Going the Distance…The Tools and Gear to Bring With You on Your Next Long Distance Journey

September 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips

mountain bike trail 200x300 Going the Distance…The Tools and Gear to Bring With You on Your Next Long Distance JourneyYou’re a seasoned veteran of the mountain bike and as you seek new adventures in untamed wilderness. BE PREPARED! Minimal first aid and backup supplies may work for the trail rider, but for those long adventures it is very important to be ready for any problems nature may throw at you… your life may depend on it. One of the main considerations with anything regarding bikes is weight and size. More gear adds weight, and nobody wants to carry a huge pack. By finding items that can fulfill a variety of uses you can drastically cut the weight and size of your emergency gear. I have designed this guide for the minimalist rider. It will give you the essential tools you need to survive, but you may want to further your knowledge and your gear selection depending on your needs and wilderness experience.

Bike Operation

Bike operation is simply what you need to keep your bike operational. A breakdown 30 miles from any civilized help can be a real issue. If you are reading this you probably have all of the essentials like the multi tool, tubes, patches, air pump and whatever else. One great tool you should include for your next adventure is a good multi-tool (as in a Gerber or Leatherman foldout, not the bike multi tool). The pliers on these can help you bend broken spokes out of the way or provide an improvised tool to fix a host of problems. Not to mention the screwdriver, knife and other attachments give you more options and wider variety of tools to fix whatever. Other things to carry are a spoke wrench, extra spokes, a tire boot if you don’t already (even if you’re not running tubeless), duct tape (reroll a few feet yourself to save space), a rag, lube, a chain breaker, extra links and even a small adjustable wrench. I know it sounds like a lot, but none of these items take up very much space and they can really get you out of some tight jams. Another one of the best tools you can carry with you is knowledge. I know some people don’t like to, but make an effort to learn how to repair your bike. There are numerous classes, books and WebPages that provide detailed instructions. The Park Tool website is one of the best, in my opinion.

first aid kit Going the Distance…The Tools and Gear to Bring With You on Your Next Long Distance JourneyFirst Aid
Hopefully you are already carrying the basic stuff with you. The biggest mistake I see people make is they carry only supplies like Band-Aids and ointment to take care of minor cuts and scrapes. I don’t know about you but minor cuts and scrapes aren’t really a big concern for me when I’m on the trail: On the other hand fractures, gashes and major wounds are. This is especially important when you are out blazin’ epic trails, across steep technical mountainsides, far away from civilization. On urban trails you don’t have to worry about first aid much, but as you venture farther away from civilization you usually encounter more difficult terrain and become farther from help. We take for granted the first aid services in the city and even small towns. Out in the wilderness we might be hours or days away from any aid, and that is if we can contact someone right away. If you are out of cell phone range, you may even have to hike back a ways just to send out a distress call! This is why it is so important to be prepared. Some things to bring are Band-Aids, moleskin (for blisters), duct tape (for closing large wounds in a pinch), 3M Coban (I prefer the veterinary stuff, also doubles as ACE wrap), gauze (roll it tight and put it in the center of the Coban roll), sterile dressings, large butterfly bandages, triangular bandages (many, many uses), Ibuprofen and Aspirin (take Ibuprofen to kill pain while you have a wound and Aspirin for headaches and other things…Aspirin is a blood thinner but also an anti-inflammatory), and an instant cold pack. There are many other First Aid products you can stuff in your pack, but these will allow you to stay minimalist and have the first aid gear you need for almost any situation. Splints are another good idea, but these can be improvised in the field without too much work (SAM splints are great though!). If you want to further prepare yourself, learn what to do: Take Wilderness First Aid! Many organizations offer it including the Red Cross. There are lots of options as far as First Aid classes go, but Wilderness First Aid teaches you what to do in delayed care situations, which you will be in. Standard First Aid classes teach you what you need to do to keep the victim alive until the ambulance arrives, but in the Wilderness, help may not even be coming until you go and get it.

