Cycling First Aid Kits – A Complete Guide
Whether you’re scaling a mountain or making your way to work, you’re never immune to an accident on your bike. As a cyclist, it’s something you should always be prepared for, and if you’re a seasoned bike rider, you likely know that a crash here and there is inevitable.
No matter where you are when you get into an accident on your bike, the earlier you can treat injuries, the better chance you have of recovering quickly and getting back to what you enjoy.
Take care of yourself with a bike first aid kit. A cycling first aid kit can be tiny, compact, and lightweight. Attach it to your bike or keep it in your bag and you might forget it’s there entirely—until you need it, and that’s when you’ll be happy you came prepared.
In this article, we’ll cover bike first aid kit essentials.
Cycling First Aid Kit Essentials
If you’re planning to put together your own DIY bike first aid kit, you have the freedom to customise your kit however you want or need. But there are a few essentials that should be included in every first aid kit.
If you’re lucky, your cycling injury might only need to be treated with the application of a plaster. When you cut or graze yourself on the open road (or off-road), your open wound is at risk of infection. A plaster provides a barrier that protects your wound from harmful bacteria or knocks that could cause the injury to get worse.
Plasters also keep your wound wet, something that is conducive to the healing process and reduces the likelihood of scab-cracking and reinfection.
Waterproof plasters are ideal, providing a sealed-in environment for your wound and a barrier against the elements outside.
Disinfecting wipes are another absolute essential of any first aid bike kit. Putting a plaster or dressing on a dirty wound will only trap bacteria against it and can push debris further into the wound, making infection much more likely.
Cleaning a wound is essential before dressing it, so packing some disinfecting wipes in your kit is highly important. Alcohol used for medical disinfecting has been found to actually inhibit the healing process. This study on the factors affecting wound healing found that alcohol caused dehydration of the area and affected collagen production. It also inhibited the important inflammatory response.
Choosing alcohol-free wipes ensures you can clean your wound in an effective and thorough but gentle way, helping your body get on with the natural healing process.
When a little more than a plaster is needed and you’re dressing a wound, you need to securely fasten it to your body. Not only should your wound be completely protected, but if you have several miles to cycle back to civilisation, you need to know you can do it without losing your dressing in the wind.
Microporous Tape is easy to tear by hand, securely holds dressings in place, and removes painlessly.
For wounds that are more problematic or more severe, an absorbent wound dressing can come in handy. These are highly absorbent sterile pads that can be used to apply pressure to a wound and dress it. The density of the dressing allows it to absorb exudate from a wound and, at the same time, provides padding that absorbs impacts which could cause more pain and trauma.
Our NHS-approved absorbent wound dressings are double-sided, making them simpler to use in an emergency and are low-level adherent making dressing much easier.
It goes without saying that when cleaning a wound, you need to have clean hands. But what if you’re not very close to proper hand-washing facilities, as you may well find yourself when faced with a cycling injury. Putting on disposable gloves means you can clean and treat a wound without needing to worry about washing your hands.
Disposable gloves are also important if you’re treating another person. If you will be touching someone else’s bodily fluids, it’s important to wear a barrier to protect yourself, especially if you’ll be touching sharp objects as well.
Our nitrile gloves are graze and puncture-proof (and the first choice for many surgeons), which gives you added protection.
Eye and wound wash solution in 20ml ampoules takes up no space at all but can be used to hygienically clean anything: eyes, wounds, even hands. The gentle saline solution is formulated to mimic human tears and blood to make it non-irritating when absorbed by the body.
Using wound wash to clean a wound, followed by an alcohol-free disinfectant wipe, is the most thorough way to clean a wound, even just at home. The precision pods that our eye and wound wash come in can be used to clean even difficult to reach areas. They’re great for a quick, efficient eyewash if a foreign object flies into your eye on the road.
An adhesive wound dressing acts as a kind of plaster for more acute injuries, consisting of a highly absorbent pad that will not stick to an injury, covered by a flexible, stretchy, non-woven adhesive material. The adhesive wound dressing will allow you to keep a wound moist or dry and protect it from the elements until you can be seen by a professional.
Whether to let a wound air dry or keep it moist has been a topic of debate among cyclists for a while. Research suggests that the moist environment allows epidermal cells more freedom of movement across the wound in order to close and heal it more quickly. This can even reduce scarring. These were the findings of this 2013 study.
Trust Sterosport for Cycling First Aid Kits
There’s no specific British Cycling first aid kit but take our list of essentials as sound advice. We created our Sterosport Activ Essentials Pocket Kit based on feedback from amateur and professional cyclists, first aid and rehabilitation experts, and years of listening to our customers.
Having a first aid kit is a great step to preparing for an emergency, but do you know how to use it? Cycling first aid is about having the right supplies and knowing what to do when it comes to an emergency. Read our article ‘Essential First Aid Skills for Cyclists‘ for all the information you need to get back on the road after an injury.
If you want a more comprehensive list of cycling first aid kit contents, visit our blog post, Cycling First Aid Kit Contents List.
Different Cycling First Aid Kits
So, you’ve got the bare essentials for your bike first aid kit covered, but cycling first aid doesn’t stop there. With each type of cycling and every terrain, your risks differ a lot. There are different risks associated with types of cycling.
Finding the best cycling first aid kit means understanding your risks and combating them with the right equipment. If you’re not sure what your risks are, we can help. Partnering with Sterosport means you’ll have a dedicated account manager who can assess the risks of your situation and let you know exactly what you need.
We don’t just stop at cycling either; find sports first aid kits for any other sports you’re involved with and make sure you’re always protected.
