very fortunate that I've only
had one low bloodsugar in all my years of riding, I
was very lucky to be riding with friends who noticed that I was having a
insulin reaction, my sugar was so low I was out of it! I was riding on the
shoulder of the road when my friend pulled over yelled at me to stop and gave
me a chocolate bar after about 15 minuets I was ok. I just thought I would
mention that in march of 98 I got married and my husband (who is not diabetic)
and my doctor talked me into a insulin pump and I love it! I wish I had of done
it sooner. I find my life is more normal and when riding I don't have to worry
as much about following a schedule for injections and meals its wonderful. I
always carry glucose tabs, lifesavers and my glucose machine when riding. As
far as long trips I feel it's a good idea for any diabetic to carry an extra
prescription for insulin and other diabetic supplies that they may need in case
of something happening. Also I have the medi-cool
insulated carrying pouch with freezer packs that I find very useful. I noticed
other people suggested a bracelet and id card, I carry both. I really enjoyed
reading other peoples comments suggestions and stories. Thanks for having such
a great web site!
Cisco, Posted October 14, 2001
I've been diabetic since age 10. I'm now 51 and have been riding for 28 years.
The best advice I can give is to always carry "insurance" which I
define as plenty of sugar. I use jelly beans because they don't melt and act
quickly. I carry a sandwich bag of jelly beans in my riding
vest pocket so I can even eat a few as I'm riding if I start to feel
hypoglycemic. The best idea, of course, is to monitor your blood sugar and eat
as scheduled. But, if the occasion arises, jelly beans can (and have been for
me) a life saver.
Joe, Posted: May 9, 2000
I have been on the road for 30 years. I have had diabetes for 25 years. I have found that the small insulated lunch
boxes that you get in K-Mart work real well for insulin storage. I also carry
glucose tablets in my pocket. I think that it is important that we show the
young kids that they can do what ever they want . My wife works for a doctor
and when ever I see a kid (10 and over) I give them a ride if they want. It
Ernie, Posted: February 4,
I am 65 and have known about my
diabetes since I was 40. I have been riding motorcycles for over 50 years and
have never experienced a problem with the disease. I carry insulin in a cooler
attached to the trailer hitch ball. We often travel 500 to 750 miles in one day
without problems related to high or low sugar. There are times when I feel
anxious and need a sugar fix so I carry something to eat most times. Other
times when snow skiing the extra exercise causes low blood sugar if I take the
normal insulin. Here again I need chocolate etc. Diabetes
should never limit motorcycle riding with a few precautions.
Richard, Posted: January 11, 2000
I was born with Type 1 diabetes in
1946. Presently 53 years of age and have ridden Motorcycles most my life. Six
years ago nerve damage set-in and I can no longer detect "high or low
glucose levels." The simple word is "Brittle". I presently ride
a Harley, but must check glucose levels every two hours to avoid hypoglycemia.
I have taken good care of the situation, but complications can set-in over the
years. If I can give any advice to other diabetics, it would be essential to
monitor the glucose levels on a strict regimen. My A1C's consistently stay
around 5.3 which is near perfect. Most diabetics can lead a normal life, but
should never take the body for granted. Wish you and all the others well. By
the way, I have worn an insulin pump for the past six years and my lifestyle
has improved greatly.
Rod, Posted: October 18, 1999
My name is Rod and I am writing from Waimate in
New Zealand and have only just got on the Internet. I have been an insulin
dependent diabetic for the last thirty-three years and riding motorbikes for
thirty-one of those years. I was looking up motorbikes on the Internet search
engine when I came across your site. I want to say that I have never had any
negative effects from being diabetic and a motorbike rider to date. While I
highly commend your attitude (and those from the respondents you placed on the
site) regarding diabetes and its control, my own regard has been far less
strict. To date I have no secondary problems at all from diabetes and admit
freely to all that I love sugar fixes every now and again. I have traveled
extensively over the years through Europe, Australia, Asia and New Zealand. For
the most part, any authorities I have come up against have been helpful once my
condition was understood by them. I have to say (perhaps because of my looks
and dress) that I invariably was first off the aircraft/ship/train/car and the
last out of customs. Every time I have traveled overseas and my syringe was
found by customs or my declaring it, the immediate response has been to take me
away for a search for drugs. While this has been trying to say the least, once
it was understood, the reverse has applied and I have been given good
treatment. I have found that carrying around a note written by my doctor has
helped immensely but warn you that you will become the focus of attention in
some cases if you travel overseas- so be prepared. With regard to diet, I have
always been a follower of eating complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice,
etc.) as the staple food requirement. I love fruit and if I am particularly
energetic, I always make sure I either have some form of sugar before activity
(like a chocolate bar) or have it ready in case I require it during or after
the activity. When traveling it is important in my opinion to have this form of
nourishment at hand at all times. Remember, it is better to have sugar levels
too high than to have them too low. I also recommend that you eat what the
locals eat - it is much cheaper and safer (thus, for example, bread, wine and
cheese in France; pasta and wine in Italy; rice and wine/beer in Asia. Also
makes it easier to do so if you can't speak the local language and are
otherwise lost). I am aware that you will need a period of adjustment to your
condition and caution you that it might take two or three years to find the
equilibrium you can best live with. While this might sound like a long time, it
isn't in the context of your lifetime. I hope these tidbits will be helpful and
can give you a more exhaustive resume' if you want to contact me. What I will
say is GO FOR IT!!! I recommend travel overseas and suggest that if you do, try
and travel with someone who is aware of your condition,
otherwise the world is your oyster and go for it. Good luck and happy riding.