Survival/Emergency Gear

You may find yourself in a situation where you get delayed, your bike is broken or you are injured too much to continue. A small kit of a few essentials can save your life! Some of the survival needs are water, food, shelter, first aid and signals. There are also other things like fire and human contact. The importance of each will depend on the resources on hand and what you can locate nearby. KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT! If it is cold and windy shelter and fire are going to be your first priority. Hot and dry means you might need to find another source of water and locate shade. Tailor your gear to your environment. Here are some essentials almost everyone should carry: A good multi-tool (I like Gerber), some rope (not string), a couple light sticks (for lake george topo map 219x300 Going the Distance…The Tools and Gear to Bring With You on Your Next Long Distance Journeysignaling), magnesium flint fire starter (lighters and matches suck in the wind), headlamp (Black Diamond has some of the best, with dual NiCad and AA operation, you’ll stop spending money on flashlights after you buy one), GPS (great idea to keep track of your position, Garmin has some with high gain antennas for better reception), extra batteries, water purification tablets, poncho, solar blanket, ID bracelet, duct tape (see a pattern?) map of the area, and a compass. Better yet don’t just pack ‘em, learn how to use them. Practice makes perfect and gives you the confidence you need to turn a life and death situation into a simple exercise in your problem solving skills. Read more

Interbike 2008 Expo: Xtreme Sports ID Bracelet

September 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

interbike 2008 xtreme sports id bracelet Interbike 2008 Expo:  Xtreme Sports ID Bracelet

Something really cool from the Interbike 2008 Expo…it might be a little Orwellian for some…we think it is brilliant!

The Xtreme Sports ID bracelet. It is similar to the Road ID in a plastic bracelet with online information (medical, emergency contact, address). The $8 purchase price buys you a year of coverage ($5 to renew and your account can accommodate multiple bands). The bracelet has your unique ID number and phone number on band for First Responders in case of an emergency.

Although we do not advise riding alone, when you absolutely must ride alone do yourself a favor and ride with one of these bracelets.  When someone else finds you unconscious and looking like the guy below they can call for help and all your medical information will be on file.

bloody mountain biker 251x300 Interbike 2008 Expo:  Xtreme Sports ID Bracelet

What You Should Have in Your First Aid Kit

September 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips

mountain biking first aid 300x202 What You Should Have in Your First Aid KitIt is unfortunate, but every day a biker is injured. While any injury sucks, having a first aid kit can be a very good thing. In fact a good first aid kit can mean all the difference in an emergency situation. However the off the shelf first aid kit, while good, needs a bit more added to it. This article is meant to be a guide as to what should be in a first aid kit.

The Basics:

  1. Gauze bandages. These guys are great for stopping bleeding and will help the body clot the blood.
  2. Band aids. There is nothing better for treating minor cuts and scrapes than a band aid.
  3. First aid tape. An absolute must for attaching Gauze bandages.
  4. Alcohol wipes. Treating any cut with alcohol seriously reduces the chance of infection
  5. Ace Bandages. Joint injuries are unpleasant, but one of these bandages can help support an injured joint until you have time to get medical attention.
  6. Tweezers. Never think that tweezers will not come in handy.
  7. Tourniquet. One of the best emergency treatments of a major cut is to cut off the blood supply. While a clean tourniquet is best, wearing a bandana can serve the same purpose.

Read more

Safety in Mountain Biking

September 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips

jones with fractured wrist 225x300 Safety in Mountain BikingLast week, my brother broke his wrist in three places during an urban assault ride. This week, he’ll be having surgery to place pins in his wrist to fix the fracture. This is the third time he’s broken an arm or wrist during urban assault riding in the past 8 years.

Urban assault riding is similar to trials riding, only in an urban setting. Most of the people that do urban assault riding do so on a mountain bike that may or may not have been modified for greater maneuverability over and around obstacles. My brother just uses his regular mountain bike with the seat lowered. In the past, he’s also used more “trials” type bicycles, also.

So, what’s the point? Mountain biking is an inherently dangerous sport, whether you’re careening down the side of a mountain or jumping a brick wall in a downtown setting. The point, or more appropriately, the question, is how far do you take the safety issue in mountain biking?

