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Impulse 101 08-03-2008 11:54 AM

Anyone else with Type I Diabetes?
I'm still kind of new around here, I spend more time reading than posting because I'm still looking forward to getting a Buell Ulysses and until then I'm local only on my Suzuki SV1000S, which is kind of abusive after only 100 miles. I put away a lot of miles on my Buell S3T prior to getting the Suzuki, and I really miss the ability to ride a 600 mile day without hurting. It's a blast in the twisties though.


I'm looking at riding from Milwaukee to Alaska. I was stationed there in the late 80's and still have friends in Eagle River who I visit as often as possible. One of the few things that I havn't figured out yet is how to travel my insulin while on the road. In the past for shorter trips I've used a small cold box and with an ice pack. Since I'm on an insulin pump I just fill resivoirs and put them in instead of travelling full bottles of insulin.

The pump also makes it much easier to regulate my blood sugars while on the road. I generally set the basal rate to about half of what I use when I'm not riding, since I tend to eat less on the road and I burn a lot more calories than when I'm just sitting around the house.

I try and keep my sugars over 130 but under 150 while on the road, it avoids any unfortunate incidents. I'm lucky because I havn't become hypo resistant yet, so I can still feel it. I know that it makes it that much more important to test whenever I feel tired or a little weird, but luckily a sweet tarts or five can fix anything quickly, but keeping levels up takes carbs and protein.

Diabetes has never been a reason for me to quit everything I like to do. I might have to be a little more careful, but I'm not stopping anything. That said, I'm taking every precaution that I can in order to do things safely.


Gunslinger1 08-03-2008 03:22 PM

I do not know your experience level, how much you have traveled on a bike or your fitness levels and all of these will play a part in how how your body responds to the stress (mental and physical) of a multiday trip. The stress will ultimatly determine how your sugar level changes and thus needing your attention. I do not think anyone can answer your question but you. If it were me I would start with shorter trips extending them as time goes on to find out how you will respond. Doing them in the lower 48 will allow you access to the proper care if you get into trouble or you get surprised. Traveling remote on multiday trip without knowing how to handle your sugar not a good idea...IMHO

Good Luck.......... I am certain Adventure Riding will increase insulin sensativity.

The Breeze

Impulse 101 08-04-2008 07:18 AM

My experience level is intermediate. I've been riding on road or dirt for 20 years and have done short and long trips. I'm an ex army paratrooper, so I've spent a lot of time outdoors in some pretty crap conditions and my physical fitness level while not what it used to be isn't terrible either. I have very good control over my diabetes and have done quite a bit of travelling and adventuring since I was diagnosed 12 years ago at age 26.

I'm not really mining for information as much as trying to start a conversation between other riders that might be in the same situation as myself. I work a very intense job with terrible hours (TV news microwave truck engineer 4am until noon or whenever) so I am used to managing my IDDM-I in adverse conditions. I take it dead seriously since I have a two year old son, four year old daughter and an amazing wife that I want to get back to after each and all of my little adventures, regardless of what they may be.


BeakerKTM 08-07-2008 07:57 AM

Diabetes and travel
Hello Impulse 101,
Like yourself i have this type of diabetes and have had it since age 6(now 33).I have suffered with hypo problems in the past but now ok,so far!
Myself and two other good friends are heading out on saturday to do a weeks road trip of approx 1700miles round trip from the Isle of Wight to John 'O Groats in Scotland,doesn't sound much to some but this is our first of many, hopefully.My friends know about my diabetes and know what to look for if they think i'm having problems,I now carry a Glucogen Pen with me incase of worst case senarios and my friends know how to use it.It's good to have friends that know what to do:D .
I'm guessing that you wear an I.D. bracelet/necklace with details,if not try one of these,i've just brought one and certainly a good idea .Have fun.

Impulse 101 08-13-2008 08:12 AM

Hey Beaker,
Good to hear from you.

I have a Medic-Alert necklace. I should wear it more, but I will definetly wear it on long trips.

Scottland sounds like a blast and judging by the first episode of Long Way Down it should be a great tour. My ancestry is Scottish/Welsh/Irish/English. So I've always toyed with the idea of doing a fly and rent/ride, but its nothing more than a pipe dream at this time.

How are you carrying your insulin?


abruzzi 08-16-2008 08:45 PM

I'm type one. (rare adult onset type one. ugh.) Anyway, I inject manually, instead of the pump. I've found I have to check my levels more frequently when I travel. As for keeping the insulin, first I would only worry if the trip was longer than a week or so. If it was long enough to worry about the insulin, I would just throw it in a ziplock and put it in with the food. I usually have a small bag of blue ice, to keep some of the food cold, so I just throw the insulin in with it.

It's easier if you hotel it, mot hotels will have a refrigerator at the front desk, and will store medicine in there.


