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Air Quality index/Air pollution/Car pollution..when and where to avoid riding.

Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Air Quality index/Air pollution/Car pollution..when and where to avoid riding.

Old 08-20-18, 01:29 PM
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Air Quality index/Air pollution/Car pollution..when and where to avoid riding.

I never really paid attention to air quality index and with the wild fires in California this season I have become more aware. Iíve also read an interesting article on riding in dense cities and taking in pollutants from vehicles. There are plenty of times I have ate some really bad exhaust fumes and Iím sure many people can relate. These dangerous particles get in the lungs and go into the blood and there is not much we can do to avoid it when riding.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/relay.n...bia-university

In New York City alone, health officialsestimatethat fine particulate matter (known as PM2.5) contributes to nearly 2,000 premature deaths and more than 6,000 hospital visits per year.
i wonder if people should avoid riding in dense cities altogether considering that. Think of how many people commute by bike in those cities or bike messengers in NY and other cities constantly exposed to exhaust fumes.

As far as air quality index right now in my area it is at 60 which is Moderate with a note that is is ideal air quality for outdoor activity. Iím really not too sure when to avoid riding given the AQI. 50 is considered good AQI and anything above 50 is considered moderate.
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Old 08-20-18, 02:43 PM
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Our local NPR station did a story about this a while back where someone carried a portable air quality meter in a backpack and did their commute using different means. As I recall the worst was taking the train due to the diesel fumes coming in through open windows. Riding in a car with closed windows and good filtration was the best as I recall. Riding a bike wasn't great on crowded city streets, especially where there are a lot of trucks, but they figured the benefits of the exercise were a net benefit over not riding at all. They did suggest riding less busy streets with less traffic and especially less truck traffic.
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Old 08-20-18, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MyTi View Post
Iím really not too sure when to avoid riding given the AQI. 50 is considered good AQI and anything above 50 is considered moderate.
Not everything above 50 is considered moderate.

We had an AQI in the 200 to 300 range last year. It was pretty surreal, the whole sky had an orange tint.

I ended up doing a century-plus ride last year on one of the worst days. Thinking back, I think I expected it to get worse in Portland where I started, so I chose to head out, but it was pretty weird around the halfway point around Albany/Talbot (which was made worse by farmers churning up dust). Then it remained bad all the way to Eugene.

I did go out a couple of times that week, and it wasn't bad.

I did, however, also choose NOT to do the Crater Lake ride that year (another 400 miles or so). No sense actually heading towards the fires, although some reports were that the actual rim ride wasn't bad.

Personally, I'm less concerned about natural smoke, and don't pay much attention to the AQI. However, I hate cigarette smoke, and dislike being smoked out by a Diesel vehicle, or standing behind an idling car's exhaust while waiting for a light.
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Old 08-20-18, 03:13 PM
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Air quality in SoCal always sucks unless you're right at the beach. Sometimes it gets worse though, so I keep this site bookmarked:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappvi...b14f140ca83d05

I'll cancel my riding plans when my area turns orange but I'd never get any rides in at all if I avoided the yellow (> 50)
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Old 08-20-18, 03:45 PM
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I've heard from locals the monitor on Twisp River Road has been hitting 750 when the wind blows down the canyons.

In Seattle last night the smoke blotted out the sun.
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Old 08-20-18, 04:11 PM
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I will commute in pretty much anything, holding the effort down when it’s bad, but I won’t work out in anything worse than condition yellow. You can feel the effect of irritants like ozone on you airways if you pay attention, but PM 2.5 is insidious and cumulative and scares me the most.
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Old 08-20-18, 04:58 PM
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Good AQI site:
https://www.purpleair.com/map#5.88/37.599/-120.304
You can zoom in further and pan around, this link takes you to the full extent of California, but it works for the entire world (wherever there are AQ sensors).

I'm also curious as to what the cutoff point should be for riding. I've had little choice but to go out on days where it's over 100, simply because if I want to get a ride in, I have no choice. Usually where I live in the SF Bay Area, I can go closer to the bay and get better air. Not so much these days, as smoke is being transported from fires way up north down along the coast and then brought inland across the entire area. It really sucks, this summer has been pretty awful.
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Old 08-20-18, 05:08 PM
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I was in London for a work trip last winter, and noticed a large number of cyclists (and perhaps even the majority of those not riding bikeshare bikes) using anti-pollution masks. They are available through normal UK retailers like Wiggle, as well as a bunch of other places. If I lived in a place with consistently bad air, I would not hesitate to get one.

I've done some cycling in bad air in urban areas, and could feel the difference later in the day and into the next. Fortunately, the worst we get in my area - I ride in western WI and southeast MN - is a few days of smoke from the Canadian wildfires.
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Old 08-20-18, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
Good AQI site:
https://www.purpleair.com/map#5.88/37.599/-120.304
You can zoom in further and pan around, this link takes you to the full extent of California, but it works for the entire world (wherever there are AQ sensors).

I'm also curious as to what the cutoff point should be for riding. I've had little choice but to go out on days where it's over 100, simply because if I want to get a ride in, I have no choice. Usually where I live in the SF Bay Area, I can go closer to the bay and get better air. Not so much these days, as smoke is being transported from fires way up north down along the coast and then brought inland across the entire area. It really sucks, this summer has been pretty awful.
Thanks for the link.

