Cotroling your BG on long rides

I am just geting back into cycling and i am looking for tips on how to controle my BG on longer rides over an hour. right now i am eating with out bolsing and setinga reduced basle of 30 to 50 % staring about an hour before i ride. Any tips would be great.


There’s no formula, I have found - you have to figure out what your body can do. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as time of day of the ride, which can affect your insulin sensitivity and hormone levels, the intensity of the ride, and our starting bg level. I have done like you have and started out without eating anything or bolusing, but I can only get by for 2 hours at most on glycogen supplies before I have to start eating and taking boluses that I cut by 60% or more for the carbs. I usually don’t cut my basal until about an hour into the ride when I can measure the intensity and my bg level, but eventually I will cut that in half.
If you do start off without eating beware of the temptation to skip eating after an hour because your bg is a little high and you don’t think you need food, because you do need food or you’re going to crash.
There are some competitive riders here on this board who might have other advice and experiences. I can only offer the obvious advice, which is to test early and test often, and figure out what works for you. Have fun out there!

We all are different. I lower my basal rate to 66%. I also have one water bottle with 1/2 gatorade and 1/2 water. On long rides you need to make sure your electrolites are up. I also bring a cliff bar with me. Cliff bars release sugar slowly.


I’m sure you know this, but for others reading, there are a number of electrolyte mixes (such as nuun) that are carb-free :slight_smile: Hyponatremia is no fun… I recommend avoiding it!

I like also Clif Bars (and Luna bars… IMO Luna has some better flavors) I also like that they come in a mini size, so instead of having half a bar and wrapping the rest up for later, which may or may not get finished for a day or two (or longer!), I can just have an entire mini bar, and not worry about the “saved” part.

I also carry energy gels with me… they’re an interesting mix of both fast and longer acting carbs… Good for bringing up a low (or rather, a trend towards low - I wouldn’t necessarily use it for a severe hypo) on the road while also providing some energy to keep moving.

My understanding (from the DESA conference) is that even too much carb-free electrolyte fluid could cause hyponatremia.

Last Sat I rode 100 miles. I reduced my basal rate to 60% I started with a cliff bar and bolas for 1/2 of the grams of carbs. I took 3 cliff bars with me and 3 Gu packs. Plus I filled one of my water bottle with G2 mix. I drink 2 of those. I only bolas once. I felt like I was giving my body carbs and the carbs had enough insulin to bring the carbs into my cells. I highest my sugars got was 180. I rode for 6 and 1/2 hours and ave speed was 16.5 mph. I did my ride alone.

As everybody has said, each rider is different and what it really comes down to is trial and error.

What works for me?

I usually decrease my basal by 50% (40% if I’m taking a more leisurely pace) as soon as I start riding. I used to reduce half-an-hour to an hour before the ride but I’ve found I have better control reducing it when I start the activity instead. If I have any insulin-on-board before starting, I will eat carbs to cover half of what’s on board (ie: if I have 1 unit on board and my ratio is 1:15, I’ll have about 7 or 8 carbs). If I need a snack to keep me going, I’ll take about half (or less) the insulin I usually would. After the ride, I’ll leave my pump on a reduced basal (usually between 40% and 20% depending on how hard I rode) for a duration equal to half the time of the ride (ie: a 1 hour ride means a 1/2 hour post-ride basal reduction). I haven’t done a ride longer than 2 hours with my pump so I’m not sure how I’d cover for the post-exercise blood sugar dip on a much longer ride…I want to work up to a century so any suggestions in this department would be appreciated!

Happy cycling!


What works for me for a century ride.
I will eat an hour to 2 hours before banana and peanut butter give the usually bolus.(be careful if you eat too close to the ride the insulin on board can work better once you start to ride). .
When I was only on the pump I would decrease the Basel by 50 to 60 percent. Now that I am on Lantus and the pump I will set my Basel to 0.200 per hour I only use the pump for morning highs and meals otherwise.
I carry 2 water bottles with 3 scoops heed in each (about 243 grams of carbs) and a 70 ounce camelback with just water. And raisins for incase I get low (50 or lower)
I also take Endurolytes a pill that has electrolytes in it that way you can take it separately from the carbs.
If I get high before or during the ride I will cut the bolus by half to compensate.
I try and take a drink of carbs every 15- 20 min unless my blood sugar is dropping I will take more in.
I drink the water as I get thirsty and if I start to go high I will cut back on the carbs and just drink the water.
I will take 2 Endurolytes every 30 to 45 min unless my legs start to feel like they might cramp then I will take 2 on the spot.
I will go thru about 1 2/3 of the fuel (carbs) for 100 miles, and will need to fill my water at some point.
I will test my blood about 6 to 8 times on the go during the ride.
I us a CGM but it can’t keep up with how fast my blood sugar changes.
I am always fixing my blood sugar way before the CGM has given any indication my blood sugar has changed.
In Arizona I might be taking in more water than what is needed in other states.
The more you do something the better you get at it in the beginning just completing the ride/race is an achievement but after a while you can compete against nondiabetics.
I love it when I get done with a race/ride and people I have been racing against come up to talk and they see me testing my blood sugar their eyes get so big.

All so what do you do for recovery? POST at
Post-Run or Post-Exercise Food and Carbs and Stuff
Under Athletic Diabetics

NUUN seems to work great for me, I’d have to say.

I always cycle with a ‘bag of tricks’… everything from squeezable peanut butter to clif bars to an extra bottle of water :slight_smile:

One thing to note is that I’m not a pumper- , but I’ve trekked a max of 50 miles or so in a day. I go for low GI foods before ride (lots of peanut butter), and head out for my ride once I feel comfortable. I generally take 1/2 the amount of humalog or less- sometimes eating a 40 carb cliff bar before my ride.

Everyone is different, and its best to go by trial and error. Never leave yourself with no carbs.

You could try a method I use quite successfully. I posted it here.

I’ve done several century rides in the past few years of cycling. This year my longest was 147 miles, and last year I did a bike tour around Lake Ontario, that was 82 miles a day on average for 8 days. I ride 4000-5000 miles a year lately.

Usually I just set the basal to -90% for the day, and for the very long rides, maybe -50% overnight afterwards as well. I take one waterbottle with soda, and the other usually starts with G2 gatorade (the 7g per serving kind) and I refill it with more gatorade in the summer, or just water in the cooler months. I usually bring several clif bars, and other snacks like sesame sticks or oreo-type cookies that are very dense on carbs.

Is anyone riding on here that is not on a pump ? if so how are you getting on ? I’m type 1 and i’m on novomix 30 twice a day at the moment.