Updated July 5th, 2023
If you ride bikes long enough sooner or later you will fall and need some first aid. If you mountain bike chances are you’ve already had that experience more than once or helped a buddy who took a good fall. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for when one of you inevitably meets the pavement, dirt, or rocks. What should your bike first aid kit include? Is there any training you should take to be prepared for trailside emergencies?
If you injure yourself or someone your with gets injured while biking, know your limits for what help you can provide. If the situation is more serious than you are trained for, minor cuts and bruises for most of us, don’t be afraid to call for help. You can easily do more harm than good by providing the wrong care to a seriously injured person.
What should be in a bike first aid kit?
The most common cycling injuries are cuts and bruises, followed by insect bites and stings, chafing, and dehydration. A cycling first aid kit should have items in it to treat them. This should include:
- antiseptic wipes
- blister strips
- rubber gloves for treating other people
- Sting relief wipes
If you don’t want to gather all the items yourself, you can buy a bicycling first aid kit to take with you. MyMedic makes 2 really good cycling specific first aid kits that are filled with supplies you might need while cycling. Their Cycle Medic kit has a variety of supplies for treating cuts, bruises, stings, bites, dehydration, blisters, and pain. The pro version also includes a tourniquet and chest puncture bandages. It comes in a case designed to mount to your bicycle frame.
They also make a smaller Bike Medpack that just has bandages and blister treatments along with some pain relief. It comes in a small sealed plastic bag that is perfect to toss in your cycling backpack or seat bag.
What is the first aid treatment for a bike fall?
How you treat injuries post bike fall depends on the bike fall. Where did the biker land? Do they have any open wounds? Did they get stung by a bee or bit by a snake? Do you suspect they might have any broken bones or other joint injuries?
- If it is a cut or scrape, clean the wound and cover it with a bandage.
- If it is a bee sting, use a sting relief wipe
- If they are bleeding you need to stop the bleeding first and then cover the wound with a bandage
- If the wound is more serious you need to immediately seek help from professional paramedics or other medical professionals.
What is in a trauma first aid kit? What is the difference between a trauma kit and a first aid kit?
A trauma kit or trauma first aid kit has the supplies to treat serious, life threatening injuries. This is to treat injuries and keep someone alive until a doctor arrives who can provide professional care.
A first aid kit has the supplies you need to treat superficial injuries such as minor cuts or bruises that are not life threatening and do not require professional care from a doctor or surgeon.
Most of the items in a trauma kit such as tourniquets and blood clotting agents can be used for life saving actions such as stopping arterial bleeding or keeping an airway open. These are items that should only be used by people properly trained in how to use them. Items in a first aid kit are for treatment or comfort such as keeping a cut clean or wiping down a bug bite. These items can be used by anyone without any training.
Life threatening injuries can occur while cycling. For most of us who aren’t trained in emergency trauma care, a regular first aid is good enough to take on our biking adventures. Leave the trauma care for paramedics and national bike patrol who are trained in their use.
See this article from MyMedic.com to learn more about the difference between a first aid kit and trauma kit.
Mountain bike first aid course
There are several places where you can get first aid training that specifically relates to mountain biking and the type of injuries you might encounter. These range from online courses to week-long in-person training. BackCountry Lifeline provides a variety of first aid courses that relate to mountain biking.
- Backcountrylifeline.com – Wilderness Medicine for Backcountry Mountain Bikers
- BackcountryMedicalGuides.org – Wilderness First Aid for Mountain Bikers
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- Do Bike Helmets Expire? How To Tell When You Need A New Bike Helmet
- The 8 Best Mountain Bike Helmets Under $100 Helpful Guide
Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.