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Planning journeys when having to test

Becka

Well-Known Member
Does anyone have any tips on planning journeys?

As I am fully vaccinated, shielding has ended, and restrictions have been relaxed, yesterday I went for a ride. The first time in a long time so just to get a feel for it again and check the bike out. It was also the first time having to follow the D.V.L.A. testing rules.

Aside from having to keep a check on the time, as the first two hour mark approached there just was no safe place to stop, no lay-bys, not even any side streets to stop on. So how do people plan such stops in advance where, unless on a motorway or in an urban area, there is no way of knowing in advance where and when you will be able to find a safe place.

I am guessing it is a lot easier in a car, you can still test when stuck in a jam or in heavy rain, but that will be near impossible on a bike. This will definitely take some getting used to.

My morning readings on Wednesday and Thursday were 4.1 and 4.2, so I took a minimal dose that night. Both as it seemed appropriate to get those up a bit, and because I did not want it too low that I could not go straight out. As it happened the weather put me off. Then the sun came out, I decided to take advantage of the afternoon, and though only eaten a vegetable pasty I tested and was 12.5. There was a time such a reading would have frightened me. Last year it was met by resignation. Yesterday I cheered. For real, out loud!

That was down to 5.8 when I did get to test two hours later, when I realized I forgot to bring my packet of slow-acting crackers. So fearing it could continue to drop below 5.0 I finally got to try the Lift tablets. No chance of forgetting those, I have tubes of them stored everywhere, including one permanently in my jacket pocket. They taste pretty much the same as Dextro Energy, maybe a tad less sweet, still far too sweet

(It was then I also realized that I forgot my purse. I do have a note secreted away on the bike to buy petrol in an emergency, but I am still being cautious so the petrol stop I planned was where I could use pay at pump and avoid having to encounter any outdoors people. Luckily I had enough to get me home and still have enough to spare without needing to use it.)

With it hopefully being quiet I am hoping to go out again tomorrow. I was down to 4.9 again this morning, so will have to decide what to do about insulin tonight when I check my level. Compared to when I was on Gliclazide and would hypo regularly but never had to test on the road, it is very strange that I have only had maybe two very tiny ones in three months, but am now having to try and keep my levels high because I have no control over them. If I do go out, tomorrow I will probably be eating sweets all day.
 

Pumper_Sue

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Simple solution is check before you go out and any time up to 2 hours if driving/biking, so that means after an hour or hour 30 mins. So you can then wait 2 hours from the last test if need be.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Test when convenient, so even if not 2 h yet and there happens to be a layby/farm gateway - just do it.

There will always be somewhere - seriously, there WILL.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Don't even need to get off the bike if you plan ahead where to keep your meter. More difficult when it's torrential rain of course.
 

Becka

Well-Known Member
I can guarantee there is not always a safe place to stop. I have had this problem before when I need to clean my visor or fiddle with something else, such as once I used to have a problem with a mirror that constantly needed readjusting, so end up travelling miles waiting for a lay-by or similar I can use. I have never driven a car, but I assume the definition of a safe place is very different.

Although I do stop on corners of farm drives etc., a lot of lay-bys have been closed. I believe the reason I heard is to stop lorry drivers taking required breaks in them. But a lot are just not maintained, so while still usable in a car they are not the sort of surface you would want to risk a bike on. At least not a road one, and having broken bones a couple times because of road surface it is not something I intend to take my chances with!

It sounds like no one actually plans on just relies on opportunities being available?

The situation I was referring to on Friday was one where there were no fields backing onto the road, it was mostly buses and trees, and no actual villages but just houses set back from it, so the only place to stop would be driving up private house driveways.

But having noted all the details, I did not actually set off until 15 minutes after testing so it may help to actually test before riding. It is just easier to do it indoors, before putting on the gear and dong a quick check on the bike.

I decided to go out again yesterday to take advantage of the weather (it feels wrong under the current restrictions, but it was encouraged by a doctor for my medical health). Two mistakes this time, though. The first was initially forgetting to test when leaving to head home. Though I had taken some sandwiches which I had eaten so my levels were not a problem, and were 9.9 when I quickly realized and checked.

The second was getting slightly lost on the way home and having to change my route. So what was easily estimated as under two hours before my test became 2h09 by the time I got home. And because I was not expecting to test again I did not remember the time of that previous one to work out the situation.

I have a bluetooth system on my helmet, so I will test to see if setting an alarm on my phone will work with that. Otherwise I am not sure there is anything I can do but simply have to remember the times. Incidentally, I have the glucometer in my pocket, so on Friday when I needed to test a second time coming home I did whilst still on the bike. But my vented summer clothing has few pockets so it may not be so easy then.

Update — I should have thought to test before posting, but alarms will not play over bluetooth so there is no way to set up a reminder while riding because I will not be able to hear my phone beeping in my pocket.
 
