Their Journey Became Our Journey


I always look for fun or educational Type 1 events in our area. My 10 year-old-son Logan and I thrive when we’re with “our people.” We were both intrigued when we heard about Bike Beyond. Logan couldn’t believe 20 Type 1s were choosing to ride across the country for the entire summer. We decided to drive down to Brooklyn for their kick-off party and to cheer them on at the starting line. Logan specifically mentioned about 10 times that he absolutely had to see them dip their bikes in the water.

The questions in the car ride were awesome. How will they check their blood sugar on hot days? What if they don’t have a Dexcom? What happens if they get hurt? I explained that there are amazing sponsors like FRIO and Dexcom that made sure everyone would be taken care of and have the supplies they needed for the summer. We talked about the van that would have water for them and all the treatment lined up for low blood sugars.

The energy was incredible entering the Pier area. The spirit and strength of the gathering literally had Logan jumping up and down. After giving Mary Lucas a giant hug, as Logan always does, and chatting for a bit, we asked how to find Abby.

Logan had read all the rider profiles and wanted to meet the youngest. I loved the idea that Abby’s mom, Cheryl, was riding with her as their great adventure before she left for college. Abby and her mom were so nice to Logan, spending time answering his questions as he watched her prepare to take off. Logan also chatted with Sierra and Sid.

There was a giant group picture, a drone flying overhead, yellow t-shirts everywhere, pictures being snapped. Then the moment arrived. The kids ran to the beach area so they could get the best view. Logan was standing on a rock so he could have a video “forever” of them dipping their bikes in the ocean. It was incredibly moving to watch. Then they were off to New Jersey for their first night! Logan wanted to follow them in our car, but that was never the intent.

When we arrived home, Logan wanted me to follow all the riders on Instagram. Knowing how summer plans are, I had him pick five for us to follow. Abby and Cheryl (of course) Sierra, Sid, and Meghan were the winners. Although I let him cheat and follow The Betes as well. From that day forward, every morning and every night my child asked if he could have my phone to check their Instagrams.

Some many teachable moments have come following the riders. We laughed at some of Sierra’s daily sock choices and discussed some of the amazing scenery and places that the Pepper family posted. We added new places to our travel list. During the rainy and super hot days we talked about how they keep riding and don’t quit, even though the situation isn’t ideal. What would we do? Would we continue on? Logan says we would. I know he would for sure.

One of the more powerful moments for us was when Cheryl and Abby posted on the anniversary of Logan’s diagnosis (his diaversary) that they were doing a tribute ride for him. Logan was diagnosed as a baby and hasn’t known any other life. At year six, we decided to educate him about his diagnosis and let him decide if he wanted to celebrate his diaversary or ignore it. He chose to celebrate, and this year was particularly special because of that tribute ride. He also keeps reiterating that he’s going to be like Abby when he grows up and ride across the country to raise funds and awareness for Type 1. He already started practicing this summer and attended a Riding on Insulin mountain bike camp.

Before I started writing this, I asked Logan for one word to describe Bike Beyond. He said, “Amazing.” I agree. Thank you, Beyond Type 1, for making it possible for the riders to share this experience with all our children, showing them that Type 1 has no boundaries. Their journey has turned into our journey as he learns through these 20 brave riders that Type 1 means no limits. I don’t remember at what point I changed our summer vacation plane tickets to see them at the finish line, dipping their wheels in the waters on the other side of the country, but I did just that. Logan and I got to see everyone at the finish line as well!

Learn more about Bike Beyond and the route they took.

WRITTEN BY Samantha Merwin, POSTED 08/18/17, UPDATED 12/08/17

Prior to having a child, Samantha Merwin worked in the insurance industry by day and volunteered as a firefighter/EMT in her spare time. Since 2007, she is an east coast mom who works in the insurance industry by day, a limo driver to after school activities in the evenings and plays the role of an artificial pancreas 24/7. Samantha 's son Logan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008. Her degree in politics and masters in public administration is very helpful in navigating through diabetes supply negotiations with vendors. Samantha and Logan love volunteering and fundraising for diabetes nonprofits. They are proud to join the Beyond Type Run team in the Abbott 5K in November to raise money for Beyond Type 1! In the past they have walked in 8 JDRF walks since his diagnosis, but since January 2017 they are running in the Disney 5K instead! In 2018 they are also running the 10K to raise money for Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conferences. Logan has also been a junior ambassador the last 3 JDRF balls. The Merwin family loves to travel, read, go to the beach and have fun, they rarely let Type 1 stop them from enjoying life. When it does they fight back until they win!