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Old 11-05-07, 08:13 PM   #1
HandsomeRyan
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Frozen Lungs

The cold doesn't bother me too much except my lungs. As i ride, i breathe deeper and my whole chest starts to ache from breathing the cold air.

Anyone else experience this?

Any solutions other than waiting until it isn't so cold out to ride?
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Old 11-05-07, 08:16 PM   #2
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Spend more time outside in general. You'll get used to it.

Oh ... you're in Tennessee? How cold could it possibly be?
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Old 11-05-07, 08:47 PM   #3
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I always have a balaclava or neck gator in cold weather, breathing through that warms the air before it gets to the lung, no problems unless the fabric freezes over from the moisture in my breath. Then I can't breath and start seeing spots.... I cut airholes, that took care of that problem.
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Old 11-06-07, 06:11 AM   #4
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right now when it's "cold" its in the high 30's or low 40's. I know this isn't cold to most people but i think you hit the nail on the head- if I'm not used to it it feels cold to me.

Thanks for the great advice, I'll see what I can find.
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Old 11-06-07, 07:11 AM   #5
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Out of curiosity, I bought a heat exchange mask (the Exchanger II) from PolarWrap (and a pair of Toasty Feet insoles) from PolarWrap.
< http://www.polarwrap.com/exchangermask/index.htm >

I've never used a heat exchange mask, but on paper, the dynamics of the mask make sense. But then again, the theoretical design of the bumblebee should preclude flight, and yet they've flown in my bonnet a time or two...

Anybody ever use the heat exchanger masks?
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Old 11-06-07, 10:55 AM   #6
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Out of curiosity, I bought a heat exchange mask (the Exchanger II) from PolarWrap (and a pair of Toasty Feet insoles) from PolarWrap.
< http://www.polarwrap.com/exchangermask/index.htm >

I've never used a heat exchange mask, but on paper, the dynamics of the mask make sense. But then again, the theoretical design of the bumblebee should preclude flight, and yet they've flown in my bonnet a time or two...

Anybody ever use the heat exchanger masks?
Have you had chance to use the Toasty Feet? In what conditions? Thanks!
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Old 11-06-07, 12:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
right now when it's "cold" its in the high 30's or low 40's. I know this isn't cold to most people but i think you hit the nail on the head- if I'm not used to it it feels cold to me.

Thanks for the great advice, I'll see what I can find.
I ride with my nose and mouth exposed most of the time. I can't stand having something over my nose, ever ... it's exposed down to -40C ... but I will pull my balaclava over my mouth at about -10C, if it is windy or colder if it is not windy. The problem with pulling a balaclava over my mouth is that it freezes up with my breath, and the ice adheres my balaclava to my chin, and I don't particularly like that either.

The temperature goes over the low 40sF here for only a very short part of the year ... like 2-3 months, and even then the nights get down to that during that time. So ... I'm used to it. And that is what it boils down to. I spend as much time as I can outside, even in very cold temps ... walking, eating lunch on a bench, cycling, etc. That would be my suggestion ... don't just go outside for rides, go outside whenever you can ... even a walk around the block at lunch time or whatever.
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Old 11-06-07, 12:45 PM   #8
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That would be my suggestion ... don't just go outside for rides, go outside whenever you can ... even a walk around the block at lunch time or whatever.

I'll try this, and if I need something to help me cheat a little bit until my lungs develop an imunity to the cold/dry air I can use a scarf or something.
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Old 11-06-07, 01:07 PM   #9
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Breath through your nose or a bala. I've also developed a method of breathing through a sort of overbite, which also directs the outflow down into my jacket instead of fogging my glasses up.
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Old 11-06-07, 04:19 PM   #10
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I like that overbite idea. My glasses always fog and I've been dreading it.
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Old 11-06-07, 05:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I'll try this, and if I need something to help me cheat a little bit until my lungs develop an imunity to the cold/dry air I can use a scarf or something.
Get a neck gaiter rather than a scarf .... much more convenient.
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Old 11-06-07, 07:34 PM   #12
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Have you had chance to use the Toasty Feet? In what conditions? Thanks!
No, sorry, never tried the Toasty Feet.
1. I made several buys for my feet, to experiment with.
* Toasty Feet from PolarWrap for MTB shoes.
* Fleece insoles for MTB shoes (I'd give credit to the cyclist on BikeForum that mentioned these, but can't remember his name).
* Sidi Toasters for MTB shoes. And ...
2. Winter boots, to repeat the above cycle of Toasty Feet, fleece insoles, and Sidi Toasters.

