Are you thinking about going on a multi day bike adventure? You need a first aid & emergency kit for bike touring but you’re not quite sure what to put in it?  Well keep reading…

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.

With the development of so many off road trails it has become quite easy to be “remote” on your bike fairly quickly.  When you choose to go places on your bike that help can’t get to quickly there has to be some self responsibility.  A simple part of that is your first aid management.

What is in a First Aid Kit for Biking?

To follow is a list of what is important to take with you when you or your family go riding for 2 or more days.  How much or how big your kit gets depends on whether your bike trail takes you through urban areas (access to medical help or a pharmary) like on the WestCoast Wilderness Trail.  Compare that to riding The Heaphy or Old Ghost Road.

It’s a good idea to start with a compact bike specific kit then add to it what you think would be helpful – depending on the size of your group.  Otherwise you could take 2 compact kits.

  • triangular & crepe bandages
  • blister plaster
  • sterile adhesive & non-adhesive dressings
  • sterile wound dressing
  • sterile skin closures
  • scissors
  • cleansing wipes
  • eye wash/wound irrigation
  • strapping tape
  • survival blanket (one for each person in group)
  • pocket knife
  • CPR shield
  • splinter probe
  • safety pins, cotton buds
  • anti-flam cream
  • chamois cream
  • pain killers
  • insect repellant (optional)
  • whistle, cell phone &/or responder beacon, if backcountry touring with no cell phone coverage

Where should I carry it? Think easy, quick access so don’t pack it at the bottom of a bag.  A first aid & emergency kit would be best in a handlebar bag/frame bag/seat bag.  Positioned near the top.

Someones Had a Fall…

You will need to find and access the injury.  Have they lost consciousness at all?  How serious is the damage… don’t move anyone until you are sure that no neck or back damage has occured.  Get them comfortable, give them time, sort out any basic first aid that you can.  Now you need to make a plan

  • If they can carry on riding:  Be patient, they may lose confidence, let them take their time.
  • Turning back/fastest way out:  This means they will be uncomfortable, may need regular stops, keep accessing for shock, give food & water regularly
  • Can’t move:  Get them as comfortable and as warm as possible.  Use emergency blankets.  Decisions will need to be made about alerting help – cellphone call to friends/family, calling emergency services, setting off a responder beaken which will summon a helicoptor.

Hypothermia

If you are bike touring in conditions with a significant Cold Challenge – Temperature, Wetness, Wind combined with fatigue, poor food intake and/or dehydration you need to be aware of the risk of mild hypothermia

  • Watch for the “Umbles” – stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumbles which show changes in motor coordination and levels of consciousness
  • Shivering – not under voluntary control, not easily stopped
  • Can’t do complex motor functions (single track riding) can still walk & talk
  • Numbness in periphery (hands, feet)

Heat Retention + Heat Production less than Cold Challenge = Hypothermia

What can you do for mild hypothermia?
  1. Reduce heat loss by adding layers of clothing, getting dry clothing on, increasing physical activity or providing shelter.  Use a survival blanket
  2. Add fuel & fluids. It is essential to keep a hypothermic person adequately hydrated and fueled
  3. Add Heat – Fire or other external heat source.  Body to body contact. Get into a sleeping bag, in dry clothing with a normo-thermic person in lightweight dry clothing

(Source: Outdoor Action Guide to Hypothermia & Cold Weather Injuries.  By Rick Curtis)

 

This advice gives you a starting place to help someone who has injured themselves or is showing signs of mild hypothermia.  Nothing replaces training, so if no-one in your group has training or a medical background consider adding this to your list of things to “get better” at before you go bike touring or on multi day adventures.

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