Riding Motorcycles on Insulin

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Diabetes: A forum for Motorcycle Riders who also happen to be insulin dependent.

Updated: July 5, 2014

I started this page with the following statement on December 10, 1996
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 generous group.
I hope your "can do" spirit is contagious and that everyone who visits this page catches it.

August 2012:
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.



POSTED July 5, 1999

What 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 smma@mindspring.com


Storing Insulin
Brief profiles of some folks "Riding on Insulin"
Avoiding "On the Road" lows
"On the road" Testing
Portable Snacks
What Every Rider "Running on Insulin" Should Have Long Solo Rides
Foreign Travel
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 welcome.

Email Gary at smma@mindspring.com

Brief profiles of some folks "Riding on Insulin"

Dave, 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 fzzkm@optonline.net

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 1300.
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.

Gary, Posted March 14, 2007

Hello out there!
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 stick79@juno.com

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 clay1611@gmail.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 road.Clay

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@donahuehd.com
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 danparis@insidetrackpublications.com 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.
Dan Paris
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 bkyhill@hotmail.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 all safe.

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. 
Lyle,  lrmckean@hotmail.com

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 get one.
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 is for.

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. - Todd

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. loganyoder@hotmail.com

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 works wonders.

Ernie, Posted: February 4, 2000

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, 1999

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 and rolling!

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, 1999

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 is great!!!

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 last year. 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 cooler.

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 alcohol swabs.

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 thermos
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 from www.friouk.com.
Regards,Dave Hayward


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 riding.

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


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).

The strong 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 excellent results.)


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 fastest.

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 me.


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

The most 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.
Bracelets can be "seen" alerting an officer that you may be in serious need of help. Joe


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.

Foreign Travel- 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 very least.....SLR

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 arm!

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 compartment.

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
"The Zone"

Any tips, comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated and shared.
Contact Gary at: smma@mindspring.com THANKS!


News and Information about Diabetes

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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
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To help our aging population, an online masters degree in gerontology can provide you with the resources you need.

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