Disclaimers: We’re no boy scouts, but we definitely like to be prepared. Whether it ends your ride or it’s just annoying like a thorn in your side, an injury or medical emergency sucks. We’ve learned from experience so you don’t have to. We don’t mean to scare you. In fact, we hope you never need this kit, but if you do, you’ll be glad you packed it. This resource shouldn’t be used as a substitute for medical advice and if you need to see a doctor, please do!
If you’re interested in becoming certified in Standard First Aid and Basic Life Support, there are a number of classes available through the Red Cross, Heart and Stroke Foundation and St. John’s Ambulance, among others. We do not have a financial relationship with any of the products or services included in this resource. Shopping around is encouraged!
The Medical Kit
The Be Nice Kit – Everyday Carry (EDC) is our base kit. We’ll outline 2 add-ons that you may or may not want/need:
1. Overnight Adventure Trip Add-on
2. Advanced Ouch Pouch Add-on
The Be Nice Kit: EDC
Our EDC medical kit includes an “Ouch Pouch ”, commonly used medications and a Narcan (Naloxone) kit for all our urban cyclists.
Every good medical kit has an Ouch Pouch and ours is no different. Here is everything you need to quickly patch a scrape, cut or gash and keep riding. Remember, this kit is meant to buy you time, so if you think you need to see a doctor, you probably do and should. We like to keep our Ouch Pouch in its own small waterproof package so everything stays together. We also like to include sunscreen and electrolyte tablets in this section.
The commonly used medications we stock include: after bite for insect bites, seasonal allergy medication, and an EpiPen or benadryl for more severe allergic reactions (let’s hope you don’t need it). Remember, often there are generic medications available that have the same medical ingredients and cost much less. Check the aisle and ask a pharmacist to save some money! These medications can be stored easily in the water resistant free naloxone kits available at your local Shoppers Drug Mart.
Ouch Pouch :
1. Gloves x2
2. Wound Cleaning Solution/Wipes x5
3. Gauze Pads x5
4. Bandaids x5
5. Nylon Adhesive Tape x1
1. Injectable/Nasal Spray Naloxone
2. CPR Barrier Mask
3. After Bite
4. Allergy Medication – antihistamines & Benadryl
5. Electrolyte Tablets
6. Sunscreen & Lip Balm
In Canada, during the COVID pandemic, ~20 people lose their lives to an opioid overdose every single day. 88% of those deaths occurred in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia alone, provinces with lots of cyclists and the opportunity to make a real impact. As the drug supply becomes more and more toxic, overdoses are expected to continue to become more frequent.
Narcan, or Naloxone, is a life-saving medication that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid medications, like fentanyl. Especially in urban and suburban areas, having a narcan kit can make the difference between life and death in a suspected overdose. Signs to look out for in someone who might be having an opioid overdose include: pinpoint pupils, unconsciousness, shallow or slow breathing, pale skin, blue lips and sounds of snoring or raspy breathing. We’ve attached a graphic from the World Health Organization below to help you remember.
Each Narcan kit comes with instructions on how and when to use, but briefly: Shake & shout (are they asleep?), check their airway for any obstructions (are they choking?), call 911, give breaths (use your pocket mask!), give the nasal or injectable narcan, keep giving breaths, repeat narcan dose if no response in 3-5 minutes and finally put them in the recovery position. You should note, if someone is truly overdosing, they will react quickly and sometimes aggressively to Narcan. You are essentially causing them to go into a withdrawal immediately, so give them some space to protect them and yourself.
The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act in Canada protects anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the 911 caller, bystanders and the person experiencing an overdose from the following:
Charges for possession of a controlled substance (i.e. drugs) under section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Breach of conditions regarding simple possession of controlled substances (i.e. drugs) in:
So be nice and save a life!
Narcan should be stored out of direct light and between 15-30ºC, so it can hang out on your bike all riding season long. Hang it under your saddle and forget about it. If it is stored outside that temperature range, it has been shown to decrease in concentration to about 89%, so it should be swapped for a new kit when available. However, if it’s all you have on hand, it’s still safe to use. Remember, the best Narcan is the one that’s available!
Overnight Adventure Trip
The overnight adventure trip add-on builds on the EDC kit and is meant to extend your ride and temporarily address most medical emergencies that might arise while you’re out in the middle of nowhere. This kit includes more medications, supplies to help you brave the elements and all the supplies you need to avoid getting lyme disease (we hope).
