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Suggestions for cycling mask

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Suggestions for cycling mask

Old 07-13-20, 05:48 PM
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Suggestions for cycling mask

All of my cycling is on the road, no bike paths, so I have not been wearing a mask, as exposure risk to/from me is minimal. I'm thinking of carrying a mask in case I ride to a more populated destination (downtown) or so that I can stop for a cup of coffee.

Question: Does anyone have any suggestions for a mask that is "cycling friendly" in regard to good fit while active and stands up to sweat? Coolmax?

Stay well & thanks!
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Old 07-13-20, 05:57 PM
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One of those convertible facemask neck gaitor thingamabobs seems to be working well for me. It wicks pretty well, doesn't feel like I'm being asphyxiated, and is handy around my neck for when I need to pull it up over my nose where coverage is required.
I doubt it offers the protection of a 'proper' mask, but if the goal is to break up the 'breath plume' and limit the range of your expelled germs, I guess it's fine. I suppose you could add a layer under it if you want to thicken it any.
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Old 07-13-20, 06:01 PM
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I also cycle on road where I rarely see another cyclist and when I do I can start a pass early and keep out of wake with 10ft distance when passing and then not ride in front of them again until a distance ahead. I also use a mirror to keep aware if another cyclist may be behind me - useful if at a red light and want to stay away. So I have not been wearing a mask when cycling, but do keep a bandana with me in case I need one for an unplanned stop. A single layer bandana has been found to provide the least 'protection' from tiny droplets, but when I fold it to use as a mask it is four layer - once folded along diagonal and then again to fold the pointy tip back up. I figure a bandana is has other practical uses like wiping sweat or cleaning up after a repair.
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Old 07-14-20, 04:06 AM
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i use 2 BUFFS but if you watch any face mask videos every time you adjust your mask you are endangering yourself ???
... and so it goes
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Old 07-14-20, 09:09 AM
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When I have longer rides on paths with close proximity to people or with plans to walk into enclosed spaces on the way, I wear a silicone half face respirator with exhalation valve and one way flow valves which keeps it fairly cool. P2/n95 filters are fairly easy to breathe with when matched with the exhalation valve and one way flow valves. P3/n100 are a little more difficult to breathe.

I put it on for the whole ride and never take it off until I get back home, because I'm touching other surfaces with my hands along the way, and if I'm constantly putting on and off the respirator then I'm risking contamination. Although the exhalation valve doesn't protect the people around you, I feel that it's not possible to ride a long time without an exhalation valve, and I think overall the risk is reduced for everyone if you wear the respirator with exhalation valve the entire time, instead of using one without the valve and constantly take it on and off only when entering a store, and much safer than just a cloth mask. If you reduce your own risk of getting infected, then I feel that the risk to other people when using an exhalation valve would also be reduced.

Last edited by tomtomtom123; 07-14-20 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 07-19-20, 11:04 AM
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Most of my biking have been on single track trails. Don't think I've seen anyone around here wearing masks... but maybe I should start reconsidering?
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Old 07-20-20, 11:49 AM
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Respro and Vogmask both make sport-type masks with exhaust valves. They've been used for some time by bike commuters and other cyclists in areas with high pollution (especially PM 2.5/PM 10) levels, such as larger cities in the UK, EU, and China. Last time I was in London, the vast majority of rush-hour bike commuters were wearing masks of this sort.

There's been a worldwide shortage of these masks since COVID hit, so I have yet to actually try one (one is coming in from the UK, hopefully, at the moment.) There are also some knockoffs on Amazon, but I think the shipping times for those are long as well.
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Old 07-21-20, 03:35 AM
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I've tried various non-medical masks and face coverings that are supposedly "better" for athletic folks and honestly can't find anything better than the surgical masks I was already using.

Typical surgical masks are 3-ply, each layer very different. The inner layer is softest and most porous. The inner layer resembles a paper coffee filter. The outer layer is comparable to poly wicking fabric, more of an open mesh -- it's mostly there to exclude dust and protect the inner filter layer. The design is intended to trap airborne droplets -- basically, spittle -- in the middle layer.

Surgical masks can be reused and refreshed by steaming them using a fabric steaming wand used to de-wrinkle delicate fabrics. The scalding steam will kill microbes without damaging the mask. The outer poly layer (usually blue) will melt on contact with even a low iron, but won't be damaged by a steamer. I stretched out my dwindling supply of masks that way for awhile, before new masks were readily available again.

Fact is, with surgical masks, most respiration occurs *around* the mask, not through it. Unless the wearer takes precautions to snug up the mask against bare skin using makeshift elastic bands, etc., the mask mostly serves as a barrier to droplets, not so much for aerosols. I have a beard so no mask or respirator is particularly efficient against aerosols, other than a full hood. But the vast majority of transmission is short distance aerosols and hand-to-face contact. Basic epidemiology we learned back in the 1970s, not much has changed despite the mixed messages we've heard from experts and pundits of paranoia this year.

Since I worked in health care years ago and continued later as caregiver for elderly family, I've always kept basic medical supplies around including surgical masks. So I had most of a box of 25 when the pandemic hit. Occasionally I wear one on dry cold winter rides to prevent sinus headaches.

I can manage with one in summer, although it's hot and stuffy. Very important to ease off the effort, ride in the cooler part of the day or night (I'm a night owl anyway), and hydrate.

I also wear Breathe Right or comparable adhesive strips that go across the bridge of the nose to gently pull open the nasal passages. Really helps make it easier to breathe in masks, since our nasal passages tend to swell a bit in the heat.

