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Old 08-23-05, 07:24 PM   #1
vrkelley
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Just ran across this article today. Looks like high speed cycling makes you breath in more polluted air. Everyone's seems to tell me "slowwwwww down"??? That'll happen when I'm 90 anyway... all in good time! :rolleyes

Would anyone care to comment?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspap...743309,00.html
=========Article in line==================
CYCLISTS may be doing themselves more harm than good by pedalling to the office along congested roads, according to pioneering research by the British Heart Foundation.

After just one hour of cycling through traffic, tests showed microscopic particles in diesel fumes caused significant damage to blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Those cycling at high speeds in the hope of improving their fitness levels are doing themselves the most damage by breathing in a higher volume of the polluted air.

The current system of locating most cycle paths in bus lanes has the perverse effect of forcing cyclists to inhale the most dangerous air, spewed out by diesel-powered buses and taxis. The number of diesel-engined cars in Britain has also increased dramatically from 1.6m to 5m between 1994 and 2004.

The health warning will dismay the large numbers of commuters who have switched to bicycles to improve their fitness, to avoid high fuel prices or, in London, because they fear another terrorist attack on public transport.

There is no dispute in principle about the health benefits of cycling — it improves the circulation, keeps weight down and boosts overall fitness — yet the new research indicates that they could be outweighed by the polluted conditions of a busy road.

Dr David Newby, British Heart Foundation senior lecturer in cardiology at Edinburgh University, said: “Cycling through congested traffic exposes the cyclist to high levels of air pollution, especially as the exercise of cycling increases breathing and the individual’s exposure. This is bad for the heart.”

In his tests 15 healthy men cycled on exercise bikes in a chamber while being exposed to levels of diluted diesel exhaust comparable to the air they would inhale cycling along a congested city road.

The men cycled for one hour. Six hours after exposure to the fumes, damage was detected to their blood vessels. The blood vessels became less flexible and there was a reduction of a protein that breaks down blood clots in the heart. This damage is associated with the early stages of heart disease.

Diesel exhaust includes nanoparticles of carbon and a range of metals. The particulates are so tiny that experts say it is pointless for cyclists to wear masks, because the mesh cannot be fine enough to block them.

Newby said: “While they are exercising, cyclists breathe two to three times as much air as car drivers. We need to locate cycle lanes away from major roads.” Newby’s research has been submitted to the journal Circulation.

Next month the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, a government advisory body, will publish a report highlighting the risks of heart disease from traffic pollution.

Jon Ayres, chairman of the committee, says that typical urban traffic pollution poses the same risk of heart disease as passive smoking.
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Old 08-23-05, 07:38 PM   #2
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They banned cigarettes in a lot of restaurants and places in Amreica. Why not the same attitude toward the cars? Instead of moving the bike lanes, why don't we just git rid of cars downtown. Easier said than done I know, but our economy could be doing better anyways so why not get some projects like these going?
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Old 08-23-05, 07:38 PM   #3
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Hmmm... I'm glad my commute is away from dense traffic for 90%... and then most traffic is petrol not diesel. On the rare occasion that there are fumes I tend to breathe slower due to the suffocating stink.

The other factor not considered is cyclists are slower than traffic (except buses) so would perhaps cycle in pockets of reduced pollution, while motorists in heavy traffic would be in it all the time, so may end up worse??

I think tests like these are worthless for predicting actual effects in real traffic conditions unless they take air samples along the route at cycling speeds.
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Old 08-23-05, 08:02 PM   #4
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cliched but we all gotta go one day... the way i figure it, i'll probably acquire other health problems if i decide to take the car over the bike on my commutes... the study could be possibly true in certain neighborhoods, or may inaccurately reflect real life situations as one guy stated above...
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Old 08-23-05, 09:21 PM   #5
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Crap... this daily time trial push all out at 180bpm all day isn't healthy for me, I knew it!
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Old 08-23-05, 09:27 PM   #6
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And one of the 'solutions'--busses--makes my commute a hellish fog of diesel exhaust sometimes.
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Old 08-23-05, 09:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedummy
cliched but we all gotta go one day... the way i figure it, i'll probably acquire other health problems if i decide to take the car over the bike on my commutes... the study could be possibly true in certain neighborhoods, or may inaccurately reflect real life situations as one guy stated above...
Ha! Exactly what I said after reading that article...we all gotta go one day!
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Old 08-23-05, 10:58 PM   #8
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Wear a mask if you're -that- worried.

- Warren
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Old 08-23-05, 11:22 PM   #9
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BUT... theres always a butt....

If you drive the air intake of most vehicles is low enough that in traffic it's sucking exhaust from the car in front of you. Numerous studies showing that air quality on a bike is better than in a car because of our height. And cars have no filters that will reduce exhaust emmisions, CO or most of the bad stuff.

So... the real study would be to compare the physical effects of the same person commuting on the same roads, one month sitting in a car breathing exhuast, one month riding a bike breathing exhaust. Whether the benifit of the exercize outweighs the increased damage from an increased resp rate vs the possibility of decreased exposure and no excersize....