Matt, Posted: September 4,
I'm a 31 year old who "celebrated" my 1 year anniversary of
diagnosis with Type 1 at the beginning of August. I keep very tight control of
my condition and have since I was diagnosed. Fortunately this has not hampered
my riding AT ALL. In fact, I ride for a living. I spend 10 hours a day, 4 days
a week on my bike as a (hold the hisses) Motor Officer in the San Francisco
area. I've worked out a little deal with our dispatchers so that when I go a bit
low I call them and tell them I'll be 10-7 (unavailable) for a few minutes.
Things have been working out great and my department has been very supportive.
I also ride a BMW R1100GS off duty and have done several long distance
rides with no problem. Good to hear about this list. Keep the rubber side down
Scott, Posted: July 17, 1999
Welcome to the club! :> I've been a type 1 diabetic for 30 years and have
been fortunate to have had the support of MANY people around me. The most
important thing when riding anywhere is to ride with people who know your
condition, whether friend(s) or actually telling the people you are diabetic.
Although you might feel like you are "different", a lot of people
I've told who didn't previously know I was a diabetic seemed to be impressed
with the way I handle it.
Catherine, Posted: March 17,
I have been an insulin dependent
diabetic for almost 5 years. I have been motorcycling for 15 years, I ride a
Triumph 1200 Daytona. Being diabetic hasn't
ever made any difference whatsoever re: my motorcycling. But then I do, like
most diabetics, make sure of certain things. I have no hang ups whatsoever
about being diabetic. I let people in my company know that I am dependent on
insulin and what to do in the event of a hypo. I always carry some form of
glucose...usually in the form of a snickers bar as I like them!! For me it
would be disastrous to have a hypo as my legs and coordination always seem to
be one of the first things to go...so I make a point to eat sufficient carbohydrate
before hand. Oh yes and I always wear my bracelet with my condition on it as
well, just in case...
All best wishes, Ride Safe - Catherine
P.S. I would recommend Dr. Rowan Hillson's book called "Diabetes - A New Guide"
published by Positive Health Guides.
Warren, Posted 1/99
I retired from the Army after 23 years and settled in Indiana. I have been a
biker for over 30 years but insulin diabetic for about two years. I always
wanted to go to Sturgis and put a new Electra Glide on order before I was placed on insulin. When it
finally came in (28 month wait) (well worth it,
I might add) I was very apprehensive about riding more than a couple hundred
miles because of my concerns about insulin storage. That was until I found your
site! The wife and I decided to ride out to Sturgis in '98. I took your advice
about the small vacuum bottle and the bubble wrap. It worked perfectly! We took
11 days to make the trip. We spent 3 nights in Rapid City and the rest on the
road. We stayed in Super 8 Motels all of the other nights. They were very accommodating and they all had
freezers to re-freeze the ice packs for my portable carrying case. I put ice
into the vacuum bottle each night to pre-chill the interior and each evening
when we would unload at the motel the insulin vials were still well chilled. I
monitored regularly and had no low sugar reactions or any other problems.
Thanks to the travel hints on your site the retirement I fought for will be
filled with many new adventures. God Bless You real good!!!
Posted Warren's note in order to pass his blessing along to the wonderful folks who truly
deserve it. Those who have taken the time to
share their experience and knowledge with this page over the years.
Eline Posted 10/98
I have been a Type I diabetic for 25 years. About 9 years ago I decided I
was tired of taking "the back seat" on people's bikes and that it was
time for me to learn how to ride myself. I began my biker life with a Honda NX
250. Life was good! From there I moved to an EX-500. Life got a little better!!
Then 4 years ago I acquired my pride and joy -- a 750 Ducati SS. Life
Guy, Posted 5/98
I've had T1 for over 35 yrs., big
deal eh?. I been riding m/c since I was 16, I'm 40 now. Got my bike license a
year before car license. I have a 1200cc, Yamaha Venture Royale
right now. I've taken some pretty fun and silly romps across Canada just about
every chance I get.
Dennis, Posted 3/98
I have been insulin dependent from
jump in March 81. I have been a rider since before dirt was invented. The most
important thing to keep track of on the road is your blood sugar levels.
