Scuffs and spills happen, and I always like a bike ride to continue in the event of an accident, so I aim to cover two types of accident:
1 – a scuff where a plaster does the trick and let’s the ride go on.
2 – a “bad one” where you’re aiming to stem the blood loss while a helicopter arrives.
Everything in between, whether it’s bad gravel rash or a dislocated shoulder, normally means the ride is curtailed and someone might have to be rescued on the roadside by a car, with maybe a precautionary trip to A&E. I keep a full mountain guide first aid kit in the car and take that with me if I’m ever walking or cycling somewhere remote (such as the Brecon Beacons), but this is too large to be practical for most cycle trips.
My cycle first aid kit is a Life Systems Pocket First Aid Kit… it’s a small enough packet to sit in a rear pocket or rucksack. Importantly, I supplement the ‘normal’ contents with a stack of Melolin dressing pads – they fold up and you can fit quite a few in the packet. These Melolin dressings are the ones you will need if you experience a bad cut or gash.
The other thing I always include are painkillers – Paracetamols and Ibuprofen – as they’re the one thing that I have had most consistent requests for on long trips when the cycles aches & pains start to kick in.
Remember, I’m not a medic, so this is NOT scientifically proven – but is based on my experiences and I strongly recommend anyone who’s a regular cyclist to get some proper first aid training (volunteering to be a workplace first aider is an easy option for many people).