My 7 Tips For Cycling With Diabetes

7:44 AM
My 7 Tips For Cycling With Diabetes

It's been 13 months since I was a mother. Since the birth of my daughter, time has gone like lightning! To make a short story, I am now traveling with my spouse Clément and our daughter Yaëlle for about 18 months. We are cycling around Europe.

This is an opportunity for me to talk about the effectiveness of physical exercise in the treatment of diabetes! Cycling is a challenge, and diabetes adds to it. With my experience of (already) 8 months of cyclo-tourism with a baby, here are 7 points, my advice for diabetics.

1. Prepare your trip
You have to travel to realize that it is too easy to take care of yourself at home! To travel is to leave the comfort, in particular, of our habits of responsible consumption and our medicinal teas within reach of kettle. Before leaving, informed diabetics will inquire about the places visited. What are we eating? Will it be very hot? How to ensure the freshness of our plants and / or medicines? Will there be pharmacies and herbalists? What are the health insurance agreements between countries? Are medical prescriptions compatible?

Traveling less than 6 months brings with you everything you need during your trip. But after this time, it will be necessary to refuel. Before leaving, we juggled with the French administration for several weeks to register for social security. This allows me to be assured of being able to buy insulin and bandages as needed.

2. In everyday life
We cycle around Europe to climb cliffs, spend time with our loving daughter, visit eco-villages and live fully. We have a website filled with beautiful photos to talk about our adventures: www .enjolivelo.com . To manage my diabetes every day, I do my best.

As I am halfway between insulin-dependence and natural therapies, I do a little bit of everything. I left with 6 months of insulin stock and strips, and one needle per insulin cartridge. (Hush, I'm certainly not telling you to do the same, I'm telling you what I've been doing since I've always been about generating less waste.) I did not take hypoglycemic herbal remedies because I'm breastfeeding and almost all are discouraged for pregnant and lactating women. That said, now that Yaëlle eats a lot and she sucks less, when I find in nature, I happen to drink infusions or decoctions (nettle, dandelion, burdock).

I must say that I do not need a lot of medication when riding a bike. We carry a lot of luggage (climbing equipment, camping, computer, trailer, baby and all that implies) and the energy spent uses a lot of carbohydrates!

But otherwise, I do exactly as usual: I eat vegan (see Being vegan on a trip: impossible? ), Organic, whole, not too sweet (but a little more than before anyway, it's a gift that insulin allows me), I love life and I go at my own pace.

3. Stress and comfort
Carry several tens of pounds, 4-5 hours a day, for several months, in the mountains... it is possible when we know how to listen to each other. When we crossed our first pass (just 1000m) between France and Spain, I could not believe I had done that. I have done a lot worse since then and it's not over! I have never been very athletic, but I realize that casually, since the beginning of our adventure, I took muscle and accomplished some feats. I think that if I got there, it's because I've had good habits. Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty, stop before you feel pain, and sleep well at night, so you do not have to waste energy after physical activity. Slowly, but surely, little train goes far.

4. Snacks of champions!
Of course, our food choices are important. In my little surprise box, which we open during the day to nibble, I always put a good amount of vegetable vegetables and fruits, as well as nuts, seeds, dried fruits, dark chocolate, sometimes hummus. The box is just in my backpack. Perfect because always accessible in case of slack or rage of sugar (fruit)!

5. Eat for pleasure and for glycemic stability
Between snacks, we must eat well too. Protein, good fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, trace elements, everything must be there. You know the song, our plates are composed of the ten vegetal food groups. We eat all kinds of meals including greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. We add spices and seaweed, we eat a pill of 2500mcg of cherry-flavored vitamin B12 every Monday (our daughter takes a quarter), and you're done.

What do we eat in vegan and diabetic camping?

Among the meals that come back often, because delicious, economical and quick to prepare, there are:

  • Pasta with tofu, tomato sauce or pesto, with all kinds of vegetables and herbs
  • A dahl of orange lentils with carrots, green beans, carrot tops, Indian spices
  • A couscous full of tomatoes (when it is the season, we take advantage!), Greenery and sprouts
  • Asian soup made with ginger, garlic, tamari, seaweed, whole noodles and tofu
  • A salad of raw vegetables with grilled tempeh
  • Hummus cooked from chickpea flour (too easy!), Good bread and crudités
  • In the morning, oats with soy milk, fruits, peanuts, seeds, sometimes chia


Since we only have one pan and a small stove, we eat a lot of tofu and tempeh (ready-to-eat), and less dry legumes that are longer to prepare and cook. Our meals include a lot of raw vegetables. Once we have access to a gas stove and / or an oven, we take the opportunity to eat red beans, real chickpeas, and cook more elaborate dishes.

6. Avoid hypoglycaemia
To avoid losing the pedals, the ideal is stability. From one meal to another, eat about the same proportions of legumes, cereals, starchy foods, vegetables and fruits. This allows you to take the same amount of insulin without asking too much. Consume her hypoglycemic herbal teas without fear of getting too high. Staying vigilant, however!

That said, we are not robots. There are always situations that come out of the routine, even more when traveling than otherwise. It is better to avoid big differences, which make the calculation of insulin units more random. Avoid very sweet products, therefore, since they require too much insulin. And eat regularly, every 2-3 hours. When you provide a great physical effort, it is better to take a little less insulin than more. You have to listen to the symptoms in order to react quickly. Sometimes fatigue or post-exercise tremor can be confused with a hypo. Measure your blood sugar to check, eat if necessary, and we're ready to go!

7. Long live the sport :)
In my experience, the difference between a sports day or sedentary day is about 3 U insulin per meal. It's enormous ! Sometimes I do not take insulin at all when driving a lot. Without necessarily taking a bike tour of Europe with climbing equipment and your children (but why not ?!), I invite you once again to move, move, move.

And you, how do you integrate more sports into your lives? What are your diabetic tips for traveling with confidence?