Diabetic Unicyclists

I am diagnosed with type one diabetes. Am I alone here?

My niece, who is deaf, is also type I. She can ride, but doesn’t do it often. Don’t worry, there are others as well!

Re: Diabetic Unicyclists

On Tue, 6 Mar 2007 14:28:37 -0600, dunawan wrote:
> I am diagnosed with type one diabetes. Am I alone here?

I was diagnosed 13 years ago, within a year of learning to ride (I
don’t remember exactly how long it was, or even which came first).

Unicycle conventions play merry hell with my control, what with the
usually extreme differences to my normal food, exercise and sleep
patterns (not to mention climate and timezone if it’s abroad). So I
just have to keep a closer eye on things by doing more blood tests,
and being prepared to adjust my sugar levels up or down at any time
with extra food or insulin.

As with any other activity, diabetes is no reason to give it up.
I have shied away from endurance races though, but this is due in
equal part to my wimpiness.

Peter Haworth pmh@edison.ioppublishing.com
“There are two kinds of people, those who finish
what they start, and so on…”
– Robert Byrne

I’m type 2.
I’ve been injecting myself with insulin twice a day for the last eighteen years.
The novelty wore off after about a month.

When I go riding I always make sure I have a bottle or two of Lucozade in my rucksack.
Never had a hypo on the wheel.

I can never remember if type 2 is injection dependant or tablet dependant.

I’m on injections.

Its not stopping me from riding. Nothing will stop me from unicycling. The only thing that would stop me is if I was physicly unable to ride a unicycle (God forbid). And even at that I would still try to find a way around it.

Not alone, I’m type I also

I was diagnosed type 1 about 5 years ago and inject myself with quick-acting insulin every time I eat anything with carbohydrates and with long-acting insulin just before going to bed at night.

I took up unicycling about 1.5 years ago. Started on a 24 inch wheel and then got interested in distance riding and now ride mostly on the Nimbus 29er. I ride at least 30 minutes everyday with frequent rides of about an hour or so. Last year, I participated in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure and completed 30 miles of the first day on my uni. It was a tough 5-hour ride with lots of hills and I still felt like a beginner. I didn’t know about seatpost rail adapters then and it was the seat discomfort that ultimately stopped me from finishing. Diabetes management was challenging on the ride in that it was very hard to eat enough to keep my glucose up. I found that after the first two hours, I needed about 35 grams of carbohydrates every 20 minutes while riding with no insulin dosing. Checking on the glucose level every ten miles or so helps. I’m considering trying again this year.

I’ve noticed a direct association between my glucose levels and my unicycling performance. Of course, when I am hypoglycemic (below 75 mg/dL), it’s very difficult to balance and ride. But it’s interesting that even with glucose levels between 80 and 100, I have a more difficult time freemounting and carving out turns. My best performance occurs when my glucose level is between 120 and 150. Higher than 150, and my performance degrades again. I carry a granola bars with me all the time so that I can immediately correct any hypoglycemia. In fact, I mounted a small under-seat bike pouch on the seat post of my Nimbus - inside: ID with Diabetic alert info and phone numbers, granola bar, coins for a phone call, and bandaids. It’s always there for emergencies. Gotta wear wrist and hand protection because diabetics are at greater risk of infections. When I am not unicycling, I try to keep my glucose levels between 80 and 110.

Sounds like a lot of work, but actually, unicycling helps me manage my diabetes better. I am better aware of my glucose levels and because of this awareness, I am in better control.

Good luck,

I use the Humalog pen for my fast-acting (every time i eat) and 22 units of Lantus every night and every morning. ( Im guessing the Humalog pen and lantus is also what you use.)

That was a great post by abridged!

My neice has a pump. The old pump required monitoring, and basically did an automatic “base” injection, but you still had to test and bolis yourself around meals and when needed. I think she’s getting a new pump that monitors her blood sugar all by itself. If it works, it should have a huge impact on her long-term health as the extreme highs and lows she sometimes hit have long-term effects. Plus I don’t think she has to stick herself anymore, or at least not as much.

For abridged, I wonder if on-ride stuff like Power-Gel would work for the big rides? Or they might hit you with too much glucose at once? I have found they work well for me in the right circumstances, namely a long race or other long, hard event. They are much less useful for recreational rides, or rides with a lot of stops.


Yeah im actually looking into an insulin pump, I have a feeling it will make living with diabetes much easier. Especially considering its the closest thing to an artificial pancreas.

One of my best friends has an insulin pump, one of the new ones that do everything automaticly.

I watched him inject for about four years and then he dissapeared for about a week and came back with the pump. He loves it.

He plays touch football and rugby and leads a pretty active life, alas he just left to go to uni so i wont see him again for a while :frowning:


Yeah, i’m type 1 (and so are you, Into The Blue, haha). When you go on random, hard rides it sometimes gets tricky. Sometimes i don’t get the shakes, but yet i can barely stay upright on my uni, so i know right away that i need sugar. It’s really a big pain in the a**.