Commuter Cycling First Aid Kit
Commuters who cycle have been found to be 50% more likely to get into an accident on the way to or from work than those who don’t cycle. Although the health benefits of the cycle-commute far outweigh the risks.
The highest risk to commuter cyclists is a road collision. Car accidents can result in anything from a grazed knee when you come off your bike to a broken limb or head injury.
There’s no doubting that commuter cycling accidents can be serious or even fatal, but for short bike journeys in places that aren’t very remote, the risk of injury and the danger of isolation when injured is quite low. A small kit that can be effortlessly carried on everyday trips is ideal.
For commuter cyclists, we recommend the Sterosport Activ Pocket Kit for Commuters. This is our most compact first aid kit for cyclists and is designed especially for commuters. It is designed to efficiently treat injuries on short bike journeys. It contains all the essential cycling first aid items as well as a resusciade face shield for hygienically performing CPR.
Road Bike First Aid Kit
This study published in the British Medical Journal found that injuries in road biking in order of commonality were found to be cuts, bruises, and grazes; fractures; head injuries; and, finally, musculotendinous injuries.
Road biking will cover relatively even terrain, as the name suggests, but if you fall, you’ll be subject to the hard tarmac or concrete, which can be more damaging than off-road terrain. Gravel and other chip materials used on non-urban roads can result in a nasty graze if you fall at speed. You may need to extract some material before you can clean and dress your wound.
Loose road surfaces aren’t the only hazard on this terrain. Potholes, cracks, and wet roads all present a hazard when cycling at high speed. Even though road biking doesn’t always happen in the city, there’s still the risk of vehicle and pedestrian collisions.
Road bikers need a first aid kit that is lightweight and won’t slow them down, but with the potential for a more serious injury, it’s important to make sure you’ve got everything you need for every eventuality.
Depending on factors like proficiency, duration, terrain, weather conditions, and more, road bikers will choose different first aid kits. For light road cycling, we recommend the Sterosport Activ Essentials Pocket Kit with nine first aid essentials or the Sterosport Activ Light Kit with 13 essentials, both of which come with a compact bag that can be easily fitted into a backpack or bike bag.
For more heavy-duty road biking, we recommend the Sterosport Activ Adventure Kit, designed to support cyclists on longer and more challenging adventures with minor and major injuries.
First Aid Kit for Cycle Touring
Long-distance cycle tours can take you miles from any sign of civilisation, crossing all kinds of landscapes. With long cycling hours and unexpected terrains, cycle tours can be one of the most physically and mentally demanding of all cycling sports.
Cycle tourists should anticipate a number of different hazards on their journeys, including traffic and pedestrians, weather exposure and heatstroke, falls and crashes, and more. Will you be biking in a different country? Prepare for exotic insects and wild animals.
Our number one recommendation for cycle tour athletes is the Sterosport Activ Explorer Pocket Kit. This kit is designed for treating injuries, specifically on long journeys and group rides. It is extremely lightweight and compact, meaning it’s convenient to carry when you need to pack light.
Mountain Bike First Aid Kit
Mountain biking might not be as fast as road biking in some cases, but it takes place on much more unpredictable terrain. Mountain biking is an inherently dangerous sport and is known to be the indirect cause of some serious injuries. Among others, risks include and are associated with:
- Collision with vehicles, pedestrians, other riders, stationary or moving objects.
- Trail irregularities, stunts, and jumps.
- Exposure to certain weather conditions.
- Exposure to certain insects, animals and plant life.
The best mountain bike first aid kit is one that steps up to the challenges of this intense sport. You will need to be prepared for minor injuries like cuts and bruises, as well as major accidents that could involve fractures, severe blood loss, and head injuries.
For mountain bikers, we recommend the Sterosport Activ Adventure Kit, which contains 22 items to deal with minor and major injuries on more challenging rides and in remote areas.
Cycling First Aid Kits for Medics
If you are a medic or the person responsible for first aid on a cycling trip, having a robust first aid kit means you won’t be held back from administering effective treatment to anyone in your party that gets injured.
The Sterosport Activ Expedition Kit is our favourite for cycling medics and first aiders attending cycle tours. Find an extensive range of 28 first aid supply items in this first aid kit, including a conforming bandage, a triangular bandage, sutures, a burn shield, an ice pack, and a selection of dressings.
This kit also contains a foil survival blanket. British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling in the UK advises, “A lightweight foil survival blanket weighs practically nothing, takes up hardly any room in your pack but could make all the difference in cold conditions.”
You probably wouldn’t even notice if you were carrying a foil blanket as they are so lightweight and compact. But a foil blanket could provide a life-saving barrier against exposure due to its ability to trap up to 90% of the heat your body radiates.
Use this table to help you decide which cycling first aid kit you need for your trips. All our cycling first aid kits are designed to give you essential support on any trip, but these are our recommendations:
|First Aid Kit||Commuter Cycling||Road Biking||Cycle Touring||Mountain Biking||Cycle Medic|
|STEROSPORT ACTIV ADVENTURE – ACTIV KIT||✅||✅||✅|
|STEROSPORT ACTIV EXPEDITION – ACTIV KIT||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|STEROSPORT ACTIV LIGHT – ACTIV KIT||✅||✅||✅|
|STEROSPORT ACTIV POCKET KIT – COMMUTER||✅|
|STEROSPORT ACTIV POCKET KIT – ESSENTIALS||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|STEROSPORT ACTIV POCKET KIT – EXPLORER||✅||✅||✅|
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