Blood, Sweat and Gears


Ever since Motorcycle Online staffers started throwing a leg over dirt bikes, we've become more and more familiar with the workings of the medical establishment. And most of the white coats hate motorcyclists. Here's a book that redresses the balance and should be required reading for any motorcyclist that ever ventures out of city limits.

Subtitled 'Ramblings on Motorcycling and Medicine' this collection of essays is compiled from a selection of motorcycle/medical columns that Dr. Flash Gordon (yes, it's his real name, although not the one he was born with) has written over the last decade for Northern California's CityBike magazine.

Each two or three page essay revolves around a motorcyclist's medical problem. Each piece offers insight, Flash's rare brand of ER humor and a penchant for awful puns (Duh Thrill of Victory, Duh Agony of De Feet, reads the heading for one chapter dealing with broken toes). Laced in with the humor is some useful advice. 

Flash tells you what to do when something happens, when to take yourself or another person to the emergency room, and what to do in the meantime. 

The slim volume is no substitute for a complete medical text book (although Flash does recommend a couple of hefty ones to read before long rides in the country), but it does give you a good overview of motorcycle injuries, from someone that's seen more than a few. As a Director of the Emergency Residency Program in San Francisco's General Hospital, and a motorcyclist for 33 years, Flash has the rare perspective of a motorcycling emergency room physician.

Many motorcycle related problems are treated with a brisk, amusing curbside manner. No preaching here, just honest advice and awful puns. Even though the essays are mostly only a couple of pages, you'll probably learn more in ten minutes of reading than you did last time you waited three hours in the emergency room (numbness or throbbing in that injured wrist? Get back to the emergency room immediately!). Flash also writes about road rash, eye injuries, helmets, hearing and Carpal Tunnel syndrome (more common in motorcyclists than you'd expect). And more. He provides a few useful tips on the perennial problem of what to do when you're wet. And cold. Or wet and cold, otherwise known as Hypothermia. He also covers the effects of aging, and coins my favorite quote on that wrinkly subject "Getting Old isn't bad, when you consider the alternative".

Dr. Flash Gordon 

The 112 page book is illustrated with black and white cartoons that look like they were printed on a dot-matrix printer at midnight, but graphics aren't the point. Most every essay touches a nerve, most especially the one about hemorrhoids. Experienced motorcyclists will read this book and wince, learning what they should have done in those tricky situations they've encountered. Learner motorcyclists, hopefully, will read and learn what they can do in situations they've yet to encounter.

A great addition to every rider's bookshelf.

Rating: ****

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