Cycling First Aid Kits Essentials
Cycling-related accidents are a lot more common than you think. According to recent studies, more than 2,000 cyclists get into fatal road accidents worldwide, which doesn’t even include accidents that cause irreversible injuries to cyclists.
Sadly, we must admit that cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users. With minimal cycling gear available to protect cyclists, cyclists must have first aid kits. But this is easier said than done, especially for beginners.
In this blog, we’ll walk you through the essential items needed for your cycling first aid kit. This way, if you can’t fully protect yourself, you might as well find ways how you can treat yourself should the need arise.
Why do you need a cycling first aid kit?
First aid kits are essential for all physical activities, like cycling. According to an article from The Guardian, up to 150,000 die yearly due to the lack of first aid responses. A significant chunk of these casualties dies due to excessive bleeding, which a simple wound dressing and microporous tape could easily alleviate.
Furthermore, Global Road Safety Partnership reported in their First Response to Road Crashes memorandum that they respond to more or less 50 million road accidents yearly, more than half of which, the victims, didn’t even have any first aid kit to attend to themselves while waiting for the first responders.
Cycling first aid kits may not guarantee saving lives, but it can surely heal a wound that can turn into a fatal or irreversible injury if not addressed immediately. Furthermore, it can alleviate pain among victims, which is essential while waiting for first responders. Having comfort, despite it being momentarily, will allow victims to be still attentive toward their responders, allowing them to assess the situation and provide the correct medical assistance fully.
What are the items that should be on your cycling first aid kit?
Fortunately, you don’t really need to have a medical background to curate the best cycling first aid kit. Here are the essential items that you need.
1. Saddle Bag
First, you need a high-quality bag that could serve as your first aid kit. While many cycling bags are available, it’s best to get a saddle bag. This cycling bag can fit many items inside without taking up too much space on your bicycle. This way, you can carry all the necessary items without sacrificing your cycling speed, maneuvering, and other riding techniques.
Make sure that your saddle bag is water-resistant. Most first aid items would lose their form and integrity when exposed to water. With just one rain, your cycling first aid kit may be useless.
Most minor cycling injuries, such as cuts or graze, can easily be treated with plaster. So, it would be convenient to have one. Plasters keep your wound wet which is essential for the healing process and reduces the risk of scab-cracking.
An open wound might be small for most cyclists, but it could also be life-threatening. When left untreated, your open wound is vulnerable to bacteria which can cause severe infection. There are some cases in which severe wound infection leads to amputation.
Just like your saddle bag, it’s best to get waterproof plasters. This way, they would remain intact despite their exposure to water or sweat.
3. Alchohol-Free Disinfecting Wipes
Putting a plaster directly on an open wound is not enough. You should wipe it with an alcohol-free disinfecting wipe to eliminate any dust or debris within or around the wound. Plastering a wound without disinfecting it can only help bacteria populate in the wound and trigger infection.
While alcohol is a crowd-favorite when it comes to disinfection, it’s been verified that the dehydration caused by alcohol actually slows down the healing process of the wound as it reduces collagen production.
Alcohol-free disinfecting wipes can also be multi-purpose, as you can use them to disinfect your face, hands, and other areas of your body which is especially important today.
4. Microporous Tape
Sure enough, you need something to fasten the plaster in your wound securely. This is why a microporous tape is next on our list.
While many medical tapes are available, the microporous tape is the most convenient for travelers, as they can easily be torn by hand. No need to bring any scissors or a cutter. Just use your hand, and you can secure your wound.
5. Wound Dressing
You should know two kinds of wound dressing: absorbent and adhesive.
Absorbent wound dressings are made for more severe wounds. They are made of highly absorbent sterile pads that can apply enough pressure to stop bleeding. The extra padding also provides an extra layer of protection to prevent more pain and trauma for the wound.
On the other hand, adhesive wound dressings are for simple cuts and wounds. It can keep a wound dry and free from any bacteria. However, it’s best to still seek professional first aid upon using adhesive wound dressing.
You can definitely have both on your saddle bag. But if you need to choose from the two, it’s best to go for an absorbent wound dressing, as it can also be used for minor wounds.
6. Eye and Wound Wash Solution
A 20ml ampoule of eye and wash solution is the most compact way to disinfect your wound. Apply the ampoule to a clean wash cloth and clean your wound before using your alcohol-free disinfectant wipe. This double cleansing method can compensate for the running water you need to clean your wounds.
Most importantly, cyclists are prone to dust and debris on their eyes. While most are not harmful, some can cause eye infections when not treated properly.
7. Disposable Gloves
As mentioned a while ago, bacteria is the major enemy when it comes to open cuts and wounds. If you won’t be able to handle your plasters, wound dressings, and other first aid kid items appropriately, then you’re still highly vulnerable to infections.
Note that washing areas aren’t always available, so you can’t always disinfect your hand properly before treating yourself. So, it’s best to have disposable nitrile gloves that can keep the bacteria from your hands away from your wounds and first aid items.
Keep yourself safe on the road
Cycling may be dangerous, but there are many ways to make yourself safe on the road. Aside from securing a first aid kit for accidents, you should also have the appropriate cycling accessories, wear the correct cycling clothes, and ensure the quality of your cycling gear. No matter how experienced or how skillful you are, without all of these, you’re making yourself vulnerable to severe, and even fatal, road accidents.