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What Do You Use to Cover Your Face?

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What Do You Use to Cover Your Face?

Old 12-22-20, 12:21 PM
  #1  
jebfour
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What Do You Use to Cover Your Face?

Hello all! Iím pretty new here and didnít see what I was looking for in a search so I thought Iíd just go ahead and ask. Hopefully this hasnít come up several times before.

What do you use to cover your face, which is still breathable, while riding when itís cold? It doesnít get too cold here so I could probably deal with my face being a bit cool, but my problem is a bit different. The cold air seems to aggravate my asthma while riding. I was thinking that if I could find something that was comfortable, breathable and warm it might help the situation.

Any and all suggestions (or links) are most appreciated.
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Old 12-22-20, 01:04 PM
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Asthma. Tough one. I rode a half dozen winters in Boston and Ann Arbor never covering nose and mouth because I could never get past fogging glasses. (Back when glasses were actually glass.) I saw temps as low as -5F though I never inhaled hard at that temp. Left the house on higher grounds and went downhill towards warmer Boston the first two miles. Never felt frostbite or ill effects once I was warmed back up. (I was young and foolish. That may have played a part.)

Something that might work well - a good N or R95 mask. During our smoke three months ago I bought a respirator and R95 masks from MacMaster-Carr. The R05s are really good masks. "Disposable" but very well made with the best strap system out there and very study construction. Vented so they are "for you only" masks unless you tape off the vent like I do since I use it as a COVID mask. Inhale is harder but the trade-off with asthma cold make it worthwhile. (When I went on the site, N95s were long gone and R95s back ordered for 6 weeks. I don't regret the wait though you'd miss half the winter. R95s are simply N95 that also stop nuisance levels of acids and solvents.)

And a trick I learned 40 years ago building boats and wearing N95 masks; often while I was doing physical stuff - bend the wire for a close fit with your nose and high cheeks AND place a piece of 3" wide masking tape aligned to the top mask edge from cheek to cheek to stop glasses fogging. (Yeah, I know, most people don't have 3" tape lying around. Several strips of the thin stuff works just as well. We boatbuilders made 3M a thriving business.)
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Old 12-22-20, 01:17 PM
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Polypropylene balaclava. Although, to be honest, it's too hot for me when it's over 25F.
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Old 12-23-20, 10:31 AM
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I had athletically-induce asthma as a kid. I ran track and CC in high school, and during winter track running outdoors was challenging for me. I used a painterís mask and it helped. It was a stiff plastic thing with a foam filter on the front. That created some space and allowed for the air to be warmed up before I inhaled it. It wasnít the most comfortable thing to run in. Maybe it wouldnít be as bad on the bike. I pretty much outgrew the asthma when I got into my late 20s. Good luck.

Dan
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Old 12-23-20, 11:10 AM
  #5  
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Covering up and beards

Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Asthma.
OK, so first of all, I have a beard. It keeps the lower part of my face warm. And just for a record, it's a full face beard--not one of those spirit strip thingies--and I have had it since the last time beard were cool, in the 70s. FWIW.

I also have asthma. When I went back to riding in March, I always wore a mask because of Covid. Now that it's winter and there are fewer people out riding, I wear a mask but only put it up on my face when I'm approching someone. HOWEVER ... about two weeks ago, in our first cold snap, I went out without a mask. Rather than turn around and get it, I went on with my workout. Within minutes my lungs were burning from the cold. It was the first near-asthma attack I've had in years and years. Since then, I'm religiously wearing my mask whenever I'm out working out. It certainly works to keep my breath warm. And this is, by the way, just a surgical mask, nothing fancy.
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Old 12-23-20, 04:04 PM
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Thank you to all that have replied! I actually got out for a ride today (not too cold - 50'ish) and things went quite well. Asthma hung in there for the most part, but my ears were cold! Going to try a lightweight balaclava to see if that helps things. Not to get all "graphic" about this but those that have more severe allergy & asthma issues will understand (I think/hope) - the runny, drainage issue due to the cold air is also making the issue worse, but I'm working with my allergy/asthma specialist on this one as I made it clear that I'm not going to stop riding.

Also,

Originally Posted by Elbeinlaw View Post
Within minutes my lungs were burning from the cold.
This just SUCKS. I recently had it last a couple days.

I’ll update this thread with my “findings” regarding what does and doesn’t work for me personally. I hope that others with this issue will find it helpful.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
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Old 12-23-20, 09:16 PM
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I just use a neck gaiter. It works for me with Ski goggles.
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Old 12-24-20, 10:42 AM
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A balaclava and ski goggles work for me. You'll appreciate goggles going uphill against the winds during a blizzard. I did last night.
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Old 12-24-20, 12:22 PM
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I have a balaclava that can be worn full head with face covering, just the head with open face, or just as a neck gaiter. Pair it with a cheap pair of hardware store safety glasses that cost about $3
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Old 12-25-20, 09:23 AM
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I think the new user has stumbled into the "beard vs. balaclava" debate.