And here’s a warning to you: Pay close attention to your sugars when you’re alone. On a Sunday in November, i came home around noon and fell asleep on the couch… skipping lunch. I guess i went into a non-comatose, but yet very hypoglycemic state. My girlfriend called me that evening, and since she knew i was home, yet wasn’t picking up the phone, she just assumed the worst and called the paramedics while she drove over to my place. When the paramedics arrived, oddly, i answered the door. Seems fine, right? Well, no. That extended, hypoglycemic sleep made me lose my memory. I knew who i was, and the names of my friends, but that’s about it. I didn’t know where i worked, what year it was, which city i was in; nothing like that. I had to stay in the hospital for a week while i had all sorts of MRI and CT scans done to my head, and then i couldn’t return to work for another 3 weeks while my girlfriend babysat me.

I’ve somewhat recovered, but my memory is only about 65% as good as it used to be. Seriously, i feel retarded now. My grandparents remind me to do stuff now! And, i guess it’s such as rare thing that the Ottawa Hospital is now doing a research study on what happened to me.

That’s just a warning to you. Definitely keep riding, but make sure you know what’s going on with your sugar while you’re doing it.

wow, nice girlfriend. hope you get better.

I forgot to mention the Memory effects

Yes, I have experienced the same kind of thing. If my blood glucose goes too far above or below normal, my short-term memory goes with it. It is a very strange experience that has been the source of a lot of heart-ache. One thing that really helps helps me - Ginko Baloba. I really think two pills a day makes an incredible difference in my short-term ability . The effects are pretty quick, too. You’ll find them in any vitamin section of your local supermarket or drug store.

Good luck,

Thanks John. I’ve tried power gels from time to time and they seem most useful for times when my glucose level is too low or is rapidly declining. I try hard to avoid those instances, but when they occur, granola bars don’t act quickly enough. After thinking about it from this post, I’m going to pack one in my emergency bag on my seatpost. But you’re right, as a “maintenance” snack the power gel is too quick and too much at one time.

Diabetes treatment options

That’s about the same as my treatment. I’ve been considering the pump for some time, but just haven’t come to that decision point yet. I do have a concern about what happens if I were to fall while wearing one. They’re not cheap.

Anyone out there use Exubera, the inhaled insulin?


I heard about that a few years ago, that it was supposed to come out in june (cant remember what year)…Ive never heard of it after that though.

my father lives that routine for 40 years and I‘ve learned a lot from this experience. The main thing is: in order to keep the diabetes under control he must have a perfect health - or as close as possible. So nowadays he‘s 54 and is almost better fitted then me.

so it‘s has a good side, even being the most common thing to say, in practice that‘s true. The needle‘s and the routine will become… routine and unicycling can be your therapy/hobby/sport/job…

good luck!!!

mm me too. :roll_eyes:

i have been since about the age of 11.


fo’ sho’.

i don’t really care what anyone says at the moment about diabetes preventing me from riding. riding makes me feel good. as long as i feel like riding i’ll ride, now that i’ve found that i’m able to (i only started last year). however feeling low makes it difficult for me to ride so i don’t let it happen too often, and if i feel a hypo coming on, i won’t ride until my levels are sorted out.

i think riding is a good motivation for me as i hate the sluggish, “i don’t wanna ride” feeling that is associated with going to the loo really often and being really hot and bothered :angry: instead of chilled :sunglasses: and ez when my blood sugars are running too high, and it’s just harder to focus when riding in that kinda state.

what really annoys me though is that i like to ride whenever, whereever- you know: just when the urge takes me, and to have to be aware of the state of my sugars and balancing my foods and everything and planning how much i’m going to ride and so on, it just feels really limiting.

i used to use Humalog and Lantus, but now i’m on two lots of Novomix 30 a day.

people often assume stuff when they see me with my unicycle. i was approached this evening by someone canvassing for bone marrow donors or something and they were like, “ah, you look really young and fit and healthy- you’d be ideal…” i went to go and check it out- the first question i was asked by one of the people at the temporary centre was, “are you between 18 and 30” or something like that. then “are you healthy?” and i was like “um… well…” but their impression of me had been- he rides a unicycle, he must be fit.

anyway, i told them i had diabetes and they said they had to get someone else who referred me to a chick upstairs in that building (who i thought was pretty attractive by the way and for whom i’m sure i’d have signed almost anything if she’d wanted me to… [sorry for thinking from my saddle, but i won’t deny it- that’s how it was:o ]). well, aaanyway, the long and the short of it is that she asked me how i managed my diabetes; by diet or insulin, and after i replied, her face fell:( and she said i couldn’t do it even if i’d wanted to.

yeah, having diabetes sucks. and unfortunately, you can’t just ignore it.

but at least you’re not alone.:slight_smile: