Author Topic: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?  (Read 506 times)

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2891
    • Andre Jute
Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« on: June 30, 2017, 10:24:34 PM »
Today I was bitten by a dog when I was mobbed by a pack of dogs a walker lost control of on a country lane. Fortunately the very contrite dog owner (as you can imagine, I'm not polite to people whose dogs bite me) had a big first aid kit in his Range Rover. He cleaned the wound and put a large plaster on it, and I popped into my doctor's surgery within the hour to have the wound professionally cleaned (I don't trust a man with dogs to have clean hands!), receive a tetanus shot, and pick up a prescription for an antibiotic.

But this and other recent incidents (in one of which a favorite pink shirt of which I have only five was nearly ruined by blood) raise the questions:

Should a cyclist carry a first kit?

What should be in it?

For day rides?

For extended tours?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 10:38:59 PM by Andre Jute »

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7163
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2017, 10:48:44 PM »
So sorry to hear you were bitten, Andre. You've not had many happy encounters with Range Rover drivers!

All best wishes to you for a swift and uneventful recovery. Keep an eye on how things are going Sometimes more problems show up in time so don't sign any waivers straight away.  I was bitten in the heels by sheepdogs nearly 40 years ago and still show the effects, as the bites burst the capsules containing the fat in my heels and it herniates out when I am standing -- looks like ball bearings under the skin where each tooth entered.

As to your questions...

Quote
Should a cyclist carry a first kit?
It is a good idea, especially if one is far from people while riding, as I often am.

Quote
What should be in it?
Things! Useful things! I usually take a well equipped stock kit, then add the items I know I am most likely to need for a given situation. What differs is the extent of supplies. The one for day rides is smaller than the one for my extended expeditions. While on big tours, I sometimes take both the large and small kits. Because of its size, the larger one remains stowed in the bowels of my panniers, but the small one rides in my handlebar bag or rear jersey pocket where it can be readily accessed in an emergency -- when time really counts and one might not have both hands undamaged or available to use (i.e. the other hand is applying pressure to the wound).

If I am touring with someone (rare) I insist they have at least a mini-kit of their own. If they don't have one, I supply it for the duration of our trip together.

A key requirement for me is the kits *must* remain dry, as wet bandages and supplies are no longer sterile or even usable. For the mini-kits, this waterproofing can be as simple as a ziptop sandwich bag.

Quote
For day rides?
Yes, as mine can be 400km, so being as much as 200km from people means "far from help".

Quote
For extended tours?
Of course!

My kit contents are probably too detailed to include here in their entirety, but several ingredients I almost always add to my kits are...
1) A packet of clotting agent. These have expiry dates and are renewed about every 18 months. The granules can be poured into open wounds to stop bleeding (keeping a number of factors in mind...bleeding to a degree can cleanse a wound).
2) Beta-cyanoacrylate super glue, separate from the one in my underseat bag that is used to patch punctures in tubes and cuts in tires.
3) Sutures and thread. I managed to fall with my knee on the end of a diagonally cut sapling stump coming down a dew-wet grassy bridge elevation above the Rhine, resulting in a couple of deep cuts. After riding with it for another 60-odd kms, I decided it was time to deal with it properly when the adhesive plaster showed it was not up to the job. I stopped, cleaned things up and installed two stitches. After 10 days, I removed them and the wound was essentially healed. No further problems.
4) A pair or two of nitrile gloves.
5) Extra self-adhesive knee-sized large plasters...the kind with a non-stick face and peel off adhesive tabs I can apply myself. It is really hard to hold a wound shut and tape the plaster in place with just one hand.
6) My usual tube of neomycin-free antibiotic ointment.
7) I have weak ankles and flat feet, so am prone to ankle rollovers. For this reason, I add a roll of elastic bandage to my larger kit. It has come in handy for myriad other uses.
8 ) A good small knife with decent scissors for trimming plasters and tape to size. I prefer a Victorinox Classic or sometimes the serrated-jaw and liner-sprung scissors in Wenger's older offerings (Wenger was absorbed by Victorinox in recent years and many of their unique knife features were lost in the revamped offerings).
9) A small self-storing covered travel toothbrush for brushing out grit, sand, and gravel from the wound.
10) A small digital oral thermometer so I can tell "if I'm just hot" or genuinely feverish if/when a problem develops. Good early warning of illness or infection.

EDIT: Forgot to add (but should): It is a Real Good Idea to have training in first aid and wilderness medicine so you know how to use such items (I did and do keep up to date...it was an especially  wise requirement in the days when I led bike tours professionally). Even a basic first aid course is really helpful.

EDIT 2: I tend to little wounds quickly (despite the knee story...it happened at a little after 05:00 and I needed to move on) before they can fester into something Bigger. It is amazing how quickly something small -- even a blackberry thorn tip -- can aspire to something More while on tour.