Overnight Adventure Trip Add-ons
1. Cycle Medic Kit – My Medic
3. Tick Container
4. Waterproof Matches / Jet Lighter
5. Portable Flashlight
6. Hand-warming Packets
7. Emergency Blanket
8. Water Filtration Pump
9. Energy-Dense Backup Food
We would recommend doubling the supplies in the EDC Ouch Pouch for an adventure ride. As the riding group grows, so does the Ouch Pouch. An easy way to make sure you have everything you need is to use the Cycle Medic Kit from My Medic. It includes: 2” Gauze, Liquid Skin, Tubular Gauze (M), Tubular Gauze (L), Electrolyte Tablet, Sting & Bite Relief, Fabric Bandages 2”x4”, Fabric Bandages 1”x3”, Ibuprofen 200mg, Chamois Butter, Triple antibiotic, Steri Strips, Lip Balm, Sunscreen, Antiseptic Wipe, Antibacterial Wipe, SuperSkin Strip. This kit comes prepackaged in a sealed waterproof bag. We don’t see a dime from them, we just like their product.
If you’re bike camping in tick territory, we recommend full length pants tucked into long sucks and a daily check for ticks. You should also pack tweezers to remove ticks and an upcycled film canister makes the perfect tick (&/or joint) container. Removing and storing the tick is an important step in identifying the species and can be used to guide treatment when you see a doctor. Remember, ticks really like to hang on, so make sure you remove the head with the body!
To brave the elements, especially in Southern Ontario, we recommend packing waterproof matches or a jet lighter, hand-warming packets and an emergency blanket. A fire-starter kit might be helpful, especially if you plan on cooking over a fire and are unsure if the camp site has firewood. You can’t go wrong with a portable flashlight because chances are if you’re looking to make a fire, it’s already dark out! You can choose to use your bike lights as a flashlight, just make sure they’re always charged.
In warmer weather, you will be running through water fast. We would recommend bringing more reusable bottles than you think you need and refill frequently when you stop in town. If you’re away from civilization, a filtered water pump can be a lifesaver. Check out our coffee and tea outside story here (insert link for story) to learn more about securing a water source. Finally, you never know when you might run out of food or are unable to get to civilization in time. We like to pack some energy-dense emergency snacks – some go-to’s include Cliff bars, dates and candy. A nice sugar rush might get you out a sticky situation!
Advanced Ouch Pouch: Broken Bones & Big Bleeds
If you would like to take your Ouch Pouch to the next level and have first aid training, it might not be a bad idea to think about how you might handle broken bones and big bleeds, otherwise known as hemorrhaging. These are likely trip-ending emergencies that require immediate medical attention, so we wouldn’t advise continuing your ride (bummer, we know). The below tools are meant to help you stabilize the injured person and buy you time to either get to civilization or for civilization to get to you.
Advanced Ouch Pouch Add-ons
1. Triangle Bandage
2. SAM/Roll Splint
3. Emergency (Israeli) Bandage/Tourniquet
Immobilizing with a splint
Remember, when breaking a bone, the best thing you can do to improve your likelihood of healing up well is to stop using it. Immobilization is the process of providing structural support at the site of the break, which limits how much the bones on either side can move and limits further damage. If that sounds like your jam, consider adding a SAM/roll splint. Depending on the size of the splint, this versatile tool gives you the ability to immobilize broken bones in the arms, wrists, legs and ankles.
Making a Sling
Now that you’ve splinted that broken arm with your SAM splint, we can focus on making sure the arm isn’t being used inadvertently. Consider adding a triangle bandage to your kit to make the perfect field sling. You can also make a temporary sling from a pillow-case or t-shirt if you’re in a pinch. You can learn how to sling an arm with this video:
Stabilizing Big Bleeds
An Emergency Bandage (Israeli Bandage) may also be helpful to slow or stop hemorrhaging blood from a deep wound located on the torso, chest or neck. The goal is to apply as much pressure as possible at or above the site of the wound so you can limit how much blood you lose. Alternatively, you can use a triangle bandage and metal tool/carabiner to make a tourniquet for deep wounds on the extremities in an emergency. Check out this video for more information on how to build a makeshift tourniquet in a pinch: