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Old 07-06-03, 11:05 PM   #1
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To all those who have to deal with SMOG

Well, late this coming August, I'll be going out to Redlands (75 miles east of LA, next to the mountains) for College. Although the riding seemed amazing when I visited in February, I must say that I'm concerned about doing long rides given the smog levels during the months of September, August, April, and May. I've been fretting as of late about the issue, and so I have some questions to those who live in the area, or other areas effected by Smog.

I'm curious if smog settles into the valleys -- and thereby is less of an issue at higher altitudes. Would it be possible for me to take a short drive up a few thousand feet in elevation and out of areas with poor air? Or can smog even be an issue at high altitudes like 5,000 ft and above? Internet information I've found on smog has left me inconclusive on this issue. And also, If you live in the LA area, would you say that there are a lot of cyclists who ride in the afternoons anyway regardless of the smog?

I'd say I'm most curious about whether altitude effects smog levels or density.

I'd really appreciate any insight that anyone might have on this topic. Thanks.

- Maurizio
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Old 07-07-03, 12:01 AM   #2
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I live in Orange County, and I see cyclist riding year around any time during the day. Actualy part way up the mountains is where the smog is the absolute worst. Since it actualy settles slightly up from the base of the mountain. I know if you are from outside this area you might feel the smog is bad, but it is alot better then it was a few decades ago. I can't remember the last time we had a serious smog alert, even when I was at school (graduated 10 years ago). I can only remember a handful of times there was a smog alert where they asked us to cut down are activities during P.E. etc..
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Old 07-07-03, 09:19 AM   #3
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I live in the Alta Loma area of Rancho Cucamonga, about (roughly)halfway between L.A. and Redlands.

The smog here is worse than in L.A. due to our prevailing daytime breezes from the southwest; it funnels the smog from there to here. The smog in San Bernardino (east of her, about 30 miles or so) is worse than here--that same funneling effect. I think Redlands is a little less than San Bernardino. I can look down into the valley (we are at 2300 ft or so) and see the smog that we are somewhat above.

The heat in Rancho is hotter than in Los Angeles. The heat in San Bernardino/Redlands is hotter than Rancho. Sometimes the temp jump can be as much as 10-15 degrees F between L.A. and San Bernardino/Redlands. The humidity up here averages about 50%.

The smog/heat combo is what you want to avoid around here. The smog/heat is less up the hills. The smog where we used to live, in Ontario(to the south of where we are now), which was around 1000 feet above sea level is definitely worse than up here. The heat up here is always less than in Ontario, sometimes by 7 or 8 degrees.

I see cyclists out during all parts of the day, but more so in the mornings, especially during the heat of the summer. I would advise riding early mornings till you become acclimated to the area and make sure you drink lots. There are a lot of nice rides you can take and there are bicycle clubs out of the Redlands area also, if that interests you. Try a web search for Redlands, California and bicycle club and you should turn something up.

Believe me, the smog is MUCH better than it used to be 30 years ago, due to the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) here. When I was in grade school, you wouldn't even KNOW there were mountains within a mile of where we used to live, except that you had to go up a hill to get to our house. You could not see the mountains at all, most of the summer. I remember how my chest would be tight, just sitting on the bus riding home. However it is more smoggy where you will be going to; just try to pick the times of day you will be riding in and remember that early mornings are best during the summer.

Have fun--Redlands is pretty darn nice, from what I have seen of it! And get ready for "sticker shock" if you are planning on buying a house. . .
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Old 07-07-03, 09:58 AM   #4
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I live in Toronto. So far we gotta few smog alerts this summer. Last summer was terrible. Every other day if not every day was a smog alert. I didn't give a ****. I just wore a mask on my face. It was funny cuz when I got home after a 3 hour ride, the filter on it was black.

I really feel bad for our neighbours just 35miles to the south west in Hamilton. They have all the steel factories there. Their average sky colour is pink.
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