Planning helps to avoid having to run low.
Paying my respects to all who have
gone before and leaving wisdom for all who will follow.
Diabetes is no reason to give up any thing that matters in your life.
Stay in the wind.
Mike: Posted 3/98
I have been a motorcyclist as well as a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic
for 8 years. I was excited to find your web site, I'm new to the Internet. I've
found over the years that being a diabetic and a motorcyclist simply means that
my journeys require a little more planning. I recently completed a solo winter
excursion through the southeastern United States. I left from L.I. New York on
2/1 and ended up in New Orleans on 2/7. From there to visit
family in Florida, up to Hendersonville, NC and then on home. Some things I do to accommodate my
diabetes are: always carry extra bottles of insulin, bring plenty of testing
supplies and use them, stick to your normal meal schedule, drink plenty of
fluids, always carry food and wear something identifying yourself
as a diabetic. I have broken a bottle of insulin while traveling. Not too
difficult to replace, but having an extra is easier. Because my job involves a
tremendous amount of physical labor I have learned that sticking to regular
mealtimes helps me to maintain amore consistent BG so I apply the same
principle to traveling. Testing your BG more than you normally would will help you avoid dangerous "on road
lows". I also have the benefit of being a certified MSF instructor which
helps me understand the risks of riding with
diabetes, and how to manage them. Teaching an MSF class with diabetes is a
trick in itself.
Rick: Posted 9/97
I've had diabetes for 33 years, since I was 16. I got my first motorcycle about
then too. I will be 50 in a week and am riding a '76 R75/6 BMW. I sold my '48
Indian Chief last year but still own a '52 Triumph T-bird I've had since '71. I
sold the Indian to help put me through school at UCSD
where I am studying Bioengineering to improve glucose monitoring. A prof. of mine has a company with a goal of an implantable
monitor the size of a checker on the market by 2001. I told him I want the
first one. I will work for it too. His device will send BG levels out to a
pager like device worn on the belt. It could probably be a pager also. It will
be replaced every 2 years. Easy monitoring, with a Low Glucose Alarm. I've
gotten off my bike and discovered my BG level was 41. Oops. Candy or food!
Everyone on your page seems to have the same general idea monitor, monitor,
monitor. I check my BG 6-10 time a day, every day. The last two days I have
been working on a website (link) it is my way to
give my control method back to fellow insulin addicts.
Luigi - Milano, Posted 8/97
I'm a 32 years old diabetic (type 1 since 1969) and I only wanted to testify
that since both riding a motorcycle and managing diabetes basically only needs
good sense, there is no problem in doing both. I ride motorbikes since 1979 and
I never faced problems related to diabetes in doing this. I have occasionally
been test rider for the "Motociclismo" and Tuttomoto" motorcycle magazines too.
I have had juvenile diabetes for 30 years and started riding a 250 Ninja
I just had a nice talk with my doctor. A friend of mine who thinks I am crazy
for buying a motorcycle says that it is ridiculous that I have started the
insulin pump, trying to make my life longer, only to start a dangerous, risky
hobby. My doctor assured me that if I wanted to ride that I not look at it any
differently just because I am diabetic.
I have even tried racing on the Putnam park race track here in Indiana. Towards
the end of my racing class I did crash, but it was not due to the diabetes,
only to my lack of judgment and getting over confident! I will probably get my
road racing license this year.
I have never let diabetes get in my way. I have traveled all over the world and
hope to continue to do so.
I have had insulin dependent, type I, diabetes since 1975. I have been
riding motorcycles off and on since 1969, but have ridden relatively
continuously for the last 5 years. I am a certified motorcycle safety
instructor through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and have been for
over 3 years.
I have been diabetic for 37 years and got very interested in motorcycles
about seven years ago. I just love to go camping and go away for weeks at a
time. I have never had a problem on the road. I might add that I don't let the
diabetes rule my life. I enjoy life and control it rather than have the
diabetes control me.
I've been insulin dependent since 1974. I've been riding motorcycles for
the past 8 years. I've encountered every imaginable diabetic condition while on
the road. I prefer solo long distance touring.
I have a 1986 FJ1200 that I've taken--solo--from NJ to CA. Don't
worry about diabetes, though. It may be a pain in the ass sometimes, but it
shouldn't hold you back a bit.
I've been a type 1 diabetic for 10 yrs and have been biking since I was 17,
8 yrs ago. So firstly there is no reason to even consider giving up biking.
There is no problem you just have to be a bit more cautious on longer trips.
Last year I rode from Northern Italy back home to Ireland 1 1/2 days and it
snowed for most of the way. One thing to note is that if you are stressed out
(lost in a strange country) this can reduce your blood sugar. Try getting lost
in Paris when you know you have a ferry to catch. Apart from that just avoid
rushing to much and prick your finger for a blood test every now again.