I appreciate the comments about wearing a mask during the pandemic.

I wear a balaclava and other than the pandemic I think a beard is a perfectly fine alternative!
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Old 12-25-20, 10:14 AM
  #11  
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A KN95 keeps my muzzle nice and warm, no complaints at all, no eating wool as with a scarf. In fact if I want to talk on the phone I shove the mic up in there and it works great! I am wearing a neck gaiter and wool knit hat under my helmet, but yesterday's 15F was nasty right at the outer ends of my eyes, so today I'm going to try a scarf over the top, crossed under my chin, with holes punched for my sunglass bows. If that doesn't work it's balaclava time.
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Old 12-25-20, 10:33 AM
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Above freezing - nothing on the face other than normal riding glasses to keep the chilly winds out of my eyes.
0įF - 32į - Fleece neck gaiter that can be pulled up over the chin, mouth, or nose as needed depending on temperature, effort, and wind speed. A lot of times it is left hanging to simply keep my neck warm as i unzip my jacket a bit to dump excess heat while climbing hills
Below 0įF - Fleece lined balaclava with nose cover/cutout that allows decent breathability while keeping the skin out of harms way from the frigid wind. I also wear ski goggles when it gets down to these temperatures.

When it gets colder, it is the wind that can really dictate your need for a face covering. If it is calm 15į, might not need much of anything. That same temperature can be unbearable with a 15-20 mph crosswind. I always carry extra clothing with me in the winter, in case conditions change.

Last edited by SalsaShark; 12-25-20 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 12-25-20, 10:50 AM
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Also....for those of you who have issues breathing the cold air comfortably, you may be able to overcome this.
I used to have the same issue, where i would try to keep my mouth covered while riding in colder temps, because if i didnt, i would be coughing and hacking for the rest of the day post-ride. This made riding more difficult (to get proper air/oxygen while covered) and less enjoyable.
After a few seasons of struggling with this, i decided to hold off on the face coverings as the temps started to dip below freezing. I had a day or two of coughing/hacking that were not too severe, as the temps were not that cold yet. To my surprise, however, after those first couple of chilly ride, i was able to continue riding comfortably in the cold temps without a covering. No post-ride coughing or lung issues. It was as though my body simply hardened up and acclimated to the conditions - easing into winter, if you will.
Now i can hold off on covering my face until it is really cold, making riding much easier without overheating or starving for good airflow.
I know this sounds a bit too good to be true, but might be worth a try for those struggling with this who don't also suffer from a chronic asthmatic issue.
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Old 12-26-20, 06:33 PM
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I also use a neck gaiter., when it's below freezing. I pull it up over my mouth when going downhill, and slide it down when I get too warm.
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Old 12-27-20, 08:04 AM
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Something worth trying: nivea hand cream. The lotion is worthless for this, but the stuff in the blue tin is stiffer and has a slightly waxy consistency. It creates a thin layer on the face that takes the sting from the cold air, like a ten F difference. I prefer that by far over a balaclava.
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Old 12-28-20, 08:34 PM
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I use a buff.
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Old 01-07-21, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jebfour View Post
Hello all! I’m pretty new here and didn’t see what I was looking for in a search so I thought I’d just go ahead and ask. Hopefully this hasn’t come up several times before.

What do you use to cover your face, which is still breathable, while riding when it’s cold? It doesn’t get too cold here so I could probably deal with my face being a bit cool, but my problem is a bit different. The cold air seems to aggravate my asthma while riding. I was thinking that if I could find something that was comfortable, breathable and warm it might help the situation.

Any and all suggestions (or links) are most appreciated.
Frost



(Sorry, couldn't help myself!)

Real response: Cold Avenger - I have a friend that has completed the Arrowhead 135 with a Cold Avenger and he bike-commutes daily in Minnesota (impressive pic of Cold Avengers from AH135). Without the Cold Avenger, he could not ride in the winter, the cold air damages his lungs. (edit) Cold Avenger is likely too much for NC cold, but is an option if buffs and balaclavas don't help.

I typically use a wool buff or I like my 45NRTH Toasterfork - I'm very cold tolerant ... more than the average bear. In the pic above, air temps were near -30F (that's without windchill). I rolled out with my buff and Toasterfork covering my mouth and nose & googles on my eyes. After about 30 minutes, I was getting too hot and pulled down the buff & Toasterfork. I'd keep the googles over my eyes on bike trails and bare eyes for the road (the googles were too fogged over to see clearly on the roads).

Last edited by Hypno Toad; 01-07-21 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 01-09-21, 04:27 PM
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+1 for Cold Avenger when the temperature is below freezing.
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Old 01-15-21, 08:26 PM
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ski masks and ski goggles.
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Old 01-17-21, 02:22 PM
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I have better luck with the ladies when I wear a paper bag, doesn't work so well for riding.
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Old 01-19-21, 10:35 AM
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^^^ ^^^
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