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Do you worry about air quality?

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Do you worry about air quality?

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Old 01-17-07, 06:10 PM
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kemmer
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Do you worry about air quality?

Here in Salt Lake we experience weather inversions which can cause the air quality to suffer pretty badly. Right now we have been in such an inversion for several days and the air quality index (AQI) is getting pretty bad. Right now its in the low hundreds, at 100 it's unhealthy for people with repritory problems and they recommend staying indoors. When it hits 150 they don't let the kids out to play at recess. My question is this; do any of you pay attention to all the AQI nonsense, or do you just ride no matter what?
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Old 01-17-07, 06:34 PM
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Atlanta's got some air quality issues also, but we never experience inversions which can be a much more serious health issue. Basically, ours always blow over at the end of the day. So usually I structure my summer commute to leave once it gets a bit cooler and the main air quality issues dissipate.

However I have a good friend who always says "better a Code Red day than a Code Fat day." I'll avoid the peak poor air times, but I try to ride regardless.
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Old 01-17-07, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by kemmer
Here in Salt Lake we experience weather inversions which can cause the air quality to suffer pretty badly. Right now we have been in such an inversion for several days and the air quality index (AQI) is getting pretty bad. Right now its in the low hundreds, at 100 it's unhealthy for people with repritory problems and they recommend staying indoors. When it hits 150 they don't let the kids out to play at recess. My question is this; do any of you pay attention to all the AQI nonsense, or do you just ride no matter what?
Air quality, temperature, humidity and yes UV rays i consider looking at before a bike ride out doors.
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Old 01-17-07, 08:33 PM
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I hate inhaling car fumes waiting in a line of traffic. Another good reason to jump to head of line. I had a heart attack in April with quad bypass surgery. During the height of summer I was one of those who was to be carefull exerting myself in the polluted humid stagnant air mass.
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Old 01-17-07, 09:10 PM
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Anyone wear a mask?
I don't myself but occasionally see someone doing it
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Old 01-17-07, 10:18 PM
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I notice the local "Spare The Air" days because they get a lot of publicity, transit is free, etc. I notice the air tastes a bit worse. But I need to get to work and back home again. Transit would take 2:11 in the morning (three busses) or 1:59 in the afternoon (four busses) compared to my bike trip of 0:55. What am I to do besides bicycle?

No, I don't sneak up to the head of a line of traffic. Better fumes than right-hooked.
 
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Old 01-18-07, 12:08 AM
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I just ride. Never noticed a whole lot of difference. I do care about it though because I know I'm affected by it even if I can't feel it at the time - and because I know many people DO feel it and it does not feel good...
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Old 01-18-07, 08:33 AM
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I just ride. Of course, bike and car are my only real options so I'd just be part of the problem if I was driving.

We have quality issues, but nothing of the very serious variety though. I would have to give it some more thought if we did.
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Old 01-18-07, 09:28 AM
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I ride to Times Square every day. I try not to think about it.
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Old 01-18-07, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rosie666
I try not to think about it.
That's always been my way of handling it, but then my co-worker commented that I always cough for about 20 minutes after I show up for work and that maybe I shouldn't ride on red days. I've always had that problem in the cold, even as a teenager and even on good air days but it made me think a little. I will probably try and avoid riding on days where the AQI is higher than 120 or so.
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Old 01-18-07, 02:57 PM
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rosie, I applaud you, times square isn't just brutal because of the air.
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Old 01-18-07, 03:25 PM
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I'm a native Los Angeleno. If I can't chew the air I start to get worried about hypoxia.
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Old 01-18-07, 03:29 PM
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During our 'smog days"...I've on a couple occasions last summer where I had to stop and catch my breath, lest I pass out. It has been getting worse up here.
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Old 01-18-07, 03:32 PM
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not sure if it counts, but in the spring we can get pollen counts upwards of 5,000 ppm. To put that in perspective, its considered high at 100 ( I think, it may be 150). But I still ride.
Then in the summer we get smog alert days. I still ride.

Do I think about it? Sometimes. Does it inhibit my riding? no.
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Old 01-18-07, 03:36 PM
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I don't pay any attention to that stuff.