I'm 53 years old and I have two bikes. I've been a diabetic for about five years
I think. Starting by dieting than pills and I'm doing pills and insulin. I have
been doing insulin for about two years. No problems with riding.
I'm 29, Type 1 since I was 20, riding an 82 BMW R65, and freelancing as an
independent bike wholesaler in an attempt at living outside corporate
environments. Had a checkup just before Xmas, my Hemo
A1C was right on target, as usual. Having dealt with another
chronic disease all my life (asthma), diabetes aint
that bad.Just another condition of my existence.
Both rather *enhance* my life, in a way, in that I don't take health for
granted, and I try to live in a very mindful way...
I have been a diabetic for twenty years and riding for about 12. Diabetes
is a challenge like anything else, challenge the people that help you manage
your diabetes. In my experience doctors like to control your diabetes not help
you manage it, find one who listens, and is willing to develop a regimen that
will work for you. I could not stand being
tied down to the I have to eat NOW! thing, so I take humulin U once a day and a shot of humulin
R before each meal based on what my blood sugar is, sort of the needle version
of an insulin pump.
I am an IDDM trauma RN. I developed diabetes in 1990 and have been riding ever since, it is hard to give up a habit from 1966.
I'm a 29 year old biker in Sweden who also happens to be diabetic type 1.
I'm rather new at this too. I have only been a biker for 1.5 years, and
diabetic for 3 years so I became a biker after I became diabetic.
We are the opposite in the fact that I have been a diabetic for over 30
years and only been riding for the past year.
I have had to take insulin for about 7 yrs. Been a
Goldwinger for the past 4 yrs. but that has not
slowed us down at all.
I have had diabetes since
1991 and I ride motorcycles. I keep my insulin pens and vials in a bag I made.
It uses water to cool the insulin even in your motorcycle bags. It usually lasts for 2 to 3 days and then can be recharged any where
there is water. Individual pen bag is
only about 3 inches by 7 inches. They can be made in any size. I have used
these for 3 years now with no problem. It really solved the problem of keeping
my insulin cool. If interested contact me at mailto:Widowmaker5588@AOL.com
Do not place insulin vials in saddlebags over mufflers. I did
this past August during a trip West from Charleston,
SC and somewhere on the way, the insulin "died". Some time after I
noticed that it was "cloudy" looking. I have found that the best
method of caring for the insulin while traveling on the bike is to place the
vial in a zippered pouch on the side of my "soft" ice chest.
Otherwise, I would place the vial in a waterproof container and drop it in a
I don't worry about Insulin storage too much, so long as I keep my bag out of
the sun. I've kept an insulin vial in my front pocket when I didn't feel like
bringing the purse-thing with me, and the heat from my body didn't affect it. I
have wrecked bottles by leaving them in the glove box (Las Vegas in August, and
only for an hour. Wasted the insulin).
I bought myself a stainless steel
vacuum flask to carry insulin in on hot days - lined with bubble wrap, it does a really good job.
Keeping insulin cool in the summer heat, however, can be tough. The best I can
do now is place my insulin in an insulated insulin container, with a refreezable "ice" insert that accommodates the
bottles perfectly. It's made by "Medicool,
Inc." and its name is "The Medicool Insulin
Protector". (1-800-433-2469 www.medicool.com). Its
good enough to keep insulin cool for about 36 hours--in the middle of Death
Valley. The only trouble is finding a place to refreeze the
"ice" when I'm done riding for the day. Since I normally stay in
cheap motels, sometimes I can stick the "ice" in the ice cube machine
overnight. That works OK.
I keep the vial in a small insulated thermos with ice. Sometimes by the time I
get to my destination the ice has melted. There is a kit being sold for
travelers but I thought it was too expensive.
I generally keep the insulin I use at room temperature if I know it is going to
be excessively hot, the case I have which is available at K Mart has a section
filled with water which can be frozen, to keep things cool. There is enough
room in it for 2 vials of insulin, blood glucose meter, strips, syringes, and
I take a small Ice chest that fits in my side bag, I use ice and keep my
bottles in a water tight Tupperware container, this lasts all day and it is
still cold when I stop at the end of the day.
I've had some minor problems dealing with my insulin in the summer. I've
purchased a small thermos and put my insulin in there with ice. I have learned
this the hard way by cooking my insulin.
Hi, Gary- I just returned from a week long motorcycle ride in Laconia New
Hampshire. The weather wasn't excessively hot so temperature wasn't a real big
factor in my storage design. I came up with it after
reading several articles on your site and you probably already know the
information I'm about to share. Here's what I came up with and the
modifications I made along the way and something I discovered today that is a
vast improvement and is readily available to most diabetics if they use one
touch test strips.