EDIT 3: If you are carrying other supplies, they can be pressed into service. In 1991 when my father was well into his 70s, we took a tour deep into wilderness where he took a bad fall going downhill at speed on crushed lava. The handlebar end took out two ribs in front and the saddle nose broke one behind. He was covered with road rash and the lava bits were deeply embedded throughout. After checking him for things like a burst spleen, we bound his ribs with spare tubes and he rode down another 1,100m in elevation to a remote fishing camp where I could clean his wounds properly. They had nothing on hand to clean his wounds, so I used the remainder of my dish soap, the rest of the alcohol from the stove, and the toothbrush I carried "just in case" something like that happened. It wasn't pleasant at the time, but he avoided infection and everything including the ribs healed fine. A number of mundane objects can be pressed into emergency service when needed.

All good healing wishes your way, Andre.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 09:39:58 PM by Danneaux »

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1205
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2017, 12:13:58 AM »
One of my handle bar bags (one of two) has a small first aid kit in it.  I use that bag on tours and sometimes on day rides.  I have not looked in the first aid kit for a few years, I assume there still is some first aid stuff in it.

I had a bad crash about 5 years ago.  I used up about one water bottle washing off the blood, but other than that did not touch a first aid kit.  I was in a doctor office about an hour later.

My land rover is a 14 year old D2, not the more pricey range rover.

StillOld

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2017, 11:56:57 AM »
My day rides are usually fairly local so nothing carried but you may have woken me up to carry something in future....my long trips....I always carry eye wash,  burn cream and spray and the usual assortment of plasters and bandages and antiseptic sprays.

I have burnt myself quite badly whilst out camping/flying and being in the middle of nowhere on that occasion the "burn spray" saved my hand.


John Saxby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1246
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2017, 12:07:29 PM »
That's a serious encounter, Andre. Take care, and I trust you recover fully.

My own first-aid kit is similar to Dan's, with the addition of alcohol swabs and some non-prescription pain-killer tablets, such as Tylenol extra-strength. I tend to be a little careless on my shorter day rides, so this thread is a good reminder to pay closer attention to that kit.

Over the years, on tour, I've always carried an emergency space blanket, but have never used it. For that matter, I've been lucky on my hiking/paddling/cycling trips, and my first-aid kit has been largely left undisturbed.

geocycle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1050
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2017, 07:00:46 PM »
Sorry to hear if the dog attack Andre. I like dogs but they frequently have a different opinion of me especially on the bike. I've not had a serious farm dog chase for many years but a silly terrier went for my ankle recently.

Yes I do have a small hiking and cycling first aid kit, just dressings, antiseptic, antihistamine and assorted pain killers really.
 

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7163
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2017, 09:05:08 PM »
With selecting my first aid supplies (as with everything I carry on the bike for day rides or a tour), my first stop is one of my gear lockers (photos of one of them below).

A few years ago, I finally got organized so I can quickly "shop my stores" before each ride and readily select what I need for a given purpose. It sure makes it easy to assemble an appropriate kit in minimal time and also ensures I don't forget anything. It also makes it easier to put things away, ready for the next ride.

Now, if I could just organize the rest of the house as well...priorities! :D

I use a miniature version of this scheme when packing my handlebar bag, rack pack, Carradice Camper Longflap, or the whole lot with panniers, depending on type and duration of ride as well as season and expected resupply points. Each first aid kit is organized as well by type and expected use so I can just grab the appropriate one as needed.

Best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2891
    • Andre Jute
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2017, 11:57:35 PM »
Thanks, gentlemen. I'll see how small/light I can make a useful kit, and report back here.

I was going to make the kit in a tin similar to my Little Tin Pochade (self-contained paintbox, 6x4in), but if it has to be opened onehandedly, a zippered case may serve better. 

The thing will be pretty simple because that's all I need. For instance, I always wear long sleeves (I'm very fair-skinned, so I try to avoid sunburn). Anything that requires first-aid training is better and sooner delivered to a doctor's surgery or the 24-hour locum service we have here. That starts well short of self-administered stitches like Dan describes! In any event, I generally cycle with a physician or a trained nurse in the party.

However, I was not necessarily impressed with what is offered for sale. A lot of those bits and pieces are simply too small to cover a road rash elbow or knee or, as I recently discovered, a dog bite when both teeth sink in. But I'll buy a kit to get a waterproof bag with a cross on it and just fill it out with what is required, larger pads, etc, and for instance a small tube of antihistamine cream or pills people can take to carry them after a sting until we reach the surgery.

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7163
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2017, 03:54:49 AM »
Andre,

I'll spare you a wearisome listing of contents, but it might prove helpful to see my three most-carried First Aid kits so you can see what is possible with careful packaging. I bought commercial kits for their cases, then restocked them to my specs. When touring, I carry my usual prescription meds and personal needs items in addition to one of these kits.

They are broken down into the Three Bears of First Aid: Baby, Mama, and Papa Bear sizes.

The Baby Bear is the minimalist kit, not good for much of anything, but it has come in handy. Small enough to carry in any jersey's rear pocket, I have restocked it well beyond what's on the label (photos below) to where it will fit a large number of needs. Yes, some quick-acting antihistamines are always useful for bee stings and plant irritations.

The Mama Bear is my most carried. Also small -- just a little thicker than Baby Bear -- it expands to carry more items including a small scalpel, some suture materials and even smelling salts. For expedition tours, this is the one carried in the handlebar bag for quickest access.

