Biking the Pacific Coast Route with Type 1 Diabetes

I reached the original destination of Vancouver, British Columbia and thought, what next? The summer was spent biking across America, so why not bike down it? Thus, begins the bike tour following Adventure Cycling Association’s Pacific Coast Route.

You may have followed along for the ten-day adventure to hike the North Coast Trail with an organization called Connected In Motion (click here to embark on that adventure.) I fell in love with the natural beauty of British Columbia by holding a whale vertebra, discovering a puma carcass, and spotting sleepy bears along the coast.

The need to explore more of this province is why my route starts north of Vancouver with two hikes and follows the Sunshine Coast over to Vancouver Island. We may be getting ahead of ourselves…

Pacific Coast Route begins in Vancouver and ends in Imperial Beach (Photo by Adventure Cycling Association)

Pacific Coast Route begins in Vancouver and ends in Imperial Beach (Photo by Adventure Cycling Association)

The Plan

An entry date of August, 28th, 2017 is going to start us off on this journey with a hike on Whistler Mountain. The only final date for the trail right now is October 27th. I plan on joining another Connected in Motion Retreat on Catalina Island, which is right outside of Los Angeles.

The end of the retreat may be the final day on the trail. The official stopping point to the Pacific Coast Route is Imperial Beach, near San Diego, so I may aim to reach this town.

According to Google, that would make it 60 days to cover 1,857 miles - an average of 30 miles if I biked every day.

I would like to be home for the NYC Marathon on November 6th to cheer on many friends and every athlete who comes together for this event. Good luck on training everyone.

Dark Roast is the nickname of my touring bike

Dark Roast is the nickname of my touring bike

The Gear

Dark Roast is the nickname for my touring bike that has already made it across the Trans America Trail and here to Vancouver, British Columbia. For those looking for specifics, Dark Roast is a Novara (REI’s discontinued brand) Rondonee from circa 2006 (pre iPhone) loaded up with two larger back Novara panniers and two front panniers. The bags are waterproof, although all electronics go in separate Sea to Summit dry bags.

This is not my bike. Dark Roast is my childhood best friend’s older brother’s touring bike. Did you catch that? You may have also split your time growing up in another home a few blocks away. This bike comes from that house.

If you want specifics about my bike gear here is a word of advice, as long as it moves forward it is good enough with me.

Dark Roast weights 83 pounds fully loaded. This is according to a meat hook to weigh game outside of a café in Idaho. The operator of this vehicle (me) is 160ish pounds and 6 feet tall with Swedish-America heritage; that is why my parent’s spelled my name with a Viking “k” – Erik.

Fun Fact: Dark Roast made it all the way to Hood River, Oregon from Virginia without a flat. Then a tire burst. From that moment, I have had many flats.

How Can You Follow Along?

The struggle of maintaining a blog and cycling is real. I made a pledge to take the Pacific Coast slower so there is more time to write and share the adventure with you.

  • Instagram (@ErikDouds) has the most real-time updates on my location. Do not worry if you are not on Instagram. The photos are also displayed on main home page of DiabetesAbroad and prominently displayed at the ‘bike hub’ for the blog here: www.DiabetesAbroad.com/bike
  • The Facebook page for DiabetesAbroad has daily updates through live videos so take a moment now to visit that page: www.facebook.com/diabetesabroad
  • The DiabetesAbroad newsletter often references the bike trip and gives updates on my whereabouts. I also try to put exclusive content for this community. Take a moment to click sign up now

How can YOU help?

People are incredibly kind in this world. Thank you for considering ways to help. I am going to list a few options from free and quick; slower but super beneficial; and ways to support financially.

  • (Quick and free) Share the GoFundMe page on your social media. Click here to visit the page and you will see lots of ‘share options.’ Now, over 100 people have taken a moment to do this.  You can too!
  • (Quick and free) Comment on the Facebook live videos or Instagram posts. You may believe miles or hills are the tough part. The real battle is mental and each message reminds me why I am out here – more on that below. Click here to join the Facebook group.
  • (Slower but super helpful) Logistics. Know people along the west coast? Places to stay, people to meet, schools to speak at, or anything of interest is fantastic. I am one of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund speakers with experience engaging large mixed audiences of adults, teenagers, and health practitioners. You can see my schedule here (Google spreadsheet), send a message through the contact page, or reach out on any form of social media.
  • Donate your time. You can learn some of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ to a bike trip by completing a small task. Pick a time and date on the calendar and I’ll send you more details: www.calendly.com/erik-douds/45mins
  • ($$$) Sponsor a day on the trail. The GoFundMe is currently the simplest way to do this. I have a dream of being Sponsored By People to keep the voice of navigating life with type 1 diabetes on the trail in the most authentic way possible. You will receive a postcard from me, shout out in some way, and most importantly help this trip move forward.

Why?

The question why is not asked enough.

Next time you meet a racer, traveler, or competitor, ask them why instead of how fast or how far. You will have an enjoyable conversation.

October 1st was the day I learned that your health is not a guarantee. You may know this in a personal aspect whether it is by a disease, loss of a friend, or shocking news. Life is short.

I entered a community that is quite new in the world. My grandfather, diagnosed in 1940, was considered a rare case to live into his twenties, then thirties, until passing away at the age of eighty-three.

The why behind this trip is summarized by a statement from a retired veteran who I met in the municipal elevator of Oregon city:

You are doing what we never dreamed of

There is no time like now to dream, and dream big. You can come along for this journey and get to see the world through my eyes. I hope to capture a small fraction of its beauty.