1- I purchased a wide mouth Nissan Stainless vacuum bottle
2 - Began a search for water tight containers about the same size as humulin bottles (the best I could come up with was several
film canisters 35 mm with the ends cut out and stacked telescopically inside
one another) This makes a pretty good water tight container for two insulin
bottles stacked one on top another.
3 - I took the suggestion about the bubble wrap another step I used a piece of
the packing material that you usually find wrapped around Japanese electronics
products thin closed cell foam. Wrapped this around the exterior of the film
canister stack this supplied shock protection to the bottles.
4 - I attached a small piece of nylon twine to the containers to allow easy
retrieval from the thermos if left at the top of the thermos before screwing on
the lid. The bottles are then lowered into and out of the ice bath inside the
5 - I added a couple of ice cubes to maintain the cold (lasts several days if
kept out of the direct sun cubes still solid) This design worked fine for
several days at a time, including a few very hot days.
6 - I continued my search for some better containers the film canister worked
okay but still a little hokey. This evening while sitting at the computer I
noticed an empty basic test strip vial laying on my desk and tried my empty
insulin (my size tester been carrying it around for about a month looking for
containers) It fit perfect, in fact it even has a silica gel pack built right
into the lid to prevent the build up of moisture in the container.
7 - I added a small zipper pull thermometer (the type they sell in ski shops
and outdoor shops) to the twine so. I can monitor the temperature of the
container when opened to gage the fall in temperature in the container I
suggest this arrangement be stored away from your exhaust. If a saddle bag is
all you have put it at the top or in the middle not at the bottom!!
My storage container is now complete for travel by planes trains and
motorcycles ....See ya at Sturgis 2000
Old Biker Fart 90 FLHS Mr. Dana Man
I've been a
motorcyclist for 20 odd years, and although I'm not a diabetic, I have friends
who are. They use a thing called the FRIO wallet to carry insulin. It works
with only water (no ice etc) and keeps the medication cool for about 40 hours
or more. It's really good and can even be used to keep your cheese fresh as
well! It would seem to be the ideal thing for foreign travel in less developed
countries as long as you can get water. You can find out about/purchase one
AVOIDING "ON THE ROAD" LOW SUGARS
You need to pay close attention to your first signs of low blood
sugar so that you are watching for any of those signs more closely when you are
As for low blood sugar I keep a few
pieces of peppermint candy, Those that dissolve
easily, in my coat pocket and I can easily slip one in my month while riding. I
also keep the diabetic bars in my backpack to snack on.
I find that when my BGL gets low I have only a short
time to do something about it; if I say that I will do something about it in a
minute then I am asking for a hypo. Because motorcycling can be so enthralling,
and distracting, I have had to put a system in place whereby I can get some
sugar into me IMMEIATELY I become aware of
the need. Without even stopping the bike in fact. So
my road bike has got an attachment for a 185ml Coke bottle which I fit up with
a short length of hose. The Coke goes flat, and gets hot on the bike, but who
cares? I hate the stuff anyway, it is only there for it's
sugar content. So if I suspect low BGL when riding along I grab the hose and
suck a few mouthfuls of Coke. The Coke bottle is easily replaced at the next
fuel stop. On my dirt bike I have two hoses (different size) coming from my
backpack; one (the larger of the two) has pure water, just for rehydration. The
smaller hose goes to a smaller reservoir that contains a sugar and water mix (as
much sugar as will stay in suspension, usually about 15 teaspoons to a cup of
water). So I always have instant and
untroubled access to sugar when riding my bike. Detecting
or identifying the onset of a hypo is not always easy. I have found a couple of
infallible clues when riding that I will pass on,
perhaps they might work for someone else as well. When my BGL gets low (but
well before the hypo stage) I find that my riding becomes uncharacteristic of
me. I find myself messing up gear changes and not steering good lines. Every
motorcyclist prides him/herself on riding well, and when I find myself riding
not well I question the reason. Could it be low BGL? To prove or disprove the
low-BGL question I set myself a few mental exercises, eg.
what is the square root of 81? What is 3X3X3? When my
BGL is getting low I can't work these things out, but in my 'normal' state it
is easy. If I have trouble with the exercises that I set for myself then it is
time for an instant sugar hit.
When I rode out to Sturgis in 1994, I'll never forget that fuzzy feeling I had.
My motor skills were impaired, and I was clearly not at the top of my game. I
pulled over, tested my blood sugar, and--guess what--I needed food. No matter
where I go, near or far, I always carry food. Lifesavers in my jacket pocket, Powerbars in my soft bags, a "box" of juice too.
Portable drinks are ideal because they raise blood sugar levels fastest. The
trickiest part is waiting long enough to regain proper concentration and motor
function. Although I'm sometimes inclined to hop back on the bike, I wait as
patiently as I can until I am certain I am back in top form.
