How to protect against air pollution is a common case that many cyclists face with when cycling on the roads. In many big cities, the citizens are often encouraged to drive less and walk more or ride bikes to reduce air pollution. But the air pollution has badly influenced the daily life of people, especially the cyclists and the walkers in the streets. It is harmful to people to expose in the pollution.
Air Pollution and the Cyclists
As a form of cardio exercise, cycling in the non-polluted environments is beneficial to the cyclists. On the contrary, air pollution is not so much beneficial for cyclists' health. According to the Royal College of Physicians, 40,000 people who expose to the air pollution across the lifetime die as a result of the air pollution. Air pollution has many bad effects on the outdoor activists. For example, breathing in the air pollution is proven to reduce lung function. Besides, it can also make people suffer from the symptoms such as a sore throat and coughing.
It is also proven that high level of air pollution is related the heart disease and lung cancer. Last but not least, air pollution would make the cyclists breathe harder, especially the cyclists who suffer from asthma. However, the health benefits of cycling are still superior to the risks of exposure to the air pollution in many cities. A study found that only 1% of cities around the world with high levels of air pollution are harmful to people's life. Cycling is beneficial to the heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Therefore, most cyclists would not give up cycling regardless of the air pollution. It depends on the cyclists to choose whether being exposed to the pollution or not. When riding in the air pollution, the cyclists can use some strategies to protect against the pollution.
Choose Less High-traffic Routes
In the heavy traffic roads, there is a mixture of the pollutants in the air, including ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM10, and so on. The more vehicles on the road, the more pollutants will be released into the air. When sitting behind the cars on the roads, you will take in the fumes that omitting from the cars. So try to avoid sitting behind the vehicles to inhale fewer fumes.
The cyclists have accepted the fact that there is little thing they can do to avoid the air pollution omitting from the vehicles. However, they can choose the less high-traffic roads to ride their bikes. The best way to avoid inhale less pollution in the air is to put themselves in the less-polluted areas or environment. The less exposure to the pollution, the less pollutant you will take in when breathing on the bikes.
Optimal Speed to Reduce
According to Alex Bigazzi, a University of British Columbia transportation expert, riding with specific speed ranges make cyclists stay healthier in the streets with air pollution. The amount of the pollutant of the air pollution would not change while the amount of the pollution in the air that people take in can change. According to Bigazzi, the faster the cyclists move, the harder they breathe and the more pollution they could potentially take in. But in this way, the cyclists are also exposed to air pollution for a shorter period of time." The amount of pollution that the people inhale depends on the riding speed and distance of the cycling.
If you must ride on the high-traffic roads, remember to ride with an optimal speed---not so fast that you not need to breathe deeply. Breathing hard when cycling too fast will make you inhale more pollution. The riding speed should not be too slow because it will increase the time of exposure to the polluted air. Try to find a balance of the speed so that you can reduce the amount of air pollution that you inhale when cycling.
Some riders would suspect that whether the masks work or not when riding the bikes. Because some very tiniest of particles are so small that the masks cannot filter out them. For example, the PM10s are only 10 micrometers in diameter in width, and it means that the PM10s are even smaller than the width of one single human hair. The masks need to fit enough to prevent the cyclists take in such tiny particles, and it is almost impossible. So they don't wear the masks when cycling.
However, some study found that the anti-pollution masks make sense if they are fit correctly and used in the right ways. Besides, the studies carried out in Beijing, China, have proven that wearing anti-pