Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Western US cyclist: are you riding in the smoke?

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Western US cyclist: are you riding in the smoke?

Old 09-10-20, 12:01 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Tacoma, WA, USA
Posts: 148

Bikes: Cervelo Aspero Apex1x 2020; Giant Escape Disc modified commuter 2021

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 114 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 40 Posts
Western US cyclist: are you riding in the smoke?

Where I live up here in Washington State the air has turned smoky. Bad air quality all up and down the western USA from all of the horrible forest fires. I didn't ride today although I wanted to (I commute). Who's still riding in this stuff?
Helldorado is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 12:05 AM
lead on, macduff!
ooga-booga's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: san diego (uni/normal heights), california
Posts: 5,868

Bikes: 85 pinarello treviso steel, 88 nishiki olympic steel. 95 look kg 131 carbon, 11 trek madone 5.2 carbon

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 879 Post(s)
Liked 954 Times in 524 Posts
did 30 miles today but knew it was the worst day weve had in coastal san diego in a while. went easy but nice to be out. no overt traces of fire but all the air quality sites indicated less than optimal conditions.

the different apps/websites kept me from
doing something a little more ambitious. probably a good thing.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 09-10-20 at 12:08 AM.
ooga-booga is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 12:07 AM
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
Darth Lefty's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 11,449

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Timberjack, Expert TG, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 66 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2196 Post(s)
Liked 816 Times in 545 Posts
Nope. In the thick of it here in Californias elbow
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 05:53 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 937

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Liked 608 Times in 343 Posts
The Bobcat Fire has left a floating cloud of brown over me with falling ash. I go on shorter walks but really do not want to breath in wildfire residue. AQI today is 175. Ash particles and other particulates in my lungs is not worth risking a bike ride.
CAT7RDR is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 07:25 AM
Non omnino gravis
DrIsotope's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 8,551

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn, Lakitu

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4897 Post(s)
Liked 1,684 Times in 940 Posts
The El Dorado fire is about 10 miles east of me, but how "present" it is depends on the winds at any given moment. So am I still riding? Absolutely. The AQI during the afternoon is usually bouncing around the ~150 area, which is basically called "summer."

For you see, here where the valley ends, the onshore flow often pushes the garbage air in from the LA basin, and we get to sit and stew in the pollution we had no part in making. Those days it's clear in LA? Looks like soup here. I'd have to see 250+ to stay in.
DrIsotope is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 07:32 AM
Senior Member
2cam16's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: San Mateo,Ca.
Posts: 3,755


Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 912 Post(s)
Liked 511 Times in 354 Posts
Nope. Why risk it?
2cam16 is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 08:30 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 325
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 199 Post(s)
Liked 140 Times in 78 Posts
Here in Albuquerque, a few weeks ago I rode in the smoke and regret it now. Nothing overwhelming, but I don't need the respiratory strain.
Danhedonia is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,294 Times in 812 Posts
Down wind of the Gifford Pinchot NF fire, though I'm on the coast,, + Covid , & @ 72, stayed home, closed the windows..
fietsbob is offline  
Likes For fietsbob:
Old 09-10-20, 10:18 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Southern California
Posts: 272

Bikes: Historical: Schwinn Speedster; Schwinn Collegiate; 1981 Ross Gran Tour; 1981 Dawes Atlantis; 1991 Specialized Rockhopper. Current: 1987 Ritchey Ultra; 1987 Centurion Ironman Dave Scott Master; 1992 Specialized Stumpjumper FS

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 102 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 35 Posts
I live and work at altitude, relative to the LA coastal plain. Woke up to the extreme smoky smell that made me think something was on fire locally. But it turns out that the wind changed or something, and all of LA smells like smoke. I bailed on my commute, pretty bummed out. Especially when I see many roadies out riding on my way to work.
Chinghis is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 10:26 AM
Senior Member
caloso's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 39,590

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2444 Post(s)
Liked 1,433 Times in 735 Posts
It's pretty bad in Sacramento. Cars and patio furniture are covered in ash and the sky is orangey-gray. I have only been riding in the basement on Zwift for the last week. Normally I cancel my subscription in the spring/summer but this year I will keep it year round.
caloso is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 10:43 AM
Junior Member
esc77's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 18

Bikes: 1985 Trek 560, 1990 Trek 750

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 7 Posts
Unfortunately here in SF it really all depends on the day. Definitely not riding everyday like I was a month ago.
esc77 is offline  
Likes For esc77:
Old 09-10-20, 10:58 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Ventura County
Posts: 144
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 37 Posts
Here in ventura county the sun is orange most of the day. Smell like bbq. But still biking to work.
burritos is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 10:59 AM
Senior Member
surak's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,209

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 497 Post(s)
Liked 282 Times in 160 Posts
I haven't been riding, outside or inside. Outside for obvious reasons, inside because I don't want to waste my precious clean air. When the smoke came, my windows were open and the smell woke me up in the middle of the night. House stunk for the rest of the day before it got better (have a HRV with a filter, but the duct where the filter is installed isn't airtight so I didn't run the fan too high to circulate).

I could ride outside wearing a N95 mask. I bought masks 2 years ago when it became clear that smoke-filled weeks were going to be the new normal and I wanted to be able to ride in those conditions, except we're also in a pandemic now so I'd rather save them.
surak is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 12:13 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Ventura County
Posts: 144
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 37 Posts
What's ratland? Los Angeles?
burritos is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 12:20 PM
Senior Member
Bigbus's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: On the Move
Posts: 810

Bikes: Giant Road Bike & Giant MTB $ Fuji Road Bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
Liked 167 Times in 123 Posts
The air here on the Oregon coast is full of ash and turning everything white including my black truck. Haven't ridden in 4 days but it should be clearing tomorrow with a wind direction change and cooler temps. Hopefully!
Bigbus is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 01:04 PM
Senior Member
spelger's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: reno, nv
Posts: 585

Bikes: yes, i have one

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 221 Times in 119 Posts
Yesterday was a glorious day so i was out. Today it is turning and expected to be really bad by the time i get out of work. saw the satallite image on noaa today and i have never seen CA look so bad, headed our way. gas masks on for a while i suppose.
spelger is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 01:14 PM
genejockey's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 3,414

Bikes: Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1359 Post(s)
Liked 1,352 Times in 731 Posts
I have been riding opportunistically, dodging both heat and smoke.

