by Benjamin P. Goebel
If you had the choice, wouldn’t you want your personal physician to be a motorcycle rider? Unfortunately, many in the health care professions have a strong aversion to motorcycling. Too bad for them. If you had the choice you would really want a guy named Flash Gordon, M.D. A rider since 1961 and daily rider since 1978, Flash has specialized in emergency room care. Thirty-plus years of emergency medicine have given him a very pragmatic approach to doctorin’.
Combining his passions, medicine and motorcycles, he started writing for CityBike, a California motorcycle publication similar to MMM (CityBike rocks! Ed.) As interesting as his column was, it’s no wonder that he was picked up in 2002 by national publication, Motorcycle Consumer News, where he still writes a monthly column. His first book, Blood, Sweat and Gears: Ramblings on Motorcycling and Medicine was an assemblage of his MCN columns. Blood, Sweat & 2nd Gear: More Medicine for Motorcyclists, is just that: motorcycle specific medical advice.
In Blood, Sweat & 2nd Gear, we get the author’s unique perspective on many of the common medical afflictions/situations that befall motorcyclists. He has broken it down to “Things Caused by Accidents”, “Things That Might Bother You Out On The Road”, “Concerns For Long Trips”, “Effects of Emotions on Riding” and “Fitness for Riding”. Numb hands? Back hurt? Sunburn? Roadrash? Monkey butt? All discussed in an easy-to-read, short chapter format. Even if you don’t have any interest in the chapters’ content, this format (2-6 pages per chapter) helps to keep your interest piqued. If you have been riding for any length of time, you will recognize most of the topics pertaining to yourself or fellow riders.
While many of the topics (asthma, stomach issues, hypothermia, etc) are of general medical concern, the good doctor is able to make them directly applicable to motorcyclists, giving you a great deal of information to make informed medical decisions when on the road. The chapters on “Things Caused by Accidents”, or hearing loss or eye problems are worth the price of admission alone. Very interesting are his submissions for creating a motorcycle-specific first aid kit. If your eyes start to glaze and the drool starts when the medical jargon starts to flow, worry not. Although certainly able to go deep, the doctor uses the very minimum amount of technical terminology to get his ideas across. I guess after three decades of two-minute ER synopses, he’s got it down. When necessary, the highly efficient text is accompanied by simple line drawings for clarity.
Flash gordon was an early internet adopter and this book continues the tradition, often citing websites for more information. Dr. gordon writes in a very humorous style and the book is peppered with crazy anecdotes that only come from a lifetime of experience.
While there is certainly no substitute for regularly scheduled visits to a physician, when on the road, flash gordon’s advice is just what the doctor ordered.
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