The Papa Bear is a full-on kit, outgrowth from my Wilderness Medicine training long ago (my certification lapsed decades ago, but the lessons remain). It is a more comprehensive kit building upon the other two and includes instant cold packs, more clotting agent, temporary dental fillings/crown/broken tooth repair, bandage scissors, a larger suture kit, rescue inhalers, epinephrine injectors, more gloves, tampons and panty liners for wound blood absorption, my oral thermometer, and glucose tablets for those with hypoglycemia (this last has been my most used item when I encounter cyclists in distress). The largest kit is indicated when injuries could be more severe or time away from formal intervention is expected to be longer, so more supplies (i.e. dressing changes) will be required than would be the case with the smaller kits, where "help" or "support" might be only a day or two away at most. It is also assembled with the idea I am most likely to be Alone for Awhile and will have to get my own self out some distance to reach help.

All these kits reside in at least waterproof zip-top plastic bags; Papa Bear gets a dedicated dry sack as well. I restock my kits from two local sources:
TerraTech: https://www.terratech.net/search.asp?mode=results
National Firefighter Corp: http://www.nationalfirefighter.com/store/Search.aspx?SearchTerms=first%20aid
You'l note they also sell containers to assemble your own kits.

By far, my favorite containers to assemble kits from scratch come from Ortlieb. They are waterproof thanks to the materials used and the traditional roll-top closure -- they even float. They are available empty or pre-stocked in a variety of sizes. See: https://www.ortlieb.com/en?s=first+aid There is a bike-specific model that can be affixed temporarily to the person or bike using belt loops or straps and it is available stocked to four levels as described here:
https://www.ortlieb.com/wp-content/themes/ortlieb-theme/pdf/anleit/firstaid_content.pdf

Regardless of which First Aid kit you buy or assemble, check it periodically and renew the contents as necessary. The contents can expire on their own as a function of time or temperature and even vibration tends to break down things like pills.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 01:58:21 PM by Danneaux »

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7163
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2017, 03:56:38 AM »
This is the mid-sized ("Mama Bear") kit that rides in my handlebar bag. Small, but well stocked for most quick needs.

Best,

Dan.

Danneaux

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7163
  • reisen statt rasen
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2017, 03:59:47 AM »
This is the largest (expanded, "Papa Bear") kit I carry in my panniers as backup to the one in my handlebar bag. It is more comprehensive and has not only more supplies, but a wider range. It is the kit I carry when I might get hurt and need to change dressings and such over several days as I make my way out to where I can get more comprehensive help.

Best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2891
    • Andre Jute
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2017, 07:43:51 AM »
The Baby Bear looks like what I first had in mind.

Thanks for the detail, Dan. More when I've studied the Mama Bear a bit.

martinf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 424
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2017, 07:53:29 AM »
I generally don't carry a first-aid kit when cycling. Even on long tours, which is probably not a good idea.

I do have one for work, I keep it with my other work things and during field work it stays in the work vehicle. A bit bigger than Dan's Papa bear kit, including a lot of things I don't know how to use. I also had a similar first-aid kit when working as a team leader on oil cleanup operations in 2000, but I haven't had any first-aid training.

The things I have used:

- scissors, to cut strips of sticking-plaster for medium-size non-serious wounds.
- strips of sticking-plaster.
- sterile dressing put under the sticking plaster.
- aspirin or paracetamol (I always asked if the person was allergic or not).
- small sticking plasters.
- antiseptic paste.
- capsules of sterile eye wash.

The latter is probably the item most used over the years, when myself or someone else has had a spot of dirt or a fragment of vegetation in their eye.

Most important item I do generally carry all the time since 2000 - mobile phone.

Used once to call the emergency services when there was a serious accident during the oil cleanup operations. A German tourist fell about 8 metres off the coast path into a rocky crevice on my sector. His wife was with him and spoke english, she translated for me. He complained of back pain, and also had a visible head injury. So I placed one of my team with him at the bottom of the crevice, accessible without danger from the seaward side, got his wife to tell the tourist not to move (I thought he might have suffered spinal injury), and sent another team member to run to the nearest hill where there was mobile phone reception to give our position and summon help. The emergency services arrived in about 15 minutes and took him out on a special stretcher. 

Swislon

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 318
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2017, 04:42:12 PM »
I only carry anti sting and only when I remember + phone!
I think I'll also study this list and put together something small and suitable for day rides.
If its not small enough I won't take it.
Funny we always carry a small first aid kit in the hills but not on the bike.

Steve

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2891
    • Andre Jute
Re: Contents of your on-bike first-aid kit?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2017, 11:17:41 PM »
Most important item I do generally carry all the time since 2000 - mobile phone.

Yes! I have a mobile "bike phone" whose number only my pedal pals and my family have, which on the bike displays my heart rate and doubles as an emergency phone, though the only time it called the emergency service was for someone else's car accident rather than a bike incident. It's called the taxi three times in twenty-seven years for flats or accidents or to get a broken bike home.

These days a phone, and some means of recharging it in real time (hub dynamo, booster battery) even on day rides if it provides other services beyond emergency calls, are just about essential bicycle equipment.