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Old 07-20-12, 05:17 PM   #1
Midnight Biker
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Do car fumes ever bother you when you're biking?

I get extremely frustrated when I'm biking, trying to catch my breath, and I get stuck in a huge cloud (sometimes a full block in length) of car fumes or truck diesel fumes. There's nothing worse, in my opinion, when you're exhausted from pedaling hard and you take a deep breath to get some oxygen into your system and you end up inhaling toxic chemicals and carbon dioxide (or whatever it's called) that makes you even more tired. It's one of the reasons I stopped commuting by bike and stopped biking during the day altogether. Now I mostly ride at night.
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Old 07-20-12, 09:25 PM   #2
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In my experience, nothing is worse than when a vehicle (usually a over-sized diesel truck) buzzes past you leaving you in a cloud of black soot and exhaust. I don't know if I would quit riding in the day all together because of it, though. Maybe drive out to some less crowded roads and take a spin there?
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Old 07-20-12, 09:58 PM   #3
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I stay far away from traffic as much as possible. Most of my commutes are down residential streets to a bike path, or at 6 AM, when I'll only see 2 cars moving in the 6 miles to the office. Don't like the fumes either.
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Old 07-20-12, 10:18 PM   #4
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Yes, so I always try to avoid the worst offenders, which are freshly started cars, diesel trucks accelerating, or cars out of tune. This means once I notice one of the above by sight or smell, I'll adjust my lane position and / or slow down in order to minimize my time spent in the most offending zones. Knowing which way the wind is blowing helps with this. Slowing down also makes it easier to take shallower breaths, or even hold your breath for a brief period (while in a choke zone) so you don't take in so much crap.

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Old 07-20-12, 10:44 PM   #5
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I've heard some benefits to having a bandanda or medical mask for the black/carbon soot. The worst ones around here are the monster pickup trucks that have "belching" as a feature for looking manly. I don't know how many times they have thought it cool to smoke screen past me. For the most part they are getting better on the commercial side. At least in PA there is a little tightening of the emissions regs slowly taking effect.
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Old 07-20-12, 11:08 PM   #6
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Not too fond of following buses, but other than that, I'm not too bothered -- certainly not enough to forgo daylight rides and pedal at night! I'd rather deal with the exhaust than be a moving target for thugs who'll shoot 'crackas' for fun.
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Old 07-21-12, 12:14 AM   #7
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Smokers and perfume bother me as well. Here in California, the emissions controls are fairly strick and I don't notice care fumes often.
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Old 07-21-12, 12:27 AM   #8
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It is pretty annoying, but what is worse IMO are dustbin lorries on hot days - the stench can be nauseating.
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Old 07-21-12, 01:15 AM   #9
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Touring? I favor trips with the ocean not far off, and away from cities

or Hot enclosing Bowls surrounded by mountains,
like the Cal central valley..
top of the US bad air list is Fresno..


now I live 200M from a tidal estuary.15 miles from the Sea.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-22-12 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 07-21-12, 05:50 AM   #10
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Diesel and other particulate emmisions are,I believe, the second leading cause of lung cancer. It would be wise to avoid them if possible. Maybe it is best to get upwind of the source and try to force as much air out of your lungs so as to get rid of any particles of soot you may have ingested.
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Old 07-21-12, 06:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Touring? I favor trips with the ocean not far off, now I live 200M from a tidal estuary.
I hope you don't change your username to tsunamibob!

No fumes where I ride. I do eat some dust sometimes when cars pass me on the gravel roads, but there aren't that many cars out there.
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Old 07-22-12, 02:02 PM   #12
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Not where I ride. I used to ride in and around a city as I had little choise. Then it did when behind a bus or truck. I had no solution other than to not ride, which for me, was not an option.
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Old 07-22-12, 03:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
I hope you don't change your username to tsunamibob!
Oregon coast is getting a lot of Japanese flotsam.. sea will suck out Costco and Home Depot first,
and maybe all that stuff will wash up on another countries beaches.
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