If you are new to trail riding I've got some news for you. You're going to fall off. Probably a lot. Most of the time you'll get straight back on the bike, but for all of us there's a chance that one time it might be more serious. Herts TRF member Gavin Seiler was one of many TRF members who took part in first aid training recently. Here's what happened...
Trail riding and first aid would not have been my idea of perfect bedfellows but after a disastrous ride back in June this year when one average Saturday ride for the slow group resulted in a dislocated knee for one rider and a broken shoulder for the ride leader I was forced to rethink.
The surprising aspect to this being that this was on the tame lanes of Hertfordshire we had regularly ridden all year round and not the challenging lanes of deepest darkest Monmouthshire. These two incidents on one ride generated a surprising amount of discussion on our Facebook group and highlighted a surprising amount of issues with the first being the time it can take the Ambulance service to respond (we were quoted up to 5 hours for the dislocated shoulder), the lack of next of kin information prior to starting the ride and the complete lack of first aid knowledge your average rider has.
Better to practice on a volunteer first
It looked like it was high time to try and address some of these points...
Not really a lot we can do to speed up their response time but it is useful to be able to give them our precise location and an accurate assessment of the injuries (and don’t forget to order one ambulance for every injured person).
Next of kin
Reinforcing with all ride leaders the importance of not only knowing who your riding with but also who you should ring if things go sour.
Luckily a member of our group (Paul Lonergan) runs a gym and is involved in staging boxing events and had some contacts for first aid. Paul contacted Lee at Med-Train and between them devised a purpose-built course aimed specifically at trail riders centring more on the sorts of injuries we would normally encounter out in the real world rather than those encountered in the average office environment (more head butting a tree rather than a paper cut on the photocopier).
Do you know how to do this safely?
So mid-August found 20 of us guinea pigs for this new course assembled at Torque Racing’s HQ ready to be educated in the finer nuances of how to help our fellow riders should things take a turn for the worse. Lee (the tutor) gave a great presentation in a light-hearted but serious way injecting great anecdotal stories along the way to reinforce what he was teaching and get the message across he also encouraged us to ask questions and dispelled quite a few myths.
We had some great comical moments with the hands-on examinations, helmet removal technique and CPR practice but all were great things to put into practice and understand what we were looking for.
At the end of the day all of us thought the course was well presented and was going to be a great help should we find ourselves faced with an injury on the trail, giving us the confidence to take charge of the situation and make a real difference maybe even saving someone life.
Thanks go to Martin at Torque Racing for allowing us to use his showroom for the presentation. Attending and successfully completing the course qualifies the participant as a first aider for 3 years
with a certificate and a small first aid kit to carry when you go riding. In Hertfordshire we’re striving to get as many riders trained as possible so that in an ideal world at least two riders in every ride out have first aid training.
If you are interested in getting your local group up to speed with their first aid training contact Paul Lonergan in TRF Hertfordshire group