I've been diabetic for 23 years, and I know how my body responds to food or
insulin. I am fairly good at telling when my blood sugar is low--without
testing. But I know that I should actually test more often when I'm putting
hundreds of miles on per day.
I always carry some glucose sweets in all my jackets. On long journeys I eat
regularly (carbohydrates, sandwiches etc.) and check my blood sugar often.
Always start the day with a good carbohydrate breakfast.
I keep candy in my tour pack on the bikes.
Avoiding low blood sugar on the road is the most important, If
I am going to drive or ride over an extended period of time I let my blood sugar
go a little bit higher, probably not recommended by the ADA
or your doctor but better than the alternative.
I've been riding motorcycles since 1968, and I've been a diabetic since
1970. I also totaled a '81 BMW in Elizabethtown, Ky. in '82 from an insulin
reaction and woke up handcuffed to a hospital bed. Just rode my '73 Honda CB
500 down to Louisiana from northern Michigan
last month. I've learned a lot about how NOT to have insulin reactions anymore
through the help of an endocrinologist, and though I still have low blood
sugars it's been a few years since I had an insulin reaction. For the first 20
years or so that I was a diabetic, I used to use one shot of Lente or NPH which was cool with me. It hardly seemed a
hassle. Then I started having troubles with insulin reactions and I got put on
2 shots a day, but that didn't really help a whole lot because I continued to
have insulin reactions. 4 years ago I got turned on to my Endocrinologist (a
diabetic specialist) and he's saved my life, I mean that with all sincerity. I
now take 5 or 6 shots a day, I know it sounds like a pain in the ass, but
honest to God, you can't believe how much it's helped me. Basically it's the
same amount of insulin, it's just much smaller doses.
I now take 4 units of NPH in the morning, and 11 units
of NPH at bedtime. I also use regular insulin, which of course is the fast
acting stuff (they even have a faster acting insulin
out now, but he doesn't want me to use it). I'm on a sliding scale for the
regular, that is if my blood sugar is 100 I use 4 units of regular for
breakfast, if it's a 100 at lunch I use 2 units of regular and if it's 100 at
dinner I use 6 units of regular. If my blood sugar is 200, I use 7 units of
regular for breakfast, 6 for lunch and 8 for dinner. So depending what my blood
sugars are, I vary the amount of regular insulin I use. If it's real high at
night when I go to bed, then I might use 2 or 3 units of regular, but my NPH
dose doesn't change (I always take 11 at night, and 4 in the morning). Of
course, your doctor has to decide the amount you use (please don't go by what
my scale), but by using smaller amounts at each meal as I need them instead of
massive amounts in the morning and then having to eat so much at certain times,
I no longer have insulin reactions. I'm not saying I don't have low blood
sugars, I do but they don't bottom out like they used to and that saves me a
whole lot. I haven't had a bad reaction in 3 or 4 years, and God I like that. I
also kind of eat about the same amount of carbohydrates for each meal (not
calories like they used to do). I don't know how you're doing it, maybe
everybody's doing it that way now but if they aren't they should be, think
about it (it really makes sense). Like I say, I've been a diabetic since 1970,
and they just didn't know how to adjust such things then. They've got different
kinds of insulins now that they didn't used to have
and I'm certainly not a real expert at it, but I always knew there was a better
system of doing it, I just didn't know how. Taking that many shots a day is a
pain (literally), but if I'm late for a meal or something I don't wake up in
the hospital with I.V.'s in my arm. I don't ever want
to experience that again. Steve
My husband has diabetes and has been riding motorcycles for years. I was obviously always concerned however recently I starting going back to school for my masters in health administration and learned just how many people are injured or killed from a motor vehicle accident because of diabetes. Of course with this new knowledge I freaked out and had to figure out a way to make sure if my husband was on his bike he could get some sugar immediately. I know how stubborn he is and will try to make it to his destination without pulling over unless he can't drive any further. While on vacation we stopped in a huge candy store and I came across a candy necklace. Initially I was very excited to have candy from my childhood then I realized what a great idea it was for my husband. I had to talk him into it at first but he now wears it willingly under his shirt. He will usually keep some juice or sugary soda with him but when he feels his levels dropping quickly he has sugar as close as possible until he can pull over. Luckily this has helped him a few times over the past couple years and he no longer regrets my decision to get my healthcare MBA! – Pam
ON THE ROAD TESTING
It's about as easy to check your "sugar" On the road as
any place else.
I use "visual read" (CHEMSTRIP bG) on the
road. They take up less space an save wear and tear on my meter. They are also
less expensive (especially when cut in half or thirds).
vibration, adrenaline, and intense concentration when riding mask many of the
symptoms of hypoglycemia. TEST OFTEN! Studies have shown that though diabetics
"think" they know what their blood sugars are, 90% of the time they
"guess" incorrectly. My husband and I have created a hand signal that
means I need to stop to test: I raise my left arm in the air and tap my thumb
and middle finger together in rapid succession. All my riding buddies know what
it means and are glad to pull over to give me the 60 seconds it takes to
perform a blood test. (The new Fast Take monitor is quick and provides
In most sporting good shops, you
can get a product called a sports "gel". It not only contains some
extra vitamins and minerals that you sweat away, but it contains enough carbs to get you out of even a bad low quickly.
