by Jodie West
Mountain Biking is considered to be a risk-assumed sport. It is quite likely that you will have experienced some form of injury during your time riding even if it’s nothing more serious than a few scrapes. Do not be discouraged by the risks. Accidents are few and far between and the fun you have always out weighs the scrapes you collect.
Due to the nature of Mountain Biking and the distances and terrain covered First Aid provisions should always be considered when organising or going on a ride. When riding in an area like the MBSwindon Croft Trail then keeping a First Aid kit in the car is more than adequate. This is because there are always quick ways back to the car park. If you are riding alone then it is advised to carry a small kit with you.
If you are planning on heading off on a long trip lasting several hours in potentially remote areas then carrying a first aid kit really is the responsible thing to do. This doesn’t mean to say that every rider should be lumbered with a large rucksack carrying a full on crash kit with De-Fib! Whilst it really is a good idea to have at least one First Aid certified rider in your group, even if you don’t you should still carry a sufficient First Aid Kit. MB Swindon ensures that every guide will carry a First Aid Kit. The club also has several certified First Aiders with a varied and wide knowledge gained from various different backgrounds. Personally I am very interested in this particular area and always have a large supply of kit available should anybody require it.
How many people ride with the tools to fix their bike (spare inner tubes, chain sections etc) but no kit to patch themselves up?
Recommended first aid kit:
As a minimum I would recommend (this list is taken from personal experience and should not be used as medical advice) the following items:
- Vinyl Powder Free sterile gloves
- Sterile Alcohol Free Wipes
- Triangular Bandage
- Wound Dressings/Bandages (various sizes)
- Foil Blanket
- Medi Tape
First Aid appointed members are more than willing to offer advice on a friendly, non professional basis based on personal experience alone.
Other basic safety advice includes taking a map of the area, informing others where you are going and considering the risks of changing weather. It is also worthwhile considering carrying an emergency blanket. If riding on your own then a whistle is another useful safety device. This allows a rescue party to locate a casualty.
There are some great basic first aid kits available from Boots and eBay that contain everything you need in a soft case for around £5 so being prepared needn’t be expensive. There are also some great first aid apps for the iPhone, and no doubt others, with my preferred one being the St. John Ambulance one which whilst not a substitute for proper first aid training it does contain some great information and works well as an aide-mémoir.