Early on, when the August Lightning Complex fires were totally uncontained, we had some days when the air was just frightening, then it would blow completely out the next day and it would be clear as you could wish for - single digit AQI's on PurpleAir. Since I'm Working From Home 3 out of 5 days, I have some flexibility. Initially, I'd only ride if it was 'green', but over time I modified that to "<70 the whole trip", knowing it might change over a 2 hour ride.

Yesterday, it was too DARK to ride, even though the AQI said the air was okay. I mean, in San Mateo where I live there were times when it was as dark as half an hour after dusk! Today, it's light enough to ride but the AQI is >100.(LRAPA Converted). So, I'm gonna ride the trainer today.
genejockey is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,200

Bikes: Why yes, I do have a few! Thank you for asking!

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 537 Post(s)
Liked 243 Times in 182 Posts
ORange County, Southern Calfiornia, down near the coast. Its the usual 'morning overcast' situation, but high-altitude smoke is creating an odd 'orange glow' to the sunlight. A noticeable amount of ash falling on my car windshield overnight; not enough to block my vision, but definatley noticable. I clean the windshield at night and check it the next morning to see if ash is still falling (it was this morning). No distinctive smell of smoke.

Apparently the high pressure zone over the Great Basin/Nevada is causing all the Nor Cal ash to flow down to Southern California via an upper jet stream. If it was just the two fires down here (El Dorado and Bobcat) I wouldn't have a problem.
skidder is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 01:30 PM
Joe Bikerider
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 535

Bikes: 1969 Peugeot PX10, 1992 Della Santa, Biria Easy Boarding 8, Linus Roadster 8

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 334 Post(s)
Liked 162 Times in 91 Posts
I didnt ride yesterday, the sky was bright orange in the morning, like being inside a pumpkin. Car was covered in ash. This morning its more yellow but still not healthy. This is the site I check. My house is up from the L in Oakland. I mean reading up the screen.


If you scroll down that site you can see the Purple air readings too. Im not a big fan of that but some people are.

I also check the wind at our local airport to see if theres some hope:


BTW, three days ago the afternoon high temp was 113! This morning is about 62.

Last edited by Joe Bikerider; 09-10-20 at 01:34 PM.
Joe Bikerider is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 02:19 PM
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
Reflector Guy's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 461

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 210 Post(s)
Liked 346 Times in 170 Posts
Originally Posted by burritos View Post
What's ratland? Los Angeles?
I picture it being Palmdale/Lancaster/Antelope Valley area.... Desert rats.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 02:44 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 8,639

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2100 Post(s)
Liked 489 Times in 302 Posts
When the wind is right, some days here in Nebr, we have a very red sun in the morning, and you can actually smell the smoke.
rydabent is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 02:46 PM
Occam's Rotor
wgscott's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 6,778
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 1,877 Times in 931 Posts
I've taken a couple of rides to our house in the middle of the burn area, but the smoke (from other fires) is worse now than it was then (when it was "just" our fire).

I figured out a new route to ride to work wherein I only have to go through 3 or 4 miles of burned trees, and I don't have to see any destroyed houses. It will add another 20 min and about 500 ft of climbing, but it will be worth it for mental health reasons alone.
wgscott is offline  
Old 09-10-20, 03:00 PM
Senior Member
mattcalifornia's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: oestelay
Posts: 104

Bikes: 2002 Eddy Merckx Team SC Resto-Mod; 2017 Spot Brand Ajax Belt Drive; 1996 Barracuda 'Cuda Comp Hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 56 Times in 34 Posts
I'm on the west side of LA (about 1 mile from the beach). We mostly have a marine layer/haze here. Air temperature is nice (68 degrees currently at 2:00 p.m.). I don't smell any smoke or see any ash on the cars, but the lighting outside is kind definitely unusual, like the "magic hour" after the sun goes down in the summer. The sky is gray though, not orange. I rode 25 miles yesterday evening - including up in the hills (up to about 1200') -- and the air quality was totally. I feel bad for most of the rest of the west coast. We've had smoke and ash here before, and it is so depressing. So far, so good over here (knock on wood), but I'm sticking close to the coast for a while.
mattcalifornia is offline  
Old 09-11-20, 08:11 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 937

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Liked 608 Times in 343 Posts
AQI 208 this morning and smokey. Walked the dog one mile and eyes started to tear up. Can't fathom a long bike ride would not cause a lot of sinus-lung irritation.
CAT7RDR is offline  
Likes For CAT7RDR:
Old 09-11-20, 08:21 AM
Senior Member
Dean51's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Posts: 475

Bikes: '83 YKonno Allez, '82 Ron Cooper, '87 Ciocc Designer 84, '95 Trek Saturn, '86 Tommasini Racing, '98 S-Works Hardtail Mtn., Klein Quantum Singlespeed

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 172 Post(s)
Liked 82 Times in 41 Posts
I was out for a 37 miler near Sequim, Washington (North Olympic Peninsula) yesterday with the AQI in the upper forties. 'Just checked this morning (9/11/20 at 7:20 AM) and see the AQI is now 249. I'll be staying home today.

Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die
Dean51 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.