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Personal Safety While Touring

Old 04-11-14, 06:28 PM
  #26  
Cyclesafe
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
It can be fatal to your health and your wallet, although if you end up dying despite treatment you might not care about the cost.
A course of anti-venom in San Diego exceeds $10,000. Most "victims" are drunk young men with bites on their hands.

I saw many rattlers (every couple hundred of yards) in the southern New Mexico section of the GDMBR. Never felt that I was in danger of being bitten. Then, of course, I was sober and old.

The only real fear I had while touring was in the Gila National Forrest when a mountain lion chased an elk though our camp. It sounded just like a tomcat, but much louder. Scared the bejesus out of my riding partner and I. Not the kind of cougar I was hoping for.....

Last edited by Cyclesafe; 04-11-14 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 04-11-14, 07:00 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
A course of anti-venom in San Diego exceeds $10,000. Most "victims" are drunk young men with bites on their hands.

I saw many rattlers (every couple hundred of yards) in the southern New Mexico section of the GDMBR. Never felt that I was in danger of being bitten. Then, of course, I was sober and old.

The only real fear I had while touring was in the Gila National Forrest when a mountain lion chased an elk though our camp. It sounded just like a tomcat, but much louder. Scared the bejesus out of my riding partner and I. Not the kind of cougar I was hoping for.....
Actually, money will be the least of my concerns if I get sick or hurt. As long as I pay for my plane ticket with my Mastercard, I get health insurance while out of Canada. I think $25000 is the limit. Its a matter of weather I survive to the nearest town after a bite. But I've been doing some reading, and most everybody says that small animals like snakes and scorpions will run away when you approach.

Coyotes might be a bigger concern. I don't know about AZ, but here in Ontario those animals are getting more aggressive as they feel a crunch on food and habitat. There have been attacks on pets and even people, and there are packs of coyotes living right in urban areas.
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Old 04-11-14, 08:24 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
A course of anti-venom in San Diego exceeds $10,000. Most "victims" are drunk young men with bites on their hands.

I saw many rattlers (every couple hundred of yards) in the southern New Mexico section of the GDMBR. Never felt that I was in danger of being bitten. Then, of course, I was sober and old.

The only real fear I had while touring was in the Gila National Forrest when a mountain lion chased an elk though our camp. It sounded just like a tomcat, but much louder. Scared the bejesus out of my riding partner and I. Not the kind of cougar I was hoping for.....
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Old 04-11-14, 09:03 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by El Cid View Post
Since I'm planning on camping in the desert, though, I wonder what kind of dangerous wildlife might be there, and just how bad a rattlesnake bite can be.
You want to be extremely cautious of moving around on foot in snake country. If the poison does not kill you, and most rattlesnake bite victims survive, you'll most likely face years of repeated surgery due to the lingering effects of the poison on bones.
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Old 04-11-14, 10:11 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour View Post
You want to be extremely cautious of moving around on foot in snake country. If the poison does not kill you, and most rattlesnake bite victims survive, you'll most likely face years of repeated surgery due to the lingering effects of the poison on bones.
I lived and worked outside in rattlesnake country for 30 years, the last 12 before I retired, in what I consider prime habitat. During that time, I also volunteered as an EMT on the hospital's ambulance. There was one snake bite during that period: a rancher was changing an irrigation pipe and placed his hand within a couple inches of the snake, startling it. He did die, not from the bite, but from a severe reaction to the anti-venom drug.

I never felt in any danger, and I was in the field a lot. Using common sense when stepping over obstacles, where you place your hand around rocks and logs, and giving them some room if you encounter one is usually enough.

Most rattlesnake bites are not fatal, and to my knowledge there are no surgical procedures required in the treatment. The old slit and suck of the puncture wounds was probably the closest to surgery, and it went out of vogue several decades ago. The treatment is to use an elastic bandage lightly around the wound and get medical aid as soon as possible. The only hitch is: it is best to minimize physical exertion, which is hard to do if you are on a bike.

I'd actually be more worried about anaphylactic shock from bee stings, especially yellow jackets. I carry a couple of epi-pens in my first aid kit, not necessarily for me, but for anyone needing it.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-11-14 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 04-12-14, 02:07 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Badgerjohn View Post
All,

Just curious about personal safety and what methods, rules etc... you employ, to avoid any harm or trouble that may arise. IE: getting robbed, or assaulted by some crazy person.

I will be touring Maine this summer and just want to be safe.

I will carry pepper spray for dogs for sure.