I always carry glucose tabs with me as when riding sometimes the
miles fly by and food is not always on the mind when riding and the tabs come
in very handy.
No matter where I go, near or far, I always carry food. Lifesavers in my jacket
pocket, Powerbars in my soft bags, a "box"
of juice too. Portable drinks are ideal because they raise blood sugar levels
Kroger has my favorite emergency sugar fix: "Health Valley Fat Free
Breakfast Bars", in both strawberry and blueberry. Mighty tasty... I keep
at least 2 with me at all times. Also- Gatorade and 2% milk are absorbed in the
bloodstream faster than anything else.
The best remedy I have found for low blood sugar is orange juice, tough to
carry, but worth it. I also take along peanut butter crackers etc.
I usually carry a milky way or snicker, and always orange juice in case my
glucose level drops unexpectedly.
I was surprised to discover that no one mentioned sweet tarts. For me, they
work better than even glucose tablets, and they are much more convenient. There
are two different packages. I have not found that the very small ones in the twisted plastic wrap are very effective, nor
are they very convenient. There is a small multicolored paper wrap that
contains 3 to a package, is sold in volumes of about 50 and is extremely
effective to relieve an attack of low blood sugar in less than 5 minutes, even
when the symptoms have started. The wrapping holds up continuously for days. It
doesn't matter what I do, I always carry between 5 and 10 of those 3-packs with
WHAT EVERY "RIDER" RUNNING ON INSULIN SHOULD "ALWAYS" HAVE
ID: bracelet, necklace and or
wallet card. MAKE SURE that if for any reason you are incapacitated, you will
be recognized as diabetic. ID is also helpful
when an Officer wants to know why you are carrying syringes.
I was diagnosed diabetic almost a
year ago. Been riding Harley's since I was 18 (1978). Was over in Sturgis last
year and met this bro in a restaurant. He had told me he's had diabetes all his
life. What I'm trying to get at here is....one time he got pulled over for
drunk driving. Come to find out he was not drunk, low sugar. Did
not have bracelet or necklace. He almost died in jail. He showed me a tattoo on
his wrist.....it said DIABETIC. I thought that
was a pretty good idea. When I got back home, I did the same. I guess what I'm
getting at here is ....don't be caught with out a form of medical alert. It may
cost you your life. Scott
important thing a diabetic can do is wear a bracelet.
A card in the wallet, or a necklace is of little use to an officer who can't
see it. I learned the hard way shortly after becoming a diabetic. I was wearing
a necklace that couldn't be seen... Police in most states can not disturb
clothing to look for a necklace, nor can they look through your wallet, nor can
they even look through your vehicle for a medic alert identification.
can be "seen" alerting an officer that you may be in serious need
of help. Joe
LONG SOLO RIDES
My brother (who is also a diabetic), and I went on a trip last year.
We traveled over 2,700 miles in 8 days. I firmly believe there are ways to
prepare for a trip of this type. We were not rushed and had planned both for
the trip and for contingencies, breakdowns and reactions! Two activities stick
in my mind other than not rushing, and they are: 1. We stopped to eat at
approximately the same times we do on our normal schedule; 2. We tested our
blood on a regular basis so we knew the status of our bodies relative to the
days travel plans.
I go on long trips all the time. One nice thing about diabetes is that it lets
you know what to do. You're not an invalid.
The most important thing to consider when traveling in these nations is to
check your water supply. As a diabetic you will have more difficulty fighting
micro-organisms then most. Drink only bottled
water, NO ICE CUBES and make sure that the seal on the bottle has not been
broken. Unfortunately, some will try to sell you an evian
bottle that was filled at the community tap. This could ruin your trip at the
For the most part, any authorities I
have come up against have been helpful once my condition was understood by them.
I have to say (perhaps because of my looks and dress) that I invariably was
first off the aircraft/ship/train/car and the last out of customs. Every time I
have traveled overseas and my syringe was found by customs or my declaring it,
the immediate response has been to take me away for a search for drugs. While
this has been trying to say the least, once it was understood, the reverse has
applied and I have been given good treatment. I have found that carrying around
a note written by my doctor has helped immensely but warn you that you will
become the focus of attention in some cases if you travel overseas- so be
prepared.... Rod M.
