Riding My Bike
By Travis Grubbs
In my May 2010 article I wrote about purchasing a mountain bike and riding it 2 to 3 miles a day, 5 days a week. I was content with this low level of physical activity, as riding my bike helped me control my type 2 diabetes as well as other related conditions. Then my little brother, Marvin, who is something of a physical activity guru, came for a visit. He earned that title because after college he lost over a hundred pounds, all through diet and exercise. In my world, Marvin is The Man when it comes to running, biking, and spinning.
Marvin assessed my physical regimen and issued the following suggestions for when I'm riding my bike:
- Wear a helmet! He couldn’t believe I was riding my bike along some fairly busy highways without a helmet. He then remembered his big brother was a bit thick headed, so he also “helped” me pick out a proper helmet.
- Increase my riding distance to ten miles, or my riding time to forty-five minutes, and pedal fast (no leisure riding).
- Get a mirror installed on my bike so that I can see what is actually roaring up behind me.
During the week of Marvin’s visit (Memorial Day) I increased my route to five miles. At that time I weighed 225 pounds. Now, at the end of June, I have increased my route to eight miles and I weigh 220 pounds. The new weight loss agrees with me, and my wife likes my new physique. That's right--I've become eye candy!
In my quest to maintain a physical regimen, and my eye candy status, I have to face such obstacles as the weather, break-downs, and time. All of which come in ahead of the “Can I pedal my butt over this hill?” obstacle. Here in the southeastern United States, we are practically guaranteed hot and humid days, with thunderstorms in the late afternoons and evenings. This summer season has been no exception.
I try to ride my bike between 5 and 6:30 p.m. This June, the afternoon temperatures have usually been between 90 and 105 degrees. While the heat doesn't bother me, I carry a quart of water on my bike to keep me hydrated. Rain and thunderstorms are another matter. I have already been rained on, rained out, and I recently raced a fast-moving thunderstorm to my house (I won, but barely).
Then there are the mechanical problems. The most common one is the flat tire. That happened on June 16th, 4.5 miles into my ride. I'm not talking a about a gradual reduction in air pressure: the front tire suddenly went flat. It was then that I realized how woefully unprepared I was for such an event. I had a repair kit, but no air. Thankfully, my wife was available to rescue me from the side of the road. I patched the flat that evening, and was at the bike shop the next day where I purchased a spare inner tube, and a CO2 cartridge kit for inflating it on the road.
But my biggest obstacle has been time. Even though exercising is a noble idea and activity, there are a lot of competitors for the time needed for exercising. These include time for work, family, social events, etc. I have to jealously guard my time and not ignore the other demands, but work around them.
It also helps to maintain a sense of humor. Exercising is an activity where you will not look your best, especially if it requires you to wear a helmet. I have summed up my position, and posted it on my Facebook page:
“I have increased my exercise route to 8 miles. My neighbors think I am smiling as they see me riding my bike. That's ok with me, but I am really just gasping for air.”
So to my fellow type 2’s: take the initiative and find ways to exercise, whether in your home or in the great outdoors. Feel free to let me know how you are doing. I can be contacted on Facebook, or in the dLife.com Community.
dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.
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