With our Corporate Ambassador, Mark Beaumont now back in one piece (broken tooth and fractured elbow aside!), from his World Cycle, we have considered the potential hazards of this ever-growing sport. Before we embark on a cycle or car journey most people undertake a mental Risk Assessment without even realising it. Things to do, things to take with you, things to avoid!
From a cycling point of view Hazards can include:-
There are many other road users out there – cars, vans, trucks and other cyclists. In the event of a cycling race controls could include route planning to avoid heavy traffic/ large vehicles etc.
Wearing the right kit is essential. Should there be an incident having a qualified First Aider available with appropriate Fist Aid kit would be required. On any distance event, falls are inevitable and plans must be in place on how to deal with these, patch up the rider and get them back in the race.
We can’t control the weather or avoid it however tyre choice, appropriate waterproof clothing and changes of clothing being available can make a big difference to performance. Aerodynamic equipment, helmet, cycle frame, wheels etc will reduce the drag of head winds.
The condition of a bike is critical to performance. Appropriate tyres for the road surface of the stage or journey, available spare wheels to deal with punctures as quickly as possible, spare brake pads, lubricants and tools should all be available to make adjustments. Daily servicing of the cycle will ensure the optimum machine reliability.
When fatigue sets in mistakes happen and there is an increased risk of falls / collisions. Nutrition and hydration are key. Mark had to take in 9000 calories per day to ensure he was able to perform at the top of his game. In cycle races on closed roads food and water can be passed from a car window. On public roads that is very dangerous so passing energy drinks / food to the rider by a support pedestrian as the rider passes at an agreed location is much more manageable.
In addition, good communication systems are required to get feedback from the rider as to how they are feeling. Planned breaks must be built into the journey and assessed as the trip continues to ensure they are effective. Companion riders can be brought into the ride at appropriate times to help pull the solo cyclist along.
As with any sport it is critical to maintain peak physical condition. Warm up at the beginning of a journey and warm down towards the end or after a stage. Whilst you may not be cycling 18,000 miles (!) you may be taking part in an endurance event so having physios available for massage and treatment every day would be an important part of the regime.
For further information on our Risk Management services, please contact our Risk Management Consultant, Nick Morrall – 07977 559504 or [email protected]