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Old 04-18-08, 01:22 PM   #1
knotty
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Road dust and the cyclist

In the city, there is a fine dust raised by cars that covers everything, it's even on my house windows 30 feet up. When you hose off the house front, there is a black sooty dust that washes off. I often wonder how much dust cyclists are breathing in especially when riding in city traffic as the car tires kick up this road dust? is this dust possibly rubber worn off tires?

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Old 04-18-08, 01:44 PM   #2
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At this time of year, in my area, the road dust comes from the massive quantity of gravel all over the paved roads. In the winter, they gravel the roads every time it snows or gets icy to improve traction. When the snow and ice melts, the streets are covered in gravel. Most of it is on the sides of the road, extending out anywhere from a few inches to several feet ... basically right where cyclists would ride.

This year has been particularly bad because it has been so dry ... this gravel contains fine dust which blows up every time a car drives over it or when there is a relatively strong gust of wind.

So as I ride along, I'm getting covered in all this dust ... and no doubt breathing it in.

Yesterday I did a century and the wind was howling in the afternoon. The farmers were out in their fields and their equipment was also kicking up dust. It was in my hair, all over my clothes, and I felt like I inhaled half a field on that ride, and spent my evening sneezing and coughing.

We desperately need a good rain (not snow!) in the part of the world.
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Old 04-18-08, 01:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knotty View Post
In the city, there is a fine dust raised by cars that covers everything. . .wonder how much dust cyclists are breathing in especially when riding in city traffic as the car tires kick up this road dust? is this dust possibly rubber worn off tires?
The dust of which you speak is not necessarily or completely due to traffic, tho' admittedly cities have a bit more of the latter than, say, Shanghai WV. This is a dusty planet and we're still accruing meteoric dust daily by the ton. Then there's soil blow-up dust, pollen, mining dust, particulates from fires natural or man-made, industrial particulates, volcanism, and thousands of other sources including tire disintegration dust. Regarding how much of that dust you breathe, the amount you describe all over everything serves as a reliable estimate apportioned to your exposure to it.

The good news is that a healthy human has a reliable mechanism for expelling inhaled dust up to a point.
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Old 04-18-08, 04:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by knotty View Post
In the city, there is a fine dust raised by cars that covers everything, it's even on my house windows 30 feet up. When you hose off the house front, there is a black sooty dust that washes off. I often wonder how much dust cyclists are breathing in especially when riding in city traffic as the car tires kick up this road dust? is this dust possibly rubber worn off tires?

knotty
It's normally carbon and other pollutants - http://www.google.com/search?num=100...ffects&spell=1

It's also been shown that motorists suffer greater risk than either cyclists or pedestrians - something to do with motor cars ventilation systems funnelling the pollutants from the vehicle(s) ahead.
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Old 04-18-08, 05:03 PM   #5
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It's not that bad around here, it only gets bad on really hot days(well for around here at least).
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Old 04-18-08, 05:09 PM   #6
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It could be the rubber worn off tires...tires do wear, and the stuff goes somewhere.
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