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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 09-22-05, 07:15 PM   #1
Eggplant Jeff
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How do you breathe in cold temperatures?

A few years ago I tried to jog regularly with a friend... I made it until it started cooling off, at which point my lungs just could not handle breathing hard in the cold air. I'm concerned that this'll be a problem again as I commute to work on my bike and winter is not that far off.

What do you guys do to keep your lungs from being irritated?
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Old 09-22-05, 07:51 PM   #2
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Psolar makes those masks and balaklavas that have a breathing unit that keeps warmth and moisture from the air you exhale to warm up the air you inhale. It works good, but can require some time getting used to... It requires that you control your breathing a bit since it is a bit resctrictive when you are breathing hard.

http://www.psolar.com/
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Old 09-22-05, 08:14 PM   #3
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How do you breathe in cold temperatures?


In and out ... just like you do in warm temperatures. There isn't much difference ... it's just that the first few breaths in the cold can feel a teensy bit uncomfortable until your lungs get used to it.
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Old 09-22-05, 08:19 PM   #4
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REI is down, but a balaclava with slot for mouth as well as nose worked well for me last year.

Something like this but less expensive and more flexible.
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Old 09-22-05, 08:43 PM   #5
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(Edited) Some people may have more "reactive airways" and/or "exercise-induced asthma" and will cough or wheeze in response to exercising in the cold air. You might want to research these topics or check with your MD to see what ideas are out there for you.

Last edited by cooker; 09-22-05 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 09-22-05, 09:01 PM   #6
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(Edited) Some people may have more "reactive airways" and/or "exercise-induced asthma" and will cough or wheeze in response to exercising in the cold air. You might want to research these topics or check with your MD to see what ideas are out there for you.

Agreed. I've got Exercised Induced Asthma and have been prescribed a couple inhalers for it which seem to have made a world of difference.

And I will also add that doing centuries in temps around -25F can lead to a case of bronchitis. It's good to exercise some caution if you plan to be out in cold temps, breathing cold air for 15+ hours.
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Old 09-23-05, 02:39 AM   #7
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I don't like balaklavas because that's often too hot. However, my favourite cover is a scarf around my neck and face. Depending on the wind and temperature, it's either relatively tight or loosely fitting, but it allows the air to get warmer before I breathe it.
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Old 09-23-05, 11:20 AM   #8
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I've found that in through the mouth and out through the nose helps a lot if you're wearing goggles and don't want them to fog up. If it was cold enough for goggles last year, I was typically wearing a facemask, too, which didn't have cutouts for the nose and mouth...
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Old 09-23-05, 03:58 PM   #9
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Sure, but the frozen boogers are the worst. I'm gonna try one of thePolarWrap™ Exchanger® Facemask . Wonder if it would reduce your need for one or more layers as well?
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Old 09-23-05, 07:24 PM   #10
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Yeah, I am not sure what I am going to do when the temperatures start dropping... I intend to ride through the fall and perhaps even some of the winter, and from past experience I know that my lungs burn like hell if I inhale cold air too rapidly. Perhaps I'll just take it slower...
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Old 09-24-05, 08:13 PM   #11
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I have the Psolar face mask - not the full balaclava - in the lightest weight material they offer. I live in the mountains of TN so it will get down into the single digits for a day or so but it usually hovers in the mid 20's in the coldest parts of the winter.

I bought the mask because I have moderate to severe asthma and cold air less then 40 degrees is just about debilitating for me, even to walk the dogs, let alone cycling. The mask is wonderful! My core temp stays warm and my extremities don't get as cold since blood isn't leaving them to try to keep my trunk warm. It is the one piece of winter gear I will not leave home without. I have ridden for over 2 hours in 20 degree weather and it felt like I was breating in 60 degree air. Once you try one you won't go back to a plain balaclava or a scarf. One more thing, there is no condensation on the inside to freeze your face. The only difficulty I had was fogging of my glasses, but that was resolved by pulling the mask down below my nose and breating thru my mouth. They offer an adapter that is supposed to fix the problem. It just isn't worth the trouble for me to buy it since my system works. YMMV.

