Why I Ride – Tanbir Sidhu

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The 2022 Ride season is upon us and we are so excited to be back in-person this year! If there’s ever been a time to join the Ride to Cure Diabetes, this is it! Join Team Wisconsin by registering today!

JDRF Ride is for all cyclists — beginner or experienced — who share a commitment to JDRF’s mission. Your registration is your doorway into a ride experience unlike any other. With our stunning destination rides across the country, you’ll have the chance to join fellow riders for an unforgettable weekend experience.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories of riders from our team and why they ride! Here’s Tanbir’s story:

Provide a short intro of yourself, T1D journey and connection to JDRF:

Hello, my name is Tanbir. I am a Type 1 Diabetes Mom. On August 2, 2018 my 8 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was a moment when the whole world just stood still for my family. We didn’t know what the future would be like for our sweet, little boy, how we were going to manage the day to day care of this disease and who would be there to guide us and lead us on this new path. Thankfully, we had friends that came to visit us shortly after my son was discharged from the hospital. He was in diabetic ketoacidosis; a potentially deadly complication of diabetes that occurs when the body does not make enough insulin when he was diagnosed. Our friend in particular who himself was a Type 1 Diabetic gave us encouragement and support during this difficult time. His words lead us to discovering a nationwide organization, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In this organization, we found friends, support and most importantly “hope”. Hope that as a Type 1 Diabetic you can still continue to live your dreams, live a life filled with happiness, and good health.

Why did you first decide to participate in Ride?

I first decided to participate in the 2019 JDRF ride with the encouragement of my husband and T1 friend. At this point, I had limited riding experience. The previous summer I bought my first bike in 20 years . The longest ride I had completed was 6 miles in an hour. Nonetheless, I decided to attend the Meet and Greet JDRF Ride.  At this meeting, it struck me how many people wanted to raise awareness of T1 and find a cure.  And, how many of them were Type 1’s riders riding 100 miles along with friends, mother’s, fathers, brothers and sisters of T1’s all in the same room. This moment gave me “hope” that I could see a future for my son. A future where he can do the things he still wants to do. He can be healthy, happy, and loved. And, I  found a community where I wasn’t alone anymore. I had people I could turn to with questions, resources, and examples of what healthy T1’s can become.

What is the most rewarding aspect of participating in the Ride?

The most rewarding aspect of participating in the Ride is the journey to accomplish something that you didn’t think you could do. I never thought I could ride more than 20 consecutive miles. The moment I signed up for the ride this team never let me down. There was always someone there to help me. For instance, I didn’t have a road bike. Someone let me borrow theirs until I found one of my own. Next, someone found my very own road bike that was perfect for me and made sure it was in safe working condition. May I add I still have it and love it! Then, another team member took the time out of her busy schedule to make sure I was comfortable knowing the basics of riding before I joined the group rides. Finally, the group rides were alway encouraging and informative. I learned to become a better rider because of my fellow riders advice. I never felt left behind or not good enough to ride. Most importantly, they always asked me how my little T1 was doing.

What helps you feel prepared for the Ride?

In order for me to feel prepared to ride. I start training early in the season. I joined the riding team’s early indoor training rides. We ride 1-2x a week together on an indoor trainer or spin bike. I love the chance to catch up with fellow riders and build our camaraderie. Once the weather becomes warmer there are weekly outdoor rides that become progressively longer over the summer so you feel prepared for the 100 miles. This really helps me feel safe and learn how to ride in a group.

As we go back to in-person events, what are some of your highlights throughout Ride weekend that you are looking forward to?

Some of the highlights of the ride weekend that stay with me is the ride before the big event! Consider it a team building event…we ride up the Bluff and stop half way down for lunch. Everyone is excited and mingling. We share stories and laughs as we prepare ourselves for the big ride.  Also, I enjoy the dinners the day before and the night after the ride. The moment before speeches start you sit and take a look around the room. All you can see are people from all over the nation in one room gathered together for the same reason…to find a cure for T1. It gives me hope for a beautiful future for my son. A road that will not be without its challenges but when that he doesn’t have to walk alone on.

Why would you encourage others to join the Ride to Cure Diabetes?

I encourage others to join the Ride to Cure Diabetes because it’s a unique group of people that share the same goal. We all want to find a cure for T1 Diabetes. We all want to spread awareness of T1 Diabetes to the community. But, this group literally stays with you. You don’t get left behind. You don’t get dropped from the group. We work together to make ourselves stronger, faster, and better. We are family and friends that stay with you.