This website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Read full disclaimer.
Today, I biked for an entire hour and my blood glucose stayed in range! I am feeling good about the increased exercise and about the success at managing my diabetes while cycling. Bike riding is something I’ve been wanting to do again, but it was difficult to do because my blood glucose would drop quickly from the exercise 🙁
I actually have been wanting to bike ride for over a year and a half, since I first got my insulin pump, but exercising has been super challenging because I can get hypoglycemia quickly. Nothing causes a blood glucose drop as fast as exercise. ⬇️⬇️⬇️ Three arrows down, if I’m not careful…
Recently, I’ve had some success, as I’ve been bike riding about 40 minutes at a time, and today was the first time I increased this to over an hour.
I feel like a novice here, as my strategy is simply to keep trying… and work on improving my management and techniques each time.
What I did before Bike Riding
- I did not bolus in the morning before bike riding.
- I set my insulin pump to Temp Basal (Exercise mode) so that it would give me less basal insulin before the ride.
- I drank a chocolate milk and a rather large glass of orange juice. I estimate at least 50 carbs. No bolus for these.
- I packed my backpack, and made sure that I had three juice boxes and plenty of candy, just in case. During past (shorter) rides, I drank one juice box when I started to see my blood glucose trend down. I’ve never needed all three juice boxes, but better to have more than I’ll need.
- I silenced my high alerts on my insulin pump. I don’t need a high alarm to interrupt my ride, since the exercise is going to lower my blood glucose anyway.
What I did during the ride
- I checked my CGM frequently to see how I was doing. I checked about every 15-20 minutes.
- I ate some candy when I saw a double down arrow trend.
What I did after the ride
- After the ride, I was hungry for a meal, and my blood glucose started trending up, as it often does after intense exercise. I tried to not over-correct, and I bolused a bit smaller amount for the food than normal, since intense exercise generally makes me more insulin sensitive.
- Later in the day, I ended up needing to treat hypoglycemia…. Apparently, my body didn’t need as much insulin as usual.
Showing off my Exercise Results
Here are a couple of screenshots from the Fitbit app which shows my current work out and previous bike rides.
Articles about Bike Riding with Type 1 Diabetes
LADA Diabetes is treated as Type 1, so these articles felt most relevant. I learned a lot from reading, as my personal experience is limited since I’m relatively new to this diabetes thing (compared to those with 10, 20, 40+ years of living with this!).
- The Thrill of the Ride: Bike Racing with Diabetes (DiaTribe). Former Team Novo Nordisk cyclist Ezra Ward-Packard shares how he manages his diabetes while endurance training, everything he’s learned over the last 12 years, and his advice for aspiring endurance athletes.
- Cycling – Using a pump, by John Richards. This page from RunSweet.com has a lot of advice from people with diabetes. Starts with John’s article and continues with content on cycling and managing diabetes from other writers.
- Seven Tips for Cycling With Diabetes (DiabetesSelfManagement.com) This was a really helpful article with practical info for people just getting started bike riding. Includes information about how choosing the right saddle is so very important. And the advice to take more glucose than you think you’ll need.
- Cycling and Type 1 Diabetes: how the pros manage (CyclingTips.com) Did you know that there was a pro team of cyclists who all have diabetes? Check out how the pros of Team Novo Nordisk (formerly Team Type 1) manage their diabetes.
- 6 Lessons From Cycling 10,000 Miles with Type 1 Diabetes This is a special guest post from BioLite Ambassador Annalisa van den Bergh. Annalisa is the founder of Miles of Portraits, a magazine and film series about the people she meets while cycling around the world.
- What Cycling Really, Really Far Taught Us About Our Type 1 Diabetes (BeyondType1)