I rode in ~60 last week and wasn't happy with it. Right now the reading is 140 (although it looks much worse) and I won't go ride.
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Old 08-20-18, 08:43 PM
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My cutoff is about 80. The past couple of weeks we have been seeing readings over 250.
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Old 08-20-18, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Thanks for the link.

I rode in ~60 last week and wasn't happy with it. Right now the reading is 140 (although it looks much worse) and I won't go ride.
Oh damn, it's freaking terrible in Seattle right now... Ugh maybe I shouldn't complain about 100...
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Old 08-21-18, 01:46 AM
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We hit 399 for a few hours yesterday. Danger for everyone, eerily quiet looking outside.
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Old 08-21-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by aplcr0331 View Post
We hit 399 for a few hours yesterday. Danger for everyone, eerily quiet looking outside.
i went riding at night it was 66. Iím not sure I liked it. Wasnít coughing or anything though. Got so windy. Right now itís 36 around San Francisco and the peninsula so much better Iím thinking of doing 40 miles today.
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Old 08-21-18, 12:00 PM
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I'm in Victoria BC and we currently have an AQI of 177 - I rode yesterday and regretted it. I'm not riding again until this clears.

What we get reported more commonly than AQI is AQHI (Air Quality Health Index) which is related but slightly different. it's reported on a scale of 1 to 10, and with 10 being very high health risk. After I had left for work yesterday I saw that the AQHI was 10+

I can actually feel the smoke in my eyes, nose and throat. Not happy with this at all.
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Old 08-21-18, 12:13 PM
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Red Tide hitting Florida gulf coast pretty hard which has hit national news. I ride anyway. Some days better than others depending 'how the wind blows'. Tough combo some days on eyes in particular...combined with copious sweat.

https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/20...st_how_to.html
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Old 08-21-18, 06:25 PM
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I bought some 3M N95 valved respirator masks, but the smoke is bad enough that I don't want to try one out on a ride.
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Old 08-21-18, 06:34 PM
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Central BC is at 550+ on Aug 21. That has to be worse than a pack a day.
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Old 08-21-18, 07:41 PM
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Whether it's an HTFU issue or a lack of self-preservation issue, I don't pay attention to the weather before I head out. Hot, cold, rainy, smoky, don't care.

If I only rode when the AQI was good or moderate, that would knock out about 8 months of the year. We had 21 days with an AQI under 50 and just 91 under AQI 100 in all of 2017.

Yesterday peaked at 154 (rode a metric century,) today was 166, tomorrow is forecast for 172 (will probably do 50.) Not riding on Friday, which is coincidentally forecast for 204.

But I'm resting because it's my off day, not because the air will suck. The air sucks most of the time.
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Old 08-21-18, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Whether it's an HTFU issue or a lack of self-preservation issue, I don't pay attention to the weather before I head out. Hot, cold, rainy, smoky, don't care.

If I only rode when the AQI was good or moderate, that would knock out about 8 months of the year. We had 21 days with an AQI under 50 and just 91 under AQI 100 in all of 2017.

Yesterday peaked at 154 (rode a metric century,) today was 166, tomorrow is forecast for 172 (will probably do 50.) Not riding on Friday, which is coincidentally forecast for 204.

But I'm resting because it's my off day, not because the air will suck. The air sucks most of the time.
It's the latter.
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Old 08-22-18, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ingo View Post
Central BC is at 550+ on Aug 21. That has to be worse than a pack a day.
That's just awful

It's bad enough here on the coast, but nothing like that.
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Old 08-22-18, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Whether it's an HTFU issue or a lack of self-preservation issue, I don't pay attention to the weather before I head out. Hot, cold, rainy, smoky, don't care.

If I only rode when the AQI was good or moderate, that would knock out about 8 months of the year. We had 21 days with an AQI under 50 and just 91 under AQI 100 in all of 2017.

Yesterday peaked at 154 (rode a metric century,) today was 166, tomorrow is forecast for 172 (will probably do 50.) Not riding on Friday, which is coincidentally forecast for 204.

But I'm resting because it's my off day, not because the air will suck. The air sucks most of the time.
what city are you in? well I guess I shouldnít complain when itís 70 over here. Iím thinking about getting a set of rollers though and avoid when it looks really bad out there.
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Old 08-22-18, 06:45 PM
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Inland Empire, SoCal. San Bernardino area. We beat the odds today, only hit AQI 156. So I rode 65 instead of 50.

Unless the smoke is blotting out the sun, or there's visible flames, I'm not using the AQI as a reason not to ride. The AQI is usually the worst around 4pm, and I'm out on the road by 8am, when it's around 100.
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Old 08-22-18, 06:53 PM
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Some of what's in the smoke is known to be carcinogenic. I'm not doing anything to make me breathe more. Cabin fever sucks, but...
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Old 08-22-18, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Some of what's in the smoke is known to be carcinogenic. I'm not doing anything to make me breathe more. Cabin fever sucks, but...
Yeah, Iím with you on this. Not willing to do any vigorous exercise in this crap.
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Old 08-24-18, 03:04 AM
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Went to 155 today in San Francisco / Penninsula areas yesterday. Couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was so bad outside the smog was the worse I've seen around here actually. My lungs hurt just looking at it. Terrible hope they get these fires under control soon.
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