The only time I've ridden more than 15 miles in cold weather was February of this year, and it was just below freezing. If the Michigan winters are particularly mean, the wind chills can get below -40 F, but the usual bad winters (in January) would probably be -20 F. I'm really curious to see how the foot stuff holds out ... and if the toes stay on.
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Old 11-06-07, 08:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
The cold doesn't bother me too much except my lungs. As i ride, i breathe deeper and my whole chest starts to ache from breathing the cold air.

Anyone else experience this?

Any solutions other than waiting until it isn't so cold out to ride?
I am wondering if you're not asthmatic. I am, that is, the cold can take my breath away. I take it easy when I go outside until my body gets used to the cold. I would suggest trying not to take too much air via your mouth vs your nose. I backpack in winter where it gets well below 0F but an initial walk in the early cold air used to be humbling.
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Old 11-07-07, 12:46 AM   #14
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Are you wearing a t-shirt? Lift the collar over your face and breathe. Warm?

In the winter I wear a thin windbreaker under my coat...but it is worn backwards and the collar is up, so I have a turtleneck under my chin. When the air gets too cold for my face or lungs I tuck my mouth under the collar. Now I am breathing inside my body tent. 10 seconds is usually enough for me to recover.

This method is hands free as well. An unintended design benefit of wearing a top backwards is that the entire garment is pressing the collar against your throat. A shrug of shoulders creates enough space for you to tuck in, and when you pull your mug out again the collar rides back against the neck sealing out the cold air.

Because of condensation from your breath I don't recommend sticking your face under your collar for the whole trip, it's not a substitute for a balaclava or other face protector but it is good for the giving your lungs a break every now and then. Anyways the main reason why I do this is to have a seamless barrier to keep my neck and chest warm: high collar and no buttons or zippers to leak in cold air.
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Old 11-07-07, 07:11 AM   #15
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I am wondering if you're not asthmatic. I am, that is, the cold can take my breath away.
I've never been diagnosed with asthma, and I do not generally have trouble breathing (except in the cold air as mentioned) but I am interested in exploring this idea further. I'll have to do some reading about asthma and maybe explore this as a possible cause. Knoxville TN is generally ranked as having the 2nd or 3rd worst air quality in the USA (Los Angeles always beats us). I would estimate that 40+% of the people here suffer some type of resperatory problem as a result.

------- in other news ------

I got a pair of insulated cover-alls and a pair of thermal "compression" pants @ Wal-Mart last night. I got up @ 5:30AM and went for a walk with them on. It was about 32* but there was little to no wind. My lungs didnt hurt too much but I was only walking so I wasn't breathing as deeply as i do when I ride. The cover-alls felt great though! I am planning to try to commute by bike at least once a week and I think they will be just great for keeping me warm.

Again, thanks to everyone for all the great advice. Stay warm and have fun out there!
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Old 11-12-07, 11:29 PM   #16
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From my own experience, I wouldn't be surprised if you do have a mild form of asthma or reactive airways. I do. I get the same catching sensation in my chest on cold days. I find that it is not as bad if I do a warm-up exercise inside before I go out in the cold (literally a set of jumping jacks or whatever). The cats think I'm insane, but it seems to get the blood flow going in my lungs so they aren't as twitchy. I have an inhaler but learned the hard way that you shouldn't take those when it's below freezing
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Old 11-13-07, 03:07 PM   #17
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how old are you? When I was in my late teens and early twenties I used to get a terrible hacking cough after any cold weather heavy breathing. Ten years since then I have no problems at all, even down to -20F. So maybe age has something to do with it? Maybe you just need to get used to it?
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Old 11-13-07, 04:23 PM   #18
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I often feel like I just smoked a whole pack of cigarettes when I get back from a winer ride/commute.
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Old 11-19-07, 12:26 PM   #19
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there are several companies that make heat exchanger face masks to warm the air you breathe.
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