Blood, Sweat & Gears

Reviewed by Edwin Gordy, M.D., Newtonville,MA

A pleasing, informative, quirkily enjoyable book for bikers and for those who would keep them intact

Blood, Sweat & Gears -- Ramblings on Motorcycling and Medicine, by Flash Gordon, M.D., published by Whitehorse Press, North Conway, NH, 1995, ISBN 1884313035, 111 pages.

Flash Gordon is not a nom de plume; it's his real name. As Dr. Gordon writes in the introduction to this slim paperback volume, this is a collection of short pieces (columns) that appeared originally in CityBike, northern California's premiere motorcycling monthly. This is not a textbook on first aid.

Some topics addressed in this volume are instructions to first-time passengers about sensible dress (including helmets, leather clothing, e.g.), mounting/dismounting, sitting/leaning once on the bike. All the topics covered apply to motorcyling in general, for first-time bikers to old hands in the saddle.

Included are: first-aid kits, road rash, tetanus shots, calf burns from hot muffler contact, poison ivy, dust specks in eye, carpal-tunnel syndrome and other mechanically caused nerve-conduction problems, motorcycling-related stiffness in joints and muscles, hearing protection, dehydration, diarrhea, colds, sinusitis, smoking, motorcyle addiction, hemorrhoids, road hazard visibility, riding/braking on slick road surfaces, hypothrmia, gloves, boots, type-A personality, aging, heart disease, and sensible advice on checking an accident victim.

Observant readers might want to pay attention to the author's own encounters with illness serious enough to require the services of competent practitioners in specialized areas of The Medical-Industrial Complex. In my biased opinion, well-written sketches by a thoughtful doctor-turned-patient are always worth reading. Dr. Flash Gordon is good at this, displaying a talent for the humorous light touch.

Although the book's self-deprecatory subtitle is Ramblings on Motorcycling and Medicine, you will find that each set of comments on a particular topic covers points which a biker/doctor seriously thinks about.

Ordinary civilians will enjoy the low-key style, possibly even catching a glimpse of a different lifestyle. You don't have to be a cyclist or a doctor to read this book. Those who are will have no trouble recognizing that the author has been there.

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