I can only suggest that you get an
insulated pack (they come in all sizes) and carry enough of your insulin and
syringes to last for the entire trip! Don't
pack it in your luggage take in on the plane with you. This way you will be
sure to have what you need. I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for 3 years and
traveled to Thailand, Phuket, Hong Kong, Singapore,
and several isolated islands. I always took my supply and never had a problem
finding ice to keep it cool! Better to be safe than sorry! <
I also ride a 1200 Sportster and never have a problem - just have to make sure
to stick to your schedule (no matter how much fun you're having)!
Keep your knees in the breeze.... Linda
I'm 33, I've been diabetic for ten
years and riding off and on for 23 years. I've never had a problem riding with
diabetes - and that's with 30,000 in the past four years. Riding is like the
rest of life; you learn how to manage.
Use a One Touch Meter. Aside from
being bullet proof, here's a story. I recently traveled for three weeks in
Turkey. I dropped my meter after testing one night on a ferry on the Bosphorus. I didn't realize it until the next morning, but
I lost the plastic plate that holds the test strip in place. Shit!!! After
trying to make one of my own (with the back page of the Lonely Planet Guide), I
realized that wasn't going to work. (Should have brought urine strips as a back
up.) I called a toll free number on the back of my tester. Although it wasn't
toll free from overseas it was a great call. They informed me that if I was in
the US, they would overnight the piece to me free of charge -wow! Instead, they
gave me the phone number of the Istanbul
representative. She spoke English and got me a piece that although wasn't
perfect, it worked great. I will call the toll free number next time I travel
before I leave to get the numbers of the Lifescan
representatives in the countries to which I headed. Talk about a shot in the
Carry a complete set up of insulin
and needles (and tester if you have the space). While traveling in the newly
opened East Germany eight years ago on a train to Prague, someone stole my
but-bag. I was asleep and it was firmly attached to my backpack six inches from
my head. The bag contained insulin and needles but fortunately I had a back up
set sufficient to last the rest of the trip.
When site seeing, don't forget to
adjust for all the walking. My blood sugar levels are dramatically lower when I
walk all day.
Exercise! You'll never regret how
good it makes you feel. I attempted Rainier last year without a problem. Except
for the wind which meant we had to turn around at 12,400 feet. David G.
I have been a Certified Diabetes Educator for a long time now and I found your question very interesting.
First of all check out the country you are going to-----maybe the American Diabetes
Association can give you tips on certain countries. Ask them about travel tips.
Check out travel advisories on the web. I have known several people from India
whose family members back in India have diabetes. One was a doctor getting a
blood glucose meter from me to take back home to his mom.
When you travel it is best to carry
all supplies with you on the plane. Call ahead if you need a special meal plan
and carry food with you in case the plane is late and your mealtime is due
without any food.
Carry a prescriptions of each
medicine and supply that you will need. Carry two bottles of each insulin that
you are on and store in a different bag. Do
not put with your checked luggage because it may get very hot in that
Insulin should not be in the open if
it is over 86 degrees, so buy an insulated carry case for it.
Carry more supplies than what you
will need and store in several different places. If someone is traveling with
you let them take part of your supplies in their carry on.
Wear only the best comfortable, worn
in shoes..........never wear new ones on a trip.
The only problem anyone has ever told
me about when traveling was when going to Iran...........at the airport they
confiscated his insulin and blood glucose meter. He went to the American
Embassy and they sent him back home since it was too risky to be there. I wouldn't
think that would be a problem in India.
Get travel medical insurance and
check out your itinerary to see if there are clinics or hospitals on your
route...You might want to check into the American Embassy and tell them you are
traveling in underdeveloped countries. They can also give you tips. Better yet
if you could e mail them beforehand.
Study your itinerary on the www if
you can beforehand. This goes for anyone.
If you are type 1 and do urine ketone testing......don't forget them.
Maybe some bottled water and diet
fluids would be good to have along especially if you would get sick or when
traveling in the heat to not get dehydrated.
Take care and have fun. Barbara
It's important to take appropriate
documentation from your doctor...Syringes are difficult to explain in
customs...a 16 oz. soda bottle with lid is also helpful to transport used
needles and syringes for disposal.....
Recommended Diabetes reading list:
"The Diabetes Book, All Your Questions Answered", Biermann& Toohey
"The Diabetes Total Health Book", Biermann & Toohey
"The Diabetic Man", (Updated edition), Lodewick, Biermann & Toohey
"Outsmarting Diabetes", Beaser, Pub. (1994) Chromined
Diet options:"Reversing Diabetes", Julian Whitaker
"The USC D Healthy Diet for Diabetes" Albert, Grasse, Durning
Any tips, comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated and shared.
Contact Gary at: email@example.com
News and Information about Diabetes
of info & good links
Useful degree programs for studying health and safety:
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Another growing field is Medical Laboratory Science, which is similar to what is studied in a
Clinical Laboratory Science program.
The field of occupational safety is a growing one, with both bachelors and masters online safety degrees available.
To help our aging population, an online masters degree in gerontology can provide you with the resources you need.
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