Impulse 101 08-18-2008 07:31 AM

I got Type I at 26, they still consider that juvenal onset but very late. I'm probably going to do the cooler thing too. I'm also making sure that I'm on file at Wal-mart pharmacy so I can get a fresh bottle or two while in Anchorage. That will make life a little easier.


Knollwood 08-19-2008 04:35 PM

insulin not a problem
Check ahead, I think you can buy fresh insulin in Canada without a script, and it's much less $$$. I carry a fresh prescription (recently dated) from my physician when i travel for over a week. Temps aren't high enough on average up to Alaska to spoil your vials either.

Good luck and enjoy.

C8Chris 08-20-2008 11:48 AM

I've had Type 1 diabetes for about 30 years. I rode the Alaska trip from Cincinnati to Alaska and back solo. If your diabetes is in good control when you're not touring, you should be OK for touring as well. The risk of being wrong is higher, of course.

I didn't refrigerate my insulin. I had heard a while ago that it loses about 1% of its effectiveness for each month that it's a room temperature. I'm not a drug rep, but that rings true in my experience. I've not a problem with the insluin being useless or having insulin out of the refrigerator being "too strong."

Leaving it by its lonesome in your Givi case on a hot day is another story.

Definitely wear a medic alert. You'll need it if you can't speak for yourself. I do that all of the time anyway as a place to hang my pump when showering.

Bring scripts from your doctor of all of your medication. It helps when crossing the border, it helps when you need supplies. It just simply helps- if you never use them, fine. If you needed them and don't have them, it's a problem.

Been to six continents and type 1 diabetes and travel has not been a problem.

On a non-diabetic Alaska note, I'd strongly recommend riding up and taking the Alaska Marine Highway back.

Good luck. It's a cool trip- definitely gives a "last frontier" kind of feel.

pookiebear 08-21-2008 05:55 AM

Frio cooling wallets for pens, pumps, or bottles. IT works. I have the large. you just soak it in water and it stays cooler than room temp for 3 or 4 days. It has a GEL inside that soaks up the water and evaporates it slowly to keep the inside of the pouch cool. When it starts to dry out you just soak it in water again.

jefnvk 08-26-2008 11:02 AM

I too am Type 1 diabetic (also a late onset). While I haven't done much long range bike traveling, I have done extensive traveling. I have not found it to be a problem having insulin unrefrigerated for reasonable lengths of time (say less than a month), at reasonable temperatures.

Regarding the border crossing, one point is that it may be easier to get across with the medicine in the original bottle, instead of in the cartridges. I've never had a problem, but it is potentially one less thing to worry about.

As mentioned, a glucagon kit is vital, as well as someone that knows how to use it. Also, snacks that can be easily consumed, and are high in carbs, in case of low sugar. I don't really see the point in medic alert jewelry if you are wearing a pump, but I still have one.

GRBTA 08-27-2008 03:17 PM

I am not a diabetic, but I am sorry about your problem. Igloo made a small electic cooler that plugged into a 12V socket, it carried 9 - 12 oz cans. I think it was called the Igloo Mobile Mate 9, you might be able to rig that up to your bike and also have a few cold ones at the end of your day :clap

Perry B 08-27-2008 09:24 PM

Nice to read I'm not alone....
I'm a Type 2.... just useing pills for now...... it helps to have FRIENDS that look out for me when we ride!
Think about making a ICE number on your cell phone, I have put all my info there, if I cant speek for my self... Medical people will look for a ICE number on cell phone.... & my rideing buddys know it is there.

Ever time I ride it is a small little victory for controll.

Impulse 101 08-30-2008 01:16 PM

I found a small, cheap answer at the grocery store this week.

It's a small metal thermos bottle. Big enough for the insulin bottles and plenty enough ice to keep it cool for 14 hours. I did a test already with the thermos sitting on top of my stove, worked great.

jefnvk- I have an ICE # on my phone and you're right it is a good idea. My wife's new motorolla/verizon phone actually has the ICE# as part of the software. Good on Verizon for standarizing their phone software and remembering this feature.


needles 03-04-2009 05:32 PM


Originally Posted by Impulse 101
I found a small, cheap answer at the grocery store this week.

It's a small metal thermos bottle. Big enough for the insulin bottles and plenty enough ice to keep it cool for 14 hours. I did a test already with the thermos sitting on top of my stove, worked great.

I'm a T1 for about 10 years now and have found that the thermos solution works pretty well. I put the vials of insluin in film canisters (tape on the top as the bottles are too big to close). I then fill with ice. The film canisters help protect the insulin sitting on ice. Gives it about .25 inches of buffer. Sealed, the thermos lasts a day or two with the insulin nice and chilly.

In the US you can get NPH and R w/o a script, but not Humalog/Novolog.


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