First Aid supplies on my bike rides and a pinch of alertness!

I carry first aid supplies in my saddle bag as well as my 1.4L Camelpak waist pouch on rides of at least 50km. Everything is rain-proof – first aid supplies in my Camelpak are contained in two water-proof Kathmandu dry bags while the kit in my waterproof saddle bag are wrapped in two ziploc bags. The saddle bag kit ensures I have supplies even during a casual ride for it is always on the mountain bike. 

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The green Kathmandu drybag contains my minimum field kit, which is always along on a field trip. The orange drybag has another set of first aid supplies and electrolyte tablets to combat excess loss of ions (prevention better than cures). I essentially keep two first aid kis with me in distinct dry bags in case of multiple casualties – I’d be able to toss one bag to another person who can work independently on other casualties.

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The saddle bag’s first aid kit (yes, I know the third kit) is double-wrapped in ziploc and always on my GT Agressor bicycle. The Mary Poppins saddle bag aso contatins a tool kit, tyre repair kit, saddle cover (for my precious Brook’s saddle), a bicycle pump, spare rear light, sunblock and salon pas; there might be a few other helpful items!

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Once in awhile, I unpack and spread out the contents of these kits to check on expiry dates, identify items for replenshment, check for leakages and missing items. Here, for example, I appear to be missing a pair of scissors and I could do with antiseptic solution in a wash bottle, like First Defense.

So, what do you pack on a ride?

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I have a couple of tubes of Brave Soldier which I was introduced by Lim Ye Chen, when I crashed on gravel in Pulau Ubin in the late 90’s. We were on a “Journey to the East” bicycle ride and I endo-ed when my wheel stuck in a rut, resulting in a road rash on my left forearm. Ye Chen whipped out a vial of Brave Soldier to apply on my forearm. That wound healed quickly and well, making me a fan, and I later bought tubes to issue all my bicycle guides. 

So how many times have I used my kit? Hmm…I recall Chang Chia Yih crashing at the foot of the cemetery slope in Pulau Ubin in the 90’s, and Airani’s shin was punctured by her biycle’s chainring in a freak accident at East Coast Park a couple of years ago. Both injuries were thankfully minor, as was the case in the few instances I have helped out strangers in accidents near me. I hope this records persists! 

Typically, and somewhat ironically, everyone packs a first aid kit hoping never have to use any of its contents. However, accidents will happen and we were presented with a dramatic reminder just yesterday.

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Chi, our mountain bike enthusiast was doing fast, training laps near Lorong Asrama, and took his left hand off the handlebar of his bike on a fast downhill stretch with large gravel bits. Why? It was a somewhat involuntary gesture to brush away a bee that had flown into his face. He can suffer a severe allergic reaction if it did sting him but that move was to be costly – his front tyre rebounded off a large piece of gravel, twisted away his wheel which sent him hurtling. His arms were bloody from the fall but he managed to hang on to consciousness and call for help. Friends were training nearby and eventually via other friends, they were alerted by handphone. 

Racing to help him, their first aid kit came in handy to wash and disinfect the bloody wounds on his arms even as an ambulance was on its way. Ultimately it is his hip that took the brunt of the fall, which we were quite concerned about are heartened by the good news that he’ll be back on his feet in a couple of weeks.

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We had two minor accidents during Zendogs rides so far this year, but nothing which ranked yanking out the first aid kit – I was thrown off my bike in an inopportune accident with a *drum roll* bollard outside the SAF Ferry Terminal whilst cycling on the PCN – the bollard bears a dent now! I was distracted by my thoughts and flung to the ground quite abruptly. A few weeks on and the aching shoudler is less painful for sure. The pain is frequently renewed when I sleep and inadvertently rest on it! No broken bones though. 

Two weeks later, this was nearly the scene of a bad accident when Airani watched absent-mindedly as Aaron drifted right off the Changi Coastal PCN to assist a cyclist who had crashed (‘endo-ed’) across the road.

Airani followed Aaron’s progress distractedly, and drifted right into the path of an oncoming cyclist who had tried to aviod her. His handle clipped her finger and broke her rear-view mirror. During this confusion, Min Yee nearly crashed into my now dented bollard outside the SAF Ferry Terminal! One slightly bloody finger thankfully, which has recovered. No one was tarvelling too fast, which helps. 

In the past, we have variously suffered inuries to arms and legs, but my ‘best of show’ is a broken right collar bone from an “endo” along the downhill stretch at Loyang Avenue in the early 90’s. That is a very fast stretch (I reached 50km/h there today) but that’s another story!

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We have all lived to fight another day. But its helpful to take a moment to pack alertness alongide your first aid kit before pushing off for a ride! The recent incidents have certainly helped me re-focus. My heightened safety awareness extends well beyond the repacking of first aid kits, for sure. 

Here’s to safe rides in 2012, everyone!

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Safe and sound after a 75km ride at Holland Village.

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