Thanks,

John
A decent lock or two can come in handy.

Also, don't be afraid to ask the campground operator if they have a shed or locker or somewhere you can store your panniers etc. while you head into town to get dinner.

And if you carry expensive technology or other important documents etc., take them with you. We carry teensy fold-up backpacks (they're teensy when folded, but quite a decent size and fairly strong when unfolded) which we can use to carry whatever we'd prefer not to leave in our panniers.
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Old 04-12-14, 02:21 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour View Post
You want to be extremely cautious of moving around on foot in snake country. If the poison does not kill you, and most rattlesnake bite victims survive, you'll most likely face years of repeated surgery due to the lingering effects of the poison on bones.
My take on this, living and working in country that contains a number of the world's most poisonous snakes, is that the more movement you make, the more you stomp the ground as you walk and disturb the brush and track surface, the more likely you are to disturb the snakes from a distance and give them a chance to flee. If you have to lift something like a piece of roofing, try to lift it away from you. Don't go putting your arm down burrows or into thickets of grass or brush unless you really, really have to.

And at night, when you get up and have to squat, take a torch with you to make sure there isn't a snake curled up underneath you. It is not unknown for a snake to bite a person on the butt and for the person to die as a result (more from the embarrassment which has led them to not report what has happened).

One of the anecdotal things I have heard is that if an Australian Aboriginal was bitten by a snake, the key to survival was to lie still for a week or so in the shade of a tree. The venom proceeds through the lymphatic system, not the blood system, hence the reasonably tight bandage over the bite site that Doug64 mentions. Keeping a patient quite and not moving about will do a lot to help survival.
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Old 04-14-14, 09:24 PM
  #33  
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I only had 2 incidents where I felt a bit at risk. Both were from guys in cars. I had stopped for a quick break and they pulled just a little bit too close and looked a bit too interested in me or, more likely, my possessions. Each time I took out my cell phone, fake dialed and then had a wild and loud conversation with myself, making sure to describe my surroundings and the fact that someone else was there. I pointed, waved my arms around, etc. The first time, I just hopped on my bike. The second time, the guy spun out of the park where I was sitting and I never saw hide nor hair of him again.

Gotta love technology!

BTW, most times, people were more than kind. As soon as they see you, they like to talk, ask questions, offer you a coffee/cold drink/sandwich, etc. Its actually a wonderful way to meet people.
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Old 04-14-14, 10:00 PM
  #34  
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When I toured in the northeast, only concern I had was ticks, the lyme disease ones. Quit prevalent in that area I understand. I read that the best way to avoid is to stay out of tall grass and wooded areas. Makes sense.
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Old 04-14-14, 10:48 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour View Post
You want to be extremely cautious of moving around on foot in snake country. If the poison does not kill you, and most rattlesnake bite victims survive, you'll most likely face years of repeated surgery due to the lingering effects of the poison on bones.
I haven't heard about the bones part of this, but the venom can be extremely disfiguring. In areas with the Mohave variant, this is a very dangerous species. But the genetic traces of this animal stretch up to Ontario, and similar traits are found in the Massassauga, which is often described as a relative honey of a snake. You really need to do some research on your own. Many of these species are endangered, and rightly subject to concern about their welfare. But this often creates a climate of happy talk that is misleading to a real understanding of the risks. Fatalities are rare, but hospitals without antivenon; severe, cripling injury; financial ruin are not so rare.

There was a recent story about a woman who was short health care at a time when she got bit, she was an x-ranger, so had some experience with snakes. Got bit in suburban DC region where snakes are not particualarly common, and was billed 50K for the anti-venom. At the time there had been a series of stories about wild hospital billing, but this report was careful to point out that the AV actually cost a lot, and the story was not about overcharging. Several other stories report charges as high as 90K for anti-venom, for 4 doses. A woman was charged 80K for anti-venom for a scorpion bite, which I had thought was generally not too bad. One story I saw took a disproportionate 16 doses to stabilize a guy, that bill would have been extreme. That is just the shots, if you need a lot of surgery, etc... the cost will keep rising.

Apparently rattlers can't bite through 2 layers of cordura, so you can buy or make a sock to armor your lower extremities, and use a pole to poke into areas where placing a hand would be a risk.

Last edited by MassiveD; 04-14-14 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 04-14-14, 11:41 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
If you hear banjos....

Keep riding.
My wife plays a banjo and is considering bringing it along with us next month as we ride down the West Coast. I guess we're going to have the campgrounds to ourselves.
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