Tour de Cure

Sara Sklaroff

Sara Sklaroff - Washington D.C. Tour

"The little boy was eyeing me warily. "Mom!" he stage-whispered to the woman next to him. "What is that lady doing?"

I guess the sight was pretty strange: a 38-year-old in mismatched workout gear, trying to place her feet onto the pedals of a bicycle, wobbling crazily, stopping, getting off the bike, and then getting back on and starting again. But I had made a commitment, and I wasn't backing out even if the training-wheels set at the Palisades Recreation Center park didn't approve.

All my adult life I have enjoyed telling people that I never learned to ride a bike as a kid. Rarely does it fail to shock. The usual responses are something like, "Wait, really? Never?" or, "You mean you still don't know how?" or—surprisingly often—"But do you know how to swim?"

And so the matter would have rested, were it not for a confluence of factors. My daughter, Edith, will turn 4 this summer, and I am determined to teach her to ride. At the same time, I've been looking for a new, and newly inspiring, form of exercise. Since I have type 2 diabetes, this is especially important. Exercise is terrific for diabetes because it makes muscles use insulin better.

Then I heard about the Red Riders, people with diabetes who ride in Tour de Cure wearing distinctive red jerseys. In particular, I was amazed by the story of one Red Rider, a man with type 2 diabetes (Bob Avritt - see his feature story) who had turned to bike riding when his weight reached 340 pounds; through a dedication to biking (and to the Tour), he had lost close to 150 pounds—and gotten his diabetes firmly under control. Frankly, I thought that if he could start riding, certainly I could."

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