JDRF Ride: Summer biking tips


Steve Burgo

It’s hard to believe that the 2018 Ride to Cure Diabetes season kicks off next week! This extraordinary event gives cyclists of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to support breakthroughs that transform the lives of people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Participants choose from one of six Ride locations, train with their local Coach to achieve their mileage goals, and use guidance from their local chapters to meet (and exceed!) their fundraising commitments. To date, JDRF Ride has raised over $47 million for T1D research.

Ride Coach Steve Burgo is riding in Saratoga Springs, New York, in September and Santa Fe, New Mexico, in November—marking his twelfth JDRF Ride! As a Ride Coach, Steve helps each rider cross the finish line under his or her own power—safe, sound, and smiling! A Coach assists riders with setting reasonable goals based on their ability, educating them on what to expect at the ride, and training with them to achieve their goals.

You can ensure you’re on the right track toward Ride Day success with Steve’s top summer biking tips:

1. Bike Safety

Check your bicycle before each ride. Spin your tires and inspect rubber to see if there are any cracks or punctures caused by small road debris. It’s always good to give your bike a good once-over before hitting the road!

Front and rear lights

Use a flashing white light in front and a flashing red in back on your seat post to help others see you on the road both in daylight and darkness. JDRF requires all riders to have lights on their bikes, so if you don’t have any, be sure to purchase them before your ride. My brand of choice: Serafas.


Take your bike to your bike shop for a tune-up to make sure all parts are operating as they should. Show some love for your bike because you two are going to be spending a lot of time together as you train and ride.

Riding on the trail

Riders must stay right, follow posted speeds, and remain aware of trail surface conditions (sticks, gravel, debris, etc.). Watch for others—runners, walkers, kids, dogs, etc.—and slow down for oncoming traffic. Always say “On your left!” when passing, and slow down to give yourself space. Be loud if needed so that you can ensure you’re heard.

Riding on roads

Riders are allowed to ride in the road, but stay towards the right side of the lane. Riders travel in the same direction as car traffic. Riders must stop at all stop signs and red lights—just follow normal traffic laws and use caution.

Ride Coach Steve Burgo sporting his continuous glucose monitor!


In group rides, call out when you are planning to stop or are approaching a light or stop sign. Slowly and evenly applying brakes works best to help you stop.

2. Snacks

Bars, gummies, homemade snacks, PB&J sandwiches, etc. make great, easy snacks for the ride.

My favorites

Watermelon: In hot weather, fruit with some sugar and higher water content can help during or after a ride.

Skratch Gummies: They’re delicious, easy to eat, and great for low blood-sugars, too!

3. When to Ride

On hot humid summer days, try to wake up early and ride prior to the sun going high overhead and temperatures rising even higher. If you are not an early riser then try to wait until later in the afternoon or earlier in the evening before sunset when temperatures are cooler.

If you have to ride in the high heat of midday then shorten your ride, and try to find some shady tree covered roads. You will need to drink more because you will sweat a lot more when it’s hot.

Always be cautious. If you feel fatigued, find yourself going from sweating to not sweating, having the chills, or feeling dazed or confused, stop riding, pull over, and find some shade or go inside into cooler temps. Drink more fluids. Heat exhaustion can be a real problem when riding and stressing your body on those super-hot and humid days.

4. Hydration

Hydration generally begins prior to your ride day and includes both the day of and day after your ride as your body recovers.

Add a hydration powder such as Skratch exercise hydration powder to your water bottle for extra hydration.

General hydration tips

  • Keep a water bottle with you, and drink regularly throughout the day.
  • Bring two water bottles with you on your ride—one with water and one with exercise hydration mix.
  • Plan to take two to three sips from your bottles every 15 to 20 minutes throughout your ride. By vigilant about hydrating yourself, as once dehydration starts to set in, your ride performance will suffer.
  • If your urine is dark yellow, you’re probably dehydrated and not drinking enough water. On the other hand, if it’s clear, you may be drinking too much water. By drinking water as you train, you can figure out what works best for you in order to stay hydrated as you ride.

Did you know that you don’t have to be an experienced cyclist to participate in the JDRF Ride? Many of our Riders didn’t even have a bike until they signed up! We have different mileage and course options to accommodate every rider. You can feel secure getting back in the saddle again with support from an experienced cyclist like Coach Steve!


JDRF Ride isn’t just a bike ride; it’s an experience where hundreds of riders come together from all over the world to make new friendships, enjoy the unparalleled camaraderie of the Ride community and raise money to help end T1D. Don’t worry—you don’t need to be a professional cyclist to participate in one of the amazing events! We riders of all ages and skill levels to visit ride.jdrf.org to learn more.

Have questions? Let’s talk! Please reach out to the JDRF Eastern PA office at philadelphia@jdrf.org or 610-664-9255.