As some of you know, I am an Objibwa/Potawatomi Indian. My reservation (where both my parents were born) is Walpole Island Indian Reserve on the St. Clair River. But what most of you don't know is that on a national average diabetes in Native Americans are at a much higher rate than the average white person.
Here are some alarming statistics;
1. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were 2.7 times as likely as white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes. 2. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes in 2006. 3. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were 1.6 times as likely as White adults to be obese. And 4. American Indians/Alaska Native adults were 1.3 times as likely as White adults to have high blood pressure.
So with this in mind The Walpole Island Health Center asked me to come for a few visits to help motivate and educate tribal members on cycling and cycling safety and more importantly, promote a healthier life style thru exercise. We had 4 Saturdays set aside with the first one to talk a little bit about cycling and some of the rules and throw in a smaller ride. The other days we will slowly increase our mileage on our rides and hopefully conclude with about a 10 mile trip.
We had riders from age 12 to 40 something's. Everything went well and our first trip included a rest stop for drinks, fruit or a snack bar and then we headed back. We took turns having ride leaders and we practiced our single file riding and hand signals.
We also handed out small log books to keep track of our time spent on the bike. This would help them keep a few minor details of how they felt during the ride, the wind and weather and the time on the bike. At the end of the our four schedule rides, we would award the participant who had the most minutes.
The four sessions went well, we had a little humidity and heat, but no rain and the participants ended up doing a 2 hour ride with a lunch stop in the middle. Our rider with the most time on the bike won a bicycle and another boy won a unicycle! We averaged 12 participants per session and to me that's a success story indeed!