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Safe cycling and diabetes: Before, during and after your ride

In the diabetes community, springtime is Tour de Cure® season. Whether you're participating or supporting this annual American Diabetes Association event, it's almost certainly on your radar.

Even if you aren't riding to raise awareness and funds for diabetes, it's easy to see why cycling is the activity of choice. Whether you're 5 or 95, prefer Lycra or flannel, pedal around the block or ride competitively, cycling suits just about everyone.

If you haven't been riding much over the winter (or longer), here are a few quick reminders.

Before you ride this year.

Check your helmet and get your bike tuned up. If it's been a while since you last bought a helmet, it's worth seeing how light and comfortable they've become. Make sure yours gives you a snug fit.

Before every ride.

Sometimes cycling doesn't feel like it takes much effort, even when your body is working hard. So, as with any activity, check your blood sugar. Some doctors recommend 2 tests, about 20 minutes apart, so you can see how you're trending. Eat a snack if necessary, based on your healthcare team's recommendations for pre-activity blood glucose levels.1

3 other good ideas:

  • Pack a snack you can eat one-handed
  • Wear your medical ID
  • Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back

While you ride.

Check your blood sugar every 30 or 40 minutes, and eat a snack if you're going low. You may actually find that your blood sugar spikes, so be prepared with insulin, too.1 And drink that water you always bring along.

After you finish.

Don't forget that your blood glucose levels can be unpredictable for several hours after you exercise, so keep an eye on it.1

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1Diabetic Connect. Bicycling with diabetes? Follow these 7 tips. Available at: Accessed March 22, 2017.

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