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  1. #1
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    Do You Ride on Bad Air Days

    I never used to give this much thought, so maybe I'm just getting older and wiser, but I thought I'd find out what the rest of you think. I primarily commute and generally average 30 miles a day. The last several days the Pollution Index was at the high end of unhealthy for sensitive groups. I opted to drive my car even though I do not suffer (yet) from any respiratory issues. Am I just being overly cautious?

    Matt

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    I keep my hair short enough that it ...... Oh, you said bad air day??

    What is a bad air day?
    Yep, THAT Ira

  3. #3
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ira B View Post
    What is a bad air day?
    You probably don't know because Coupeville, WA probably doesn't have bad air.
    Here's what we see in Atlanta most days between May and October. Many days are well over 100 on the chart.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  4. #4
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Yes, I ride. I don't ride as fast or as far though and I benefit from being able to ride on well shaded trails through the woods if I need a break. On days like that I ride very early and humidity is both the biggest problem and sometimes the source of extreme beauty.

    Some mornings I'm out at 6:30am and as the ride goes on shafts of sunlight light up the moisture in the air between the trees. Beautiful but very very humid. It's weather in which you take maximum advantage of "wicking" clothing.

  5. #5
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    Due to a nearby wildfire our PI has been hovering right around 140. The dry California heat doesn't bother me so much as I'm concerned about the deep inhalation of particulate matter. It just seems that riding in those conditions would do more harm than good.
    Last edited by Hangtownmatt; 07-14-12 at 05:12 PM. Reason: clarify

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Last year The Great Dismal Swamps had fires and we had several weeks with "bad air."

  7. #7
    Rolling along
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    Bad air is a killer, high humidity is what I consider bad air, no I don't ride in bad air
    But you mean particulate matter bad air, no I don't ride in bad air.
    but I ride for exercise, if I were commuting I would ride, easy ride, no deep breathing, just transportation.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mort Canard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ira B View Post
    I keep my hair short enough that it ...... Oh, you said bad air day??
    Yeah, that was my first reaction when I first read the thread's title.
    "The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles" Butch Cassidy

  9. #9
    Member Andy2302's Avatar
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    It was a Bad Air day here. A leisurely ride through suburbia was a pleasure. No heavy breathing except for the cutie walking the dogs.
    Yes, I ride but take it easy.

  10. #10
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy2302 View Post
    It was a Bad Air day here. A leisurely ride through suburbia was a pleasure. No heavy breathing except for the cutie walking the dogs.
    Yes, I ride but take it easy.
    In my youth, I just pedaled on. I distinctly remember one time cresting a several hundred foot hill and tasting the lead in the air.

    My answer was to move to a place with cleaner air.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    I live near a refinery. Every day is a bad air day here! I don't go out of the house on Orange air quality days, beyond getting mail and paper. On yellow air quality days, the mornings are usually still okay for light riding.
    Last edited by David Bierbaum; 07-14-12 at 06:36 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ira B View Post
    What is a bad air day?
    My coworkers claim that everyday is a bad air day around me, oh wait that's bad wind.

  13. #13
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    I ride no matter what (commuting, same as you), but I also don't have any known allergies or respiratory issues.
    Longbikes Slipstream

  14. #14
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    We have the occasional Ozone Alert days in Indy.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  15. #15
    Senior Member oban_kobi's Avatar
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    Meh, it's nearly as bad in your car anyway, unless you have a scrubber to take care of gasses as well as a fine filter to take care of any particularly fine particular matter, beyond what a normal air filter would be capable of. Oh, and your interior would have to be air tight. May as well ride. The cardio will do more good for you than the small benefit you would gain from not breathing in as much crap. My plan is to move somewhere cleaner.
    This is super seriously.

  16. #16
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    There was a study that found significant lung damage to bicyclists riding in the wrong parts of town. Can't find it right now, but here are a couple of links.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/art...-threat-28264/

    http://www.active.com/running/Articl..._Athletes_.htm

    http://letsgorideabike.com/blog/2011...and-bicycling/

    Personally I go out of my way to get away from traffic. I have a nice bike path with not a lot of pollution.
    mainlytext.com/bike.html Bicycling in winter, the entertainment version

  17. #17
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    Man I feel lucky to live where I do... The only time I've ever seen smog is when I visited California...

  18. #18
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    When you live downwind of illinois, Michigan and Ohio, you have no choice.

  19. #19
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    I never used to give this much thought, so maybe I'm just getting older and wiser, but I thought I'd find out what the rest of you think. I primarily commute and generally average 30 miles a day. The last several days the Pollution Index was at the high end of unhealthy for sensitive groups. I opted to drive my car even though I do not suffer (yet) from any respiratory issues. Am I just being overly cautious?

    Matt

    Something to bear in mind: in-car pollution can be higher (two to four times, maybe up to 10x higher) than in the surrounding area. So taking the car doesn't necessarily help us on these days. For example (random google): http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/1999/in_car_facts.htm

    Some takeaway points:
    It's worst in the congested slow lane
    Being behind slow, high-emitting trucks is a large part of it
    Air filters don't seem to help much
    Rolling down the windows does help

    Common sense is that avoiding the dense traffic would mitigate it, but that suggests that we're better off after all riding our bikes on the residential roads and trails as we normally do rather than taking the car on the obvious routes. Or, possibly, even driving on the same bike routes (as much as possible) might still be worse than cycling.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Something to bear in mind: in-car pollution can be higher (two to four times, maybe up to 10x higher) than in the surrounding area. So taking the car doesn't necessarily help us on these days. For example (random google): http://www.aqmd.gov/news1/1999/in_car_facts.htm

    Some takeaway points:
    It's worst in the congested slow lane
    Being behind slow, high-emitting trucks is a large part of it
    Air filters don't seem to help much
    Rolling down the windows does help

    Common sense is that avoiding the dense traffic would mitigate it, but that suggests that we're better off after all riding our bikes on the residential roads and trails as we normally do rather than taking the car on the obvious routes. Or, possibly, even driving on the same bike routes (as much as possible) might still be worse than cycling.
    I'm not disagreeing, but when I'm riding my bike I know I'm breathing much more deeply than when driving my car. Someone suggested riding, but taking it easy. That, and avoiding dense traffic makes sense.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    High humidity keeps me off the bike. Off my Ducati too.

  22. #22
    Beast Rider BeastRider's Avatar
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    Staying off the bike because of humidity? REALLY? Are you afraid that you might sweat too much?

  23. #23
    Senior Member loneviking61's Avatar
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    That smog and smoke can damage your lungs. And, if you have asthma like I do--it will really put you in a world of hurt. Matt, if you're really in 'Hang Town, well-I know where that is and didn't know the smoke was getting up that far. I'd take the car! Here in Carson City, we only have bad air if there's a fire somewhere.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by loneviking61 View Post
    That smog and smoke can damage your lungs. And, if you have asthma like I do--it will really put you in a world of hurt. Matt, if you're really in 'Hang Town, well-I know where that is and didn't know the smoke was getting up that far. I'd take the car! Here in Carson City, we only have bad air if there's a fire somewhere.
    Hangtown = Placerville. I commute down into Sacramento. The fire's practically next door in Newcastle. Depends on which way the wind blows. This week will be great! The delta winds will blow the smoke away and keep temps in the 80's.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    Started out on a ride yesterday in high humidity, knew it would be tough. As I was leaving my neighbor said "are you riding today,the air quality is bad", I told him I would see him in a couple of hours and went for my ride. So yes, I ride when I feel like it.
    "If there are no cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain

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