In this new column for peloton magazine we will feature cyclists who have been “Changed” by riding bikes, and cyclists who are messengers of change. Our first story features Grant Curry who is celebrating 40-years of living with Diabetes with an event he’s calling Ride40. Four days. Four Friends. 400 miles. 40,000 feet of elevation.

We talked to Grant to learn more….

“As most of us experienced as kids, getting my first bike gave me a taste of independence, freedom and the closest feeling I’ve ever had to being able to fly.  It was a red Executive with a black banana seat.  Later came a cheap road bike and, eventually, a black lugged steel Kabuki that I immediately upgraded with a better Suntour rear derailleur and downtube shifters, a Cinelli racing saddle, cloth Velox bar wrap and toe cages.  It wasn’t a great bike, but I managed to disguise it as a race machine.  I envied my friends with nicer, lighter European bikes.  I was always trying to find information on European bike racing and thought it was the coolest sport in the world.  From the time I was 12, I was going out on epic 50-75 mile journeys with my cycling buddies.  I was absolutely mad for it.  I struggled with it, however, as this was the late seventies/early eighties when the resources for Diabetes management weren’t terribly effective or portable.

I’ve ridden 100 miles plenty of times.  I’ve done 10,000 ft. of climbing in one day.  I’ve never done it 4 days in a row.  On a deeply personal level, this is one of the most important things I’ve ever decided to take on.  To reach my own athletic goals and raise money to help other people with Diabetes reach goals of their own is my mission.  I’ve had an amazing life so far.  I need to pass on the joys of endurance and determination.  Cycling is my vehicle.  I suppose my Diabetes is my fuel.  You know, having big obstacles in life will either crush you or make you stronger.  I’ve been in both states of being and I’m thankful to be in a place of relative peace with my illness.  I’ve had some complications from my Diabetes, but none of that keeps me from seeing the opportunities I continue to have.

Tell us more about Ride40? 

“Ride40 is a celebration of living well with Diabetes.  My stepson asked me one day “If there was a cure for Diabetes, would you take it?”  I struggled to answer and finally told him “Yes, but I’d get in the back of the line.” That surprised him and prompted his reply “But it makes you the amazing person you are.”  I realized more fully than ever how Diabetes has brought me so many gifts and helped me be a better person than I otherwise might be.  I knew I needed to do something big to renew my commitment to caring for myself and give back to others along the way.

You are raisinG money for the Diabetes Training Camp Foundation? 

“There’s no other program out there quite like it.  There are a number of good Diabetes camps for kids but Diabetes Training Camp is the only out there for adults that offers such a comprehensive and life-changing program.  I was a camper for two sessions in 2008 and later joined the staff as volunteer assistant cycling coach.  It changed my life in so many ways, helping to pull me out of a bit of “Diabetes Burnout.”  I had come back into the sport of cycling after many years away and was struggling with my Diabetes during longer endurance events.  DTC helped re-educate me as I learned to use the modern technology available such as continuous glucose sensors and excellent pump technology.  The DTC community is an incredible thing to be part of.

 You are hoping to raise $40,000?

“The DTC Foundation will use the money I raise exclusively for camper scholarships.  We always have people wanting to attend camp but can’t afford it although the registration fee is quite reasonable.  I want others to have the same chance at leading a fulfilling active life with Diabetes as I have.  I’m all about turning obstacles into opportunities.  Sending someone to DTC is the greatest gift I could imagine for a person living with Diabetes.  6 days of fun, education, physical challenge and friendship is what you get.  This money could help a lot of people.  I have to do this.  I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to share this with readers of peloton. “

You can help Grant reach his goal by visiting his site and donating: http://www.ride40.com

If you have your own story to tell about how cycling has changed your life or how you are using your bike to change the lives of others, please email [email protected]