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Bike Against Diabetes: Ship to Shore Tour de Cure

Ship to Shore Tour de Cure    Sunday April 29, 2012

Biking is a very popular form of exercise and transportation for Americans. Cities continuously update and add trails, and families look for a way to cut back on gas prices, while also spending time together.

These qualities have made bicycling the second most popular outdoor activity in America, according to the 2011 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report for the Outdoor Industry Association. In 2010, Americans went on 2.44 billion bicycling outings.

As the weather warms, make certain your biking equipment is ready for the season. Check brakes, grease the chain, and make certain helmets still fit properly on your children's heads. Take a short ride around the neighborhood to ensure everything works and that the tires are sufficiently filled with air. If it's been a couple of years since the bikes were purchased or cleaned, it might also be a good idea to take them into a pro shop to have all the gears and brakes inspected.

One fun way to get out with your family, friends or co-workers on your bicycles this summer is through the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure, which has routes designed for all riders - from 8-mile family rides to 100-mile century rides. It is a ride, not a race, so participants are encouraged to go at their own pace. Tours will take place in 44 states across the country to benefit the American Diabetes Association and its efforts to stop diabetes.  The Los Angeles Tour de Cure takes place on Sunday, April 29th in Long Beach beginning and ending at the Queen Mary.

"Diabetes touches so many people's lives. Exercise and nutrition are important components in managing diabetes," says Chris Carmichael, national spokesperson for the Tour de Cure and founder and CEO of Carmichael Training Systems Inc. He was named the U.S. Olympic Committee's Coach of the Year in 1999. "The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure is a great combination of fun exercise and raising funds and awareness about diabetes and its impact on families."

More than 60,000 cyclists are expected to participate in the Tour de Cure events this year. If you have diabetes, join the Red Riders. This special program recognizes riders who have diabetes the day of the ride with a red jersey. During the Tour, participants call out "Go Red Rider" to encourage and celebrate the Red Riders who are fighting to manage their diabetes and live a healthier life.

Take advantage of the biking opportunity the Tour de Cure provides, and get your family out for a 10 mile or even longer bike tour. For more information or to register for a local tour, visit www.diabetes.or/shiptoshoretourdecure or call 888-DIABETES ext. 7473.

 Human Interest Stories

Marty Blount:

Marty found out he had diabetes in Jan 2009. His doctor told him to exercise so he could lose weight and told him to pick an exercise he enjoyed. He hadn’t been on a bike for 20 yrs so decided running was the best option. He tried running for 3 weeks but didn’t know where to run, or even how to run, “It was killing me”, and he found it boring. But every time he went running, he passed his bike hanging in the garage.

Then a close friend suggested riding and provided guidance. He hauled down the bike, found he enjoyed cycling and never looked back. Within two months lost 35 lbs.

He joined the Lockheed Martin Tour de Cure team in 2009 – the first time the Tour de Cure closed the great port bridges to let riders cycle across them. After the ride he called the manager of the event and provided feedback that he felt the Tour de Cure was not very diverse from an ethnic stand-point. The Tour manager said, welcome to the committee, do you want to help us encourage more African American, Latino, Pacific Islander riders? He accepted the challenge.

Aiming to help recruit riders to the join Tour de Cure in 2010,  Marty attended a cycling event in Dominguez Hills when he met a man called Kevin Evans who was a leader of a cycling club called Major Motion. Marty joined Major motion and helped Kevin reactivate the recreational cycling division of the bike club.

Last year Major Motion had a team of almost 30 riders participating in Tour de Cure who raised over $15,000.

Marty continues to promote Tour de Cure to riders of all ethnic backgrounds and has been instrumental in making the event far more diverse. One man’s discovery that he has diabetes, has led to enormous changes in the face of Tour de Cure here in Los Angeles and has helped promote cycling to families in  Inglewood and surrounding neighborhoods.

Members of Major Motion posing after riding last year’s Tour de Cure. Marty Blount back row center sitting on the throne to the left.


Team ABBYNormal.

Team ABBYNormal is based around a wonderful American family: Randy and Catherine “Cat” Erickson and their children, Annabelle and Alex.

Randy is a pilot who rode in our 2009 ride because he liked riding. At that point he had no known connection to diabetes. In July of 2009, he was in Japan with his family when Annabelle – known as ABBY, hence the team name - began acting very out of character. Upon returning to LA, they discovered Abby had type one diabetes. While this was traumatic for everyone, it was possibly even more traumatic for Cat than her daughter as Cat had a terrible fear of needles. As Cat put it at a recent speaking engagement on behalf of Tour de Cure, many oranges were massacred as she tried to overcome her fear of injecting her daughter.

While there was some diabetes on Cat’s side of the family, Randy had no idea of his own health history as he had been adopted. So, never having tried to find his biological parents, he decided to start looking. He discovered a large extended family throughout many states with diabetes in the family history. Being a pilot, Randy gets extended time off, so rented a RV and, with the family, set off on a long road trip to meet his extended biological family. Not only did he discover the prevalence of diabetes in his biological family, but the curious fact that many of them were also pilots.

Randy has gone from being a rider who raised the minimum just to ride to now heading up a family team that last year raised over $17,000. And some of Randy’s newly discovered cousins are either part of the team or support the team with donations. Randy and Cat are both very involved with our organizing committee, spending much of their free time arranging the venue for Tour. Abby, has become a very effective young spokesman who, though only 10 yrs old, will confidently stand in from of 200 adults and tell them about her experience with diabetes and why it is important to raise awareness and ride in Tour de Cure.

And Cat has completely overcome her fear of needles. (see attached photo)

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