Interesting study though. I guess i'll quit doing intervals on the highway.
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Old 08-24-05, 01:53 AM   #10
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No real world data from the streets.
I guess the study shows that men should not cycle at high speeds on exercise bikes in a chamber while being exposed to levels of diluted diesel exhaust.
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Old 08-24-05, 05:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeTheChange
They banned cigarettes in a lot of restaurants and places in Amreica. Why not the same attitude toward the cars? Instead of moving the bike lanes, why don't we just git rid of cars downtown. Easier said than done I know, but our economy could be doing better anyways so why not get some projects like these going?
Great point.
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Old 08-24-05, 05:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB HI
I guess the study shows that men should not cycle at high speeds on exercise bikes in a chamber while being exposed to levels of diluted diesel exhaust.
Great. Now I have to find a new hobby! ;-)
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Old 08-24-05, 05:43 AM   #13
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I knew there was a reason I take it easy when I hit Midtown.
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Old 08-24-05, 06:11 AM   #14
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Well, at least on my morning commute through the city, there are few cars around to pollute the air. The afternoon is quite a bit more congested, unfortunately.

Now what I can't understand is why you STILL see old rustbucket cars tooling around with clouds of blue smoke coming out the back. These people should be pulled over by cops, just like they would be for chucking their McDonalds wrappers out the window.

Heh, how long before someone starts selling canisters of bottled air for cyclists to use on their commutes? The canisters would be specially formulated with extra oxygen, and perhaps scented as well. Oooooh, I can just picture a shelf at the LBS with cans marked "Strawberry field" and "Bakery" and "prarie after rain."
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Old 08-24-05, 06:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeTheChange
They banned cigarettes in a lot of restaurants and places in Amreica. Why not the same attitude toward the cars? Instead of moving the bike lanes, why don't we just git rid of cars downtown. Easier said than done I know, but our economy could be doing better anyways so why not get some projects like these going?
They're trying this in London, for example. The problem there would be that buses and (I believe) cabs are allowed in the restricted area, and those are probably the primary sources of diesel fumes in city traffic anyway.

A relatively large portion of buses around here run on natural gas. While it's still fossile fuel, the emissions are not as bad as with diesel. This combined with restricted private car access to city center might be the most feasible solution right now.

--J
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Old 08-24-05, 06:26 AM   #16
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Oooooh, I can just picture a shelf at the LBS with cans marked "Strawberry field" and "Bakery" and "prarie after rain."
Oh, but the cans will marked Campy and Shimano - just imagine the ensuing flame war on which is the better oxygen.

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Old 08-24-05, 07:17 AM   #17
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Wear a mask if you're -that- worried.

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The article specifically says a mask won't help.
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Old 08-24-05, 07:46 AM   #18
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I agree with the person who said to compare a month each of driving to biking. The test isn't accurate/fair if they don't do that. Big surprise

Anyway, I usually CHOOSE to ride where there is less traffic. Granted, the city I live in isn't hugemongous like NYC or something, it's a smallish city, so it may not be such an issue, but the roads that have less traffic also have better scenery! I ride as much for that as anything else. You just can't really look at stuff going by at 50+mph. I'd choose the nicer+safer route over the faster one any day.
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Old 08-24-05, 08:10 AM   #19
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This is one area that the US is ahead of Europe in a public health/environment kind of way. We have stricter restrictions on diesel emissions, which is part of the reason that there are also fewer diesel vehicles in the US. The Euro 5 standard is in draft though and will restrict particulate emissions even further.
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Old 08-24-05, 08:11 AM   #20
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I remember reading another study (sorry can't find it at the moment) that said even though cyclist inhalde pollution, car drivers inhale more since most of them are breathing in recycled air with more particles.
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Old 08-24-05, 08:43 AM   #21
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Our cities have buses (and police cars and cabs) that run on LNG, so no biggee getting stuck behind one. But heaven help the soul who finds themselves behind a school bus! Ack ptoo!

edit: That's "our" as in Phoenix-area.
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Old 08-24-05, 08:50 AM   #22
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The benefits you get from the exercise outweighs the negative effects of the pollution.

A properly tuned diesel engine runs cleaner than a properly tuned gasoline engine.
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Old 08-24-05, 09:03 AM   #23
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Quote:
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The benefits you get from the exercise outweighs the negative effects of the pollution.

A properly tuned diesel engine runs cleaner than a properly tuned gasoline engine.
I guess that means that the old Mercedes Diesel I got behind this morning was not properly tuned. ;-) I could see through the cloud of black smoke trailing it that it had some sort of REI bicycle bumper sticker on it...
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Old 08-24-05, 09:28 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeTheChange
They banned cigarettes in a lot of restaurants and places in Amreica. Why not the same attitude toward the cars? Instead of moving the bike lanes, why don't we just git rid of cars downtown. Easier said than done I know, but our economy could be doing better anyways so why not get some projects like these going?
Exactly what I was thinking.

Many folks stay in shape by excercising in their homes or at gyms, yet still act like travelling 10-15 miles on a bike isn't doable. I understand that people have very high opinions of their cars and the 'status' that is obtainable by driving a nice, expensive, over-the-top car. I just dont understand what happens when they sit down to weigh out the pros and cons. Where do they go wrong? Are they so reliant upon what other people think? How can people think that we've always had cars, computers, frozen dinners, microwaves, television, etc, and can't live without them? Even with all the misinformation spread, you'd think more people would be more reasonable when they actually weigh out the pros and cons of something like the automotive industry. I guess like most other things, people are driven by fear. They're afraid becuase they dont know what things would be like without cars. Why are people so afraid of change? I love change.

I would love to believe that people aren't brainwashed by the commercialism, greediness, and misinformation put out by our society and the 'powers that be,' but it simply isn't true. People argue for things that are against their beliefs, morals, or general decision making process.
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Old 08-24-05, 09:50 AM   #25
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Ahh... more reasons to get a bubble. I want my bubble. Someone fetch me my bubble.
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