A State College Area High School senior took a bike ride to new lengths last week.
As a goal to show others that completing difficult tasks is possible despite health concerns, Lewis Yeaple rode 500 miles in five days.
He said he started March 24 and finished last Monday.
I’ve been biking since I was 4, and cycling has been a huge part of my life. I wanted to show people there was no physical limitation for anyone with diabetes. I wanted to prove that to people
Lewis Yeaple, State High senior
“It was a unique kind of senior project I wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve been biking since I was 4, and cycling has been a huge part of my life. I wanted to show people there was no physical limitation for anyone with diabetes. I wanted to prove that to people.”
Yeaple was diagnosed with the disease when he was 4 years old.
In addition to racking up the miles through Happy Valley, he also helped raise money for the American Diabetes Association.
“It wouldn’t really be possible without Mr. Lyke and Mr. Entz either,” he said.
The two teachers, Jack Lyke and Arthur Entz, helped Yeaple map out different routes for each day he biked.
Entz and Lyke, also a diabetic, cycled with Yeaple.
“It was just really overwhelming to have so much school and community support,” Yeaple said.
Lewis Yeaple bike rode 500 miles in 5 days to raise money for the American Diabetes Association
He started on a Thursday with a route that took him to Warriors Mark and back.
The second, third and fourth days included routes around the Penns Valley area.
And part of the fifth day was spent riding a bike at the YMCA while it rained, but ended with a victory lap through State College and Penn State’s campus.
“The first couple days were hard, but it progressively got easier,” Yeaple said. “There was cramping in the beginning, but I learned to have a lot of fun with this.”
He also switched between two specialized road bikes that had different tires for different terrain.
“The biggest part was just getting prepared for it mentally and physically,” he said.
Yeaple said his biggest tips for people interested in doing similar long-distance riding — especially diabetics — are to eat a lot of carbs, test blood sugar regularly and have a plan B.
“You just want to make sure you’re ready for something like this even going as far as keeping a phone on you for emergencies, and keeping hydrated,” he said. “You also need backups.”
As for if he would ever do another ride like the one during Easter break, Yeaple said, “absolutely.”
“It’s just doing something I really love, and really makes you feel the community around you when you get so much support,” he said. “I was really impressed.”