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Lucyr

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
The type of area you are driving in must be extremely rural if you can go half an hour without seeing a single lay-by, farm entrance, side street, village, etc. You do need to plan a solution for this as if you felt low you would have to stop driving regardless of where you are.

I stop wherever I see from 90 minutes onwards to test as I always find somewhere unless stuck in a very bad traffic jam. I don’t plan my bg tests as you don’t know whether you will get stuck in traffic or if it will take longer than expected etc. I drive a car and would never test in a traffic jam unless my engine is switched off, but if I haven’t moved for 30 minutes then it probably is.
 

Becka

Well-Known Member
Very little of my riding is by the quickest and shortest route. 95% of it is purely for leisure as locally I use public transport, and the other 5% is visiting my dad which a lot of the time involves convoluted routes too. So lots of more rural roads rather than main ones. Of course how far half an hour is will also depend on the speed of traffic, which is the part which makes planning difficult. Rest stops, like petrol ones, I have always planned by distance rather than time.

Of course, there is a difference between how safe you need to feel in an emergency compared to an otherwise unnecessary risk. But for all the hypos I used to have with Gliclazide, I had never had one on times when I went out on the bike. And I think I now understand what the nurse meant when I expressed my concerns about hypos and she said that insulin is more gentle than it was. Three months and though lot of low 4 readings I wish were a wee bit higher, only one reading of 3.9 and a time I was certain I hypoed while sleeping. Mind, it still seems as unpredictable otherwise,

Maybe because my body can still manage at the times extra insulin is not needed? I am assuming the pancreas can just shut down and let the injected insulin work on its own when my levels are low. Then when I eat it can go back to full output and with the injected insulin still not be enough to keep me out of double figures so I have plenty of distance to fall.
 

rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
As someone who used to be a biker, I can't see the problem with pulling into the side of the road anywhere where there is a straight stretch with good visibility in both directions or a hard verge or a field gateway or the pavement where there is a dropped kerb for a driveway rather than someone's actual drive, or even a bus stand at a push and test and then continue the journey. It should take less than 5 mins to sort it unless you are hypo and as has been said, if you actually felt hypo, you would have to pull over anyway. If you don't feel safe testing whilst astride the bike on the side of the road, walk onto the verge and test.

It feels to me from reading your posts that you are making a bigger deal of it than it should be or not capable of "reading the road" whilst you are riding or looking for and seeing appropriate options for testing spots.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Personally if anyone ever needs to pull into our driveway for any genuine reason whether on a bike or in an HGV (be sticking out in the road and blocking the carriageway though LOL) then they are more than welcome to do so. Or finding they are going the wrong way, and using it to do a safer 'about face' on this narrowish main road with a curve you can't see round yet.
 

Becka

Well-Known Member
As someone who used to be a biker, I can't see the problem with pulling into the side of the road anywhere where there is a straight stretch with good visibility in both directions or a hard verge or a field gateway or the pavement where there is a dropped kerb for a driveway rather than someone's actual drive, or even a bus stand at a push and test and then continue the journey.

If it is a quiet empty road I would have no problem just stopping on the edge as traffic in the same direction can go around me, it is something I have frequently had to do when I get lost and need to work out where I am. But I would not want to do that on a busier road where anyone behind me would have to stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear.

As for dropped kerbs, if in a location with a kerb then stopping is not a problem. What I was thinking of was the sort of hamlets where there are no pavements, the roads and lined with trees and hedges, so driveways and just a car-wide break in them filled with gravel.

It feels to me from reading your posts that you are making a bigger deal of it than it should be or not capable of "reading the road" whilst you are riding or looking for and seeing appropriate options for testing spots.

Quite possibly, but it was based on my previous experience of locations where I have been trying to find safe places to stop and is a bigger deal now as it is a legal requirement. Much as the general driving advice for making long journeys is to plan to include breaks, I just assumed there would be specific methods people used when planning with regards to diabetes.

But I will also admit to being rather cautious based on the number of times car drives have tried to merge with me, or how close they pass by me when they could give me space. At times pulling further into the middle of the road in front of me.

Mind, the heavy rain situation will still be a problem regardless of finding somewhere safe to stop. Anyway, thanks all for the advice.
 

Becka

Well-Known Member
A related question, what do you do if your glucometer dies mid-journey?

I had stopped somewhere this morning, and I put in a dozen test strips and all gave an error before even getting to the blood part. And I did use the same glucometer just before setting off, so there was no negligence. I did start to panic over what to do as it would have stranded me on a Sunday morning in a village many miles from home.

Taking the batteries out and replacing them did not help, but oddly just looking at a reading in the memory then inserting a test strip did work. And for the rest of the day, using the strips it previously had a problem with.
 

