Cycling First Aid Essentials – What to Pack

We were recently asked the following on Facebook, by Michael P., and we thought it was an excellent question that is not often discussed in cycling:

always carry a well equipped first aid kit in my vehicle. I also keep first aid kits in my target shooting bag. What should be in a first aid kit for road biking? Recreational biking with the family? Mountain biking?

Luckily we have a certified EMT who also works here in our home office, Chris, who could offer some advice, and he was happy to write up this reply to Michael’s inquiry:

First off, let me say that you sound like a great person to ride with (though I’m sure you hear that all the time). Your question really highlights the varying needs that different cyclists have. To respond very generally, let me start with your basic family trip. Most of your injuries are going to be scrapes and bruises. You’re probably not going to see anything that a basic “stock” first aid kit wouldn’t cover. I would carry: band-aids, small gauze pads (2”x 2”), waterproof tape, anti-biotic ointment, anti-itch cream, and some sunblock. Stock first aid kits will have more variety and will range from $15-$60 depending on the size and quality. A good “all-around” kit would be the this one.

20-4497-NCL-FRONTFor road riding, you might consider our Brave Soldier Crash Pack: It’s got a very well thought-out mixture of gauze, non-adhering wound dressings (essential for comfortably treating road rash), butterfly closures, and betadine. This pack will keep you ready to handle basic road crashes and get you and your friends home or to a doctor’s office where you can get more treatment. It’s also very light weight and comes in a waterproof pouch – perfect for that un-used jersey pocket.

chris_peru_creekMountain biking is an entirely different animal. I’ve been deep in the woods and had a nasty crash that would have had me calling a friend for a ride if I was on the road. No such options exist when you’re in the back country however, so I would recommend a couple of extra measures.

Starting with a basic first aid kit like the one mentioned above, you might think about adding Tegaderm. Tegaderm is a transparent dressing that will seal a wound off from the outside. If you have a cut and have contained the bleeding and cleaned (and dried) the area, Tegaderm will keep it that way until you make it out of the woods.

SAM Splints would also be a good, light weight add-on to a back country first aid kit.

Of course the MOST important thing is your knowledge. Having training can make a panic-inducing situation into just another pit-stop. See if there is a Wilderness First Aid class in your area or take a basic First Aid/CPR class. Most community colleges will offer these things for a very reasonable fee. It’s fun, interesting, and could save a life. Also, I would be remiss to not include a big reminder to call 911 if there’s a real emergency. If someone loses consciousness for even one second, or slurs their speech after a crash, it’s hospital time. If you can’t stop their bleeding or if they have a broken bone, it’s best to call it in. EMS workers will be happy to come get you and will have many more tools than you could ever carry in your hydration pack. That being said, the most important life saving measure we all carry today is probably our cell phones. Keep yours intact and safe in your bag by adding a waterproof case like the Blackburn VIP SL Ride Wallet.

Any other suggestions from our readers out there?

Performance Bicycle at the 2013 UCI Cyclo-Cross Elite World Championships

cx_worldsIn case you’ve missed it, the UCI Cyclo-Cross Elite World Championships is leaving Europe for the very first time in 2013 (the weekend of February 2-3 to be precise). The cyclocross elite are going to descend on Louisville, Kentucky to celebrate the crazy world that is ‘cross racing – full of cold weather, mud, Belgians, cowbells, barriers and some of the most intense bike racing that you will ever find. If you’re not familiar with the basics of cyclocross, head over to our Learning Center to find out what this specialized winter cycling discipline is all about. If you haven’t seen it in person, the US cyclocross scene is passionate and growing fast – the guys here in our office don’t use ‘cross to stay in shape for next season, they use the rest of the year to get ready for ‘cross season!

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Ben and Ross, from our home office, at our local ‘Nascross’ race

Needless to say, we couldn’t miss this amazing opportunity to see the world’s best cyclocross racers battle it out for a coveted rainbow jersey here in the US. As an official sponsor of Louisville 2013, we’ll be sending a crew to the event to cover the action and also to meet fans at the expo who come by our Performance Bicycle tent. We’re excited to meet cyclocross fans from around the globe (although we need to work on our Flemish), show off some of the great cyclocross bikes that we carry, and even give away some pretty amazing prizes and freebies (yes, we will have cowbells)!

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Performance Bicycle tent at Stage 6 of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge

So what do you need to know if you can’t make it to Louisville for the big event this year? We’ll be posting updates to the Performance Bike Facebook and Twitter pages live every day, plus of course there will be great coverage of the racing on cycling news sites like VeloNews and Cyclocross Magazine. If you want to watch the races live here in the US, you’ll either need to find an international channel that is broadcasting the races or tune in to USA Cycling’s YouTube channel, which will stream every race live for free. But whatever you do, don’t miss out on this opportunity to watch the world’s best here in the US. Whether you are rooting for the American team of Jonathan Page, Jeremy Powers, Ryan Trebon, Zach McDonald, Logan Owen, and Katie Compton (to name just a few), or if you want to see international stars like Sven Nys, Niels Albert, Lars Van der Haar, or the incomparable Marianne Vos – it is definitely going to be a weekend to remember in Kentucky.

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