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Old 01-18-07, 03:59 PM
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how would the air be any better in your car or on the bus?

so i guess my answer is no.
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Old 01-18-07, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
I don't pay any attention to that stuff.
Paul
I occasionally pay attention, but haven't figured out how much good it would do not to ride. If I have to get to work, I'm going to be in or on a car, truck, bus or some other vehicle, and every last one of them fills with outside air when its door is opened, and draws in outside air for ventilation in-transit. Holing up in some air-tight chamber doesnt seem like a viable option.
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Old 01-18-07, 04:03 PM
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The smog is not usually bad here but we have had forest fires burning for over a month now and the air has been very smokey (20% of the state has now been burnt). There have been a few days that I have left the bike at home as I haven't fancied riding in 100 degrees through air I can taste. Thankfully it is raining today (it hasn't rained for a few weeks) and it will help to clear the air and to put out the fires.
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Old 01-18-07, 04:19 PM
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Right now its in the low hundreds, at 100 it's unhealthy for people with repritory problems and they recommend staying indoors.
People with asthma, allergies, and similar problems aren't all alike, but generally speaking I believe most cities' outdoor air is better than most buildings' indoor air. Of course, several days a year (the smoggiest days) the opposite is usually true.

Either way, exhaust on the roadways definitely bugs me many days of the year. But I don't avoid riding on the roads. (even though, as some people have pointed out, you breathe a lot more when you exercise.) Subway tunnels (subway is one of my most viable commute options behind the bike) are not particularly easy on my lungs.
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Old 01-18-07, 05:24 PM
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I only worry about air quality when in Mexico City, not here in the US. Obviously there may be a unheathy air day every once in awhile here in the US, so you don't ride on that day-use some sense and stay tuned to your local weather reports!!
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Old 01-18-07, 05:35 PM
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Every once in a while we get inversions [the entire center of the city is in a valley], but I tend not to notice unless the sunrise is extra-colorful. The only time I notice air quality is in the spring when the pollen is flying. Last year it actually piled up in the gutters - my nose was running like a faucet.
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Old 01-18-07, 05:39 PM
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[QUOTE=cerewa]People with asthma, allergies, and similar problems aren't all alike, but generally speaking I believe most cities' outdoor air is better than most buildings' indoor air. Of course, several days a year (the smoggiest days) the opposite is usually true.

Either way, exhaust on the roadways definitely bugs me many days of the year. But I don't avoid riding on the roads. QUOTE]

same here. I have asthma and going warm-cold, cold-warm can set it off. I wear a baclava (that's a bank robber's hood, right?) and it helps warm the cold air in winter.

exhaust is no fun but seldom a big issue. the air in N Texas blows around pretty quick. and even when the "index" is hi, i bet indoor quality tends to be much worse, esp from all the coworkers breathing the same stuff.

we put a Hepa air filter in the office 2 years ago, and, kid you not, not one round of colds has spread thru the office since.
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Old 01-19-07, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by max-a-mill
how would the air be any better in your car or on the bus?

so i guess my answer is no.
I think the key is that you're sucking in more air when you're exerting yourself riding outdoors, whereas you just sit on your butt in a car or bus and, unless the windows are all open, you're buffered a bit.

I'm signed up for e-mail alerts on Seattle air quality but generally ride anyway. Maybe more a morbid curiosity of sorts...although on the rare occasions we throw a Java Log in the fireplace and it's not raining, I definitely check the air quality first.

The idea of making public transit free on bad air days is brilliant! I wonder if Seattle has ever considered this, if only during rush hour or going to reduced fare (vs. free).
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Old 01-19-07, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SEAcarlessTTLE
The idea of making public transit free on bad air days is brilliant! I wonder if Seattle has ever considered this, if only during rush hour or going to reduced fare (vs. free).
The program is called Spare The Air. The free transit happens because of some sort of Federal budget subsidy, and they can only use N of them every summer.
 
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Old 01-19-07, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dwoloz
Anyone wear a mask?
I don't myself but occasionally see someone doing it
Nope, because short of SCBA, a mask does little to no good. It'll filter the particulates but against the permanent gases, like ozone and carbon monoxide, they don't work...and that's the stuff that's bad for ya. So it's ineffective and you look goofy
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