When it comes to health and safety for a bicycle tour, it’s easy to go overboard. The thing to remember, in our opinion (okay, Doug’s opinion) is that this isn’t a wilderness expedition. We’re not crossing the Arctic or heading off to find the headwaters of the Amazon. We’ll be passing towns nearly every day and though we certainly want to be able to tend to common maladies and issue first-aid should the need arise, we don’t need to carry a supply of things that we’ll likely never need or that could be acquired down the road.
So we have our first-aid kit, packed with your basic assortment of gauze, pads, and ointments. We’re also bringing some Benadryl, anti-itch cream, Pepto-Bismol, and painkillers. Our dentist and pharmacist provided us with prescriptions for antibiotics and painkillers to combat your basic infections/diarrhea and tooth maladies. We’re also bringing a pouch of Quik-Clot in case of a serious injury.
It was also important to acknowledge the realities of the situation with regards to standard wilderness emergency gear, aka the “ten essentials.” We originally had a space blanket and magnesium fire-starter packed in our repair kit, but then we realized something. We have a tent, sleeping bags, tons of clothing, and jackets and winter gear. If we were suddenly without that gear, we’d also be without whatever bag we had this emergency stuff in. In other words, pointless redundancy that wouldn’t do us any good. So we ditched it. We are, however, bringing an extra box of waterproof matches for the stove, some spare zipper sliders for the tent, repair patches and glue for the sleeping mattresses, Tenacious Tape for tent/jacket repairs, and MicroPur water purifying tablets along with our Katadyn water filter.
And speaking of repairs, we also have a very small travel sewing kit. And duct tape. A mile of duct tape (not really) wrapped around the bike pump.