Lucyr

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
A related question, what do you do if your glucometer dies mid-journey?

I had stopped somewhere this morning, and I put in a dozen test strips and all gave an error before even getting to the blood part. And I did use the same glucometer just before setting off, so there was no negligence. I did start to panic over what to do as it would have stranded me on a Sunday morning in a village many miles from home.

Taking the batteries out and replacing them did not help, but oddly just looking at a reading in the memory then inserting a test strip did work. And for the rest of the day, using the strips it previously had a problem with.
I’d love to get a spare for the car but haven’t been able to find one that takes the same strips. If my meter died I’d probably have some sugar if I wasn’t confident my bg was high enough, and then look up the nearest pharmacy, boots, or large supermarket to buy another. I’ve had this happen before when the battery has been low and been lucky to find somewhere to buy new ones.
 

helli

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I’d love to get a spare for the car but haven’t been able to find one that takes the same strips. If my meter died I’d probably have some sugar if I wasn’t confident my bg was high enough, and then look up the nearest pharmacy, boots, or large supermarket to buy another. I’ve had this happen before when the battery has been low and been lucky to find somewhere to buy new ones.
If you are likely to hypo, you should be entitled to a spare meter on the NHS that takes the same strips. Meters fail and you cannot survive without knowing your blood sugars whilst waiting for a replacement to arrive.
Some manufacturers give away their meters to diabetes clinics as they know they make money from strips.
I don’t carry my spare meter with me all the time (unless you count my Libre as my main meter and my finger pricks as backup) but I do carry spare batteries for it.
I would not keep a spare in the car as they can be affected by extremes of temperature.
 

rebrascora

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
A related question, what do you do if your glucometer dies mid-journey?

I had stopped somewhere this morning, and I put in a dozen test strips and all gave an error before even getting to the blood part. And I did use the same glucometer just before setting off, so there was no negligence. I did start to panic over what to do as it would have stranded me on a Sunday morning in a village many miles from home.

Taking the batteries out and replacing them did not help, but oddly just looking at a reading in the memory then inserting a test strip did work. And for the rest of the day, using the strips it previously had a problem with.
I would guess that your meter got cold perhaps due to wind chill on the bike. It happens to me all the time when I am working outdoors in winter. The battery light flashes and it dies before you get chance to prick your finger to get blood. The answer for me is to stick it in my bra for a few minutes and then it will work fine. I would suggest you try that if you have the same problem again.
 

Lucyr

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
If you are likely to hypo, you should be entitled to a spare meter on the NHS that takes the same strips. Meters fail and you cannot survive without knowing your blood sugars whilst waiting for a replacement to arrive.
Some manufacturers give away their meters to diabetes clinics as they know they make money from strips.
I don’t carry my spare meter with me all the time (unless you count my Libre as my main meter and my finger pricks as backup) but I do carry spare batteries for it.
I would not keep a spare in the car as they can be affected by extremes of temperature.
My hospital said if it fails give them a ring and I can pop in for a new one. I looked for ones that take the same strips but they were quite expensive so decided I’ll just get one when mine breaks. I live nearby to a big boots that sells meters.
 

Becka

Well-Known Member
This morning did not feel colder than last week, but that seems to have been the problem. Looking it up now, the error code it gave was for a temperature error.

But are most of you saying you always go out with two meters?

There is a thread elsewhere about my wanting a second meter, for which the situation became a bit confusing. But basically I am now using a Wavesense Jazz as my main meter at home, and using up my old TRUEyou prescription to use when on my bike, as I still have a pot and a half of strips for it. My G.P. said I would be given a second meter when they get a new delivery, although that has not happen yet but until my old brand prescription runs out it did not seem a problem.

But when the mini lancing device from my original prescription TRUEyou mini broke, I did ask the company about a replacement but they ignored me. A shame because you can not buy any that compact, which with the mini is perfect for travel. Between the full size lancing device not fitting in the mini case, and needing to change batteries anyway, I am using the big TRUEyou instead.

As I was planning to go out today I skipped medication last night and woke up as 12.1, so was not worried about being low this morning. And when I did get the glucometer working, which was almost four hours after waking up, I tested at 9.4.

(I was a bit spooked after last week where I took half my insulin dose the previous night, woke up in the 4s, went up to 13.6 after eating the slice of bread and three cola straws, only to drop back to 4s again two hours later. Also the last two nights my evening fasting tests were 3.5 and 3.6, eek. No idea how they happened, but they were 10.0 on Tuesday and in the 6s Wednesday and Thursday. So the only way I knew of to reliably keep myself up was skipping completely).

As for buying a replacement, that would not have been an option today, early on Sunday morning in a village with no chains, and a local pharmacy that will not open until 9am Monday. My options seemed to have been to either break the law or ask someone to adopt me.
 
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