In my area we aren't required to wear masks outdoors for exercise so I don't. I mostly ride rural areas where I seldom see anyone, and the few cyclists, joggers or pedestrians I do see are easily avoided. I always swing wide when passing folks.

I've avoided the multi use path because even when there are few people the paths are so narrow it's impossible to keep any distance. Most of our paved MUP is a mere sidewalk, 4 feet wide. I do need to use the MUP for a few miles for monthly shopping errands, so I pick the hottest midday or late night and see very few people.

If I did use the MUP when it was congested, or had to be around people outdoors, I'd wear a surgical mask. I don't see any benefit to any other mask, considering my beard.

However there may be some advantage to a balaclava or buff to partially cover the neck, although the part that covers the face should not readily transfer droplets. That rules out any athletic wicking fabric on its own. The very design of wicking fabric ensures that spittle -- airborne droplets -- from someone's sneeze, cough or animated talking will immediately penetrate to the wearer's mouth and nose. A standard wicking fabric buff or balaclava could conceivably be worse than no face covering at all.

So if you do choose a balaclava or buff, consider adding a disposable surgical mask under it. Or make layers, using a paper coffee filter as the middle layer. Again, most of the respiration will occur outside of the filter, not through it. But the layered filter will help trap spittle -- yours or that of an unmasked person yakking, sneezing, coughing or drooling while setting a PR on the MUP.
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Old 07-22-20, 04:02 AM
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Disinfection by steaming may work if done correctly but I just leave my respirators in a paper bag in a dry place for 5 days before reusing, because it's the least risk of damage and I have more personal trust in it's effectiveness.

You should shave your beard if you are concerned about reduction of risk. Maybe it isn't as relevant for masks than for respirators but I would imagine that there would be some effect.

Respirators with one way flow valves and exhalation valves worked well for me while cycling. It was cool and easy to breath with a p2/n95 filter. P3/n100 were more difficult to breathe but that's what was available at the time of purchase. The p2 filters have started to become more difficult to breathe after 10 to 20 hours of use.

I too try to avoid the bicycle paths that share space with pedestrians.

Lucky for me, the current country I'm in has the infection under control. The number of total active cases has stayed flat for the past month in the low 4 digit number for the whole country, and daily new known cases in the city of 2 million people is less than 10 cases per day. So the risk has been greatly reduced. Face coverings are still required indoors and when social distancing is not possible. I haven't seen any problems with compliance in the supermarkets, but almost no one wears a mask outside anymore. I heard from some people that they don't wear masks at work. But I still take precautions as I'm more risk averted.

With the lifting of most business restrictions and the reopening of all borders, the neighboring countries have actually started to have an increase of active cases after having a gradual decrease for the past couple of months, but they're 10 times higher than this country. I could imagine a general increase when the school year restarts next month for all of the countries.
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Old 08-01-20, 07:22 PM
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Just for the record, the reason to wear a mask is to protect others if you are an asymptomatic carrier of Covid (or anything else.) A surgical mask, a multi-layered cloth mask, or a bandana folded over several times will drastically reduce the area <you> spread droplets from your breathe. A mask with an exhalation valve defeats the purpose of protecting other people from <you>. But if everybody wears simple cloth or surgical masks, there is very little transmission.




These are pretty good for cycling- oversize bandanas made of wicking material, can be doubled or trebled over, thicker than a cotton bandana but not hot:


Weird company though.
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Old 08-02-20, 01:30 AM
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I'm talking about a respirator to better protect yourself. Not a mask. I wear something on my face whenever I am near people. Many people are not compliant with local rules on distancing. As I'm most compliant, my chances of being asymptomatic is lower than most others. As p2/n95 respirators with exhalation valves are more readily available, I think wearing one has lower chances of infection for everyone if I wear one instead of a mask. Just as an example, without any scientific analysis, let's assume with a respirator I have a 5% chance of getting infected but 100% of infecting others after getting infected, assuming that I wear it all the time and wear it correctly with fit checks. 0.05 x 1.0= 5% risk. If I wear a mask, let's assume 50% for getting infected and 50% for infecting others, 0.5x0.5 = 25%. Whatever value you use will probably be higher than the 5%. Or maybe 2%x100%=2% vs 25%x25%=6%

Anyway, I put duct tape on the exhalation valve of the disposable respirators if I'm only walking into a store or going for a very short ride to a store. Only when I'm going for a very long ride and going in and out of multiple stores do I wear a half face reusable respirator with one way flow valves without the exhalation valve covered because it is more practical in terms of breathing under load, and less risk for everyone in the long term if I'm not constantly taking on and off a mask/respirator without an exhalation valve and touching it and my face with contamination. In my unscientific opinion, it's less risk of getting infected and then infecting others, than wearing a mask with higher chance of getting infected and then a lower chance of infecting others. This is all assuming that I wear the respirator correctly. I've done the fit and sensitivity check with saccharin spray.

Anyway, you could probably wear a surgical mask over the exhalation valve of the respirator. I've seen photos of doctors doing this. This would give you the protection of a respirator, and some protection to others. It probably offers more protection to others than when others wear a simple mask made from their t shirts.

Last edited by tomtomtom123; 08-02-20 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 08-04-20, 08:15 PM
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I am using the MoHo Dust Mask. The distinctive ventilation supplied by the dust mask promotes incredible permeability. It features an opening valve, which prevents resistance each time I exhale and a double-air breathing valve
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