P.S. It weighs next to nothing and is completely machine washable but you will have a 'Darth Vader' look about you. I'm at an age that I don't care what I look like, as long as I'm comfy but I know some of you young'uns will have issues with the looks of the thing.
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Old 09-25-05, 06:28 PM   #12
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I live in minnesota and have ridden in minus 21 degrees. I've done this several times and I think i've toasted my lungs. Wearing a ski mask that covers your mouth is the best thing you can do. Also if you ride extremely hard and make your respiratory system work harder, you'll force more air into your lungs. Breathing in large amounts of extremely could air can be very dangerous when you have an accelerated heartrate. Ride slower and be aware of your breathing. Temperatures 15 degrees or above shouldn't have any adverse effects on a normally healthy persons respiratory system. And personally I don't cover my mouth unless its below 0-5 degrees.
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Old 09-26-05, 05:09 AM   #13
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I tried one of those heat exchanger masks, and couldn't stand it. The thing is very bulky for starters, and the mouth hole on the inside is very small and hard to get aligned properly. When it is aligned right, the airflow is very very very restricted, and since it covers the nose too there's no way bypass the thing for a nice deep breath every once in a while. I'll admit I just got a cheap one that's not really a formed, fitted thing, but I'd be cautious. A balaclava that I can use to cover my mouth, but leave my nose out seems to work just as well.
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Old 10-16-05, 06:34 PM   #14
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It helps me to put my tongue against the roof of my mouth and breathe in through my mouth and out through my nose. It pre heats the air a little.
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Old 10-17-05, 12:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChroMo2
I live in minnesota and have ridden in minus 21 degrees. I've done this several times and I think i've toasted my lungs. Wearing a ski mask that covers your mouth is the best thing you can do. Also if you ride extremely hard and make your respiratory system work harder, you'll force more air into your lungs. Breathing in large amounts of extremely could air can be very dangerous when you have an accelerated heartrate. Ride slower and be aware of your breathing. Temperatures 15 degrees or above shouldn't have any adverse effects on a normally healthy persons respiratory system. And personally I don't cover my mouth unless its below 0-5 degrees.
My normal cut-off temperature for winter riding is about 0F (-18C), and I do not exercise below 15F (-9C). I have ridden in colder temperatures, then I have used long woollen scarf wrapped around my throat, and over mouth and nose and partially ears, _and_ normal winter head gear. The ice that accumulates in the scarf insulates a bit, but still I get my eyelashes frozen...
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Old 10-17-05, 09:46 AM   #16
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In through the nose helps if you have EIA - it restricts the airflow to what you need, rather than the great gulping bucketfuls of air you *think* you need.

That plus a scarf over my face if it's really biting works for me.
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Old 10-17-05, 09:20 PM   #17
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One of my favorite items for winter riding is a "Dickie." It's like a fake turtle neck. I used a sleve cut off an old T-shirt with big sleeves. I can pull it up over my nose and mouth and it works great. I can also pull it down when I need to breath. I get claustrophobic in a balacava, I have a couple and they get icy with my breath, but then everything does. The neat thing with this is that it will also serve as a wind lock at the neck of my jacket so the wind isn't whipping down my jacket and chilling my chest. By cutting it from a T-shirt some extra material helped make a layer to cover my chest too.
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Old 10-18-05, 07:01 AM   #18
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Had the same problem. Did research during summer and found the following...

http://www.natlallergy.com/allergy/p...lergyzone.html

don't think the link will work, so just do a Google search for BreathXchange Mask. This mask just takes the air you breath out and recirculates it so that it is nice and warm for your sensitive lungs. Good luck!

Bobbie
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Old 10-18-05, 01:04 PM   #19
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One solution is to not ride as hard when it is very cold. That means your breathing will be shallower and affect your lungs to a lesser extent. If the cold air is still a problem then one of those masks mentioned look pretty effective or even just a scarf to help warm the incoming air. You still will probably be require to cut back a little on your effort so you can still get enough O2 with the restricted breathing. For me it is only a problem when it is really cold and dry. I think the dry air causes some of my passageways to dehydrate a little. By taking it easy I put less stress on the system and every thing continues to work smoothly.
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Old 10-18-05, 03:04 PM   #20
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you folks are hard-core. I switch to the indoor trainer.
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Old 10-18-05, 03:15 PM   #21
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Hi

I do some out door activities. I also have bronical ashma. I went to Gander Mountain and bought a full face covering with a warmer apparatus across the mouth. It works beautifully. It is about 40.00 or so.

I won't go without it on the windy cold days. Like any temperature under 30.
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Old 10-22-05, 12:57 AM   #22
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I overheat and the balaklavas were too hot. I use something that is the weight of a light scarf but it is a circle neck wrap. I can pull it up or drop it down while cycling. It doesn't cause my glasses to fog up. I have a problem with asthma and cold air. It was a real eye-opener the first time my airways shut down when walking. I felt like someone was strangling me. Now I never leave home in the winter without an inhaler. I used to just take it cycling, now I wear it around my neck all winter.
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