Diabetes Forecast

A Pledge and a Challenge

By Sara Sklaroff, Editorial Director ,

It's not unusual for me to be moved by articles we run in Diabetes Forecast. But in editing this month's issue, I came across a story that has made a big impact on my life.

It's about the Red Riders, people with diabetes who participate in Tour de Cure, the American Diabetes Association's cycling fund-raiser. There are 80 Tours at different sites around the country each year, mostly in May and June. Our story focuses on Bob Avritt. Avritt had volunteered at a Tour de Cure event back in 1995, but it wasn't until 2005—after his own diabetes diagnosis—that he decided to ride in the event. By training as a cyclist, he got a lot healthier, too.

So why did this story speak to me? Well, I too had never even considered riding in Tour de Cure, but for a different reason. Most people learn to ride a bike in childhood, weathering a few scraped knees in the process. No big deal. Somehow, I skipped that stage. A city kid, daughter of parents who themselves never rode bikes, I just never learned, and as the years went by, I figured that riding would be one of those things I never did. To be honest, the idea of it was incomprehensible at best: How do you not fall? And frightening at worst: You could fall!

Still, I kept thinking about Avritt, and about all the things people with diabetes do to keep ourselves healthy: daily blood glucose checks and shots, diet and exercise, and constant vigilance. I thought, too, of how hard I worked to have a healthy pregnancy with diabetes, and how much more difficult that was than riding a bike.

Or so I am hoping: Inspired by Avritt, I have made a pledge to learn to ride a bike and join the June 14 Tour de Cure in Reston, Va. I've formed a team, the Training Wheels, and I'll be chronicling the ups and downs of learning to cycle at my new blog, sarastrainingwheels.blogspot.com. You can find a Tour near you by visiting diabetes.org/tour, where you can also learn about the Red Rider program and other ways to get involved. Because, seriously: If I can do it, you can, too.



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