A helmet is a clear necessity for any form of mountain biking, whether on the street or on the trails. I personally never ride without proper footwear, eye protection, and gloves, as well. Sometimes, my brother wears shin guards during urban assault rides, but not always. With his history of arm injuries or considering the risk we all take to impact related arm injuries, do we also need to wear wrist guards like roller-bladers? Or, will this impede our ability to control the bicycle to the point of becoming unsafe? What about a chest protector like a motocross racer wears? I know I’ve come down some hills at very high rates of speed that could easily cause a puncture wound from a branch or stick. Or, how about a neck brace? Arm guards? Downhill racers add a full-face helmet to their safety gear. If it’s good for them, shouldn’t we be using them, also? Heck, let’s just create a bunch of robo-bikers and no one will get hurt.  Read more

MTBR.com Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet Review

September 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I originally posted a review of the Giro Xen mountain bike helmet ealier last week.  While writing my review I came across one written by Kalikiano Kalei on MTBR.com, it was an amazing (far better than mine) review and I asked Kalikiano if I could post it on MTOBikes.com for our readers to view (which he approved).  The review by Kalikiano Kalei is below.  Enjoy!

Strengthsgiro xen MTBR.com Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet Review

Structurally strong design with good shell integrity and satisfactory shell/foam bonding. Easily adjusted suspension and fastener. Excellent occipital coverage (rear of skull) for protection of brain’s visual lobe. Very adequate cooling for most applications. Most important positive feature is rounded external rear shell design that lacks sharp “swoopy” protrusions that can snag during a fall and cause hyperextension of neck (causing severe cevical spine injuries)–kudos to Giro for this feature! This is a greatg helmet for those with heads that are longer (“watermelon” shape, as opposed to roundheads) in fore and aft dimensions and slightly narrower side-to-side. Helmet stays on head securely in almost all situations. Summary: an excellent and much overlooked and underrated helmet for both MB and street aps.


Lack of high visibility shell colors to choose from. Visually bright orange, red, or lime green colors should be available! Yeah, I know: dark is “cool”, but being easily seen while using a helmet on the street is healthier (stay alive longer, brah!). Hotheads might want a bit more cooling, but a sweaty head is far better than a busted one, brahs!

Similar Products Used

Most other helmet designs (Bell, et al) over a 15 year period. Few are better for a wide range of bicycle protective applications than the GIRO Xen, in my professional opinion (as a specialist in military aviation life support technology and crainial protection safety).  Read more

Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet Review

August 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

giro xen Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet ReviewSelecting a helmet was simple…try everything on and base a decision on how well it fits and well…how good it looks on my melon.  The Giro Xen passed both tests, it was the best fitting helmet I tried on and its low profile provides a great look.

The Giro Xen is an all-mountain bicycle helmet with a low profile style and coverage found in a skate helmet with the lighter weight and ventilation of a XC helmet.

The rounded back of the helmet is key to safety as it is less likely to snag during a fall which could result in an injury as serious as a borken neck.  So not only does it look cool, but it is actually safer than most helmets as well!

The padding inside of the helmet is all one piece allowing it to be removed easily so that it can be washed.  This is a feature that many other helmets do not provide.  Having one piece promotes a longer lifespan of the insert.

giro xen rocloc 300x178 Giro Xen Mountain Bike Helmet ReviewThe helmet features the RocLoc system which makes for easy adjustment to obtain that “perfect” fit.  The RocLoc system is simple to adjust and does not require engagement/disengagement when taking the helmet on and off.

The Point of View (P.O.V.) visor is anchored by an internal clutch mechanism that allows for 15 degrees of vertical adjustment and prevents the visor from rattling or coming lose over rough terrain.

Perhaps best of all, the helmet is backed by Giro who as a company has one of the best customer service departments in the industry…no questions asked, if something breaks for falters a replacement will be sent immediately.

The downside (if there is one) of this helmet would have to be the price…roughly about $120.00 MSRP.  However, if you are like me and have a longer watermelon shaped head vs. a roundhead you know that it is hard-to-find a great fitting helmet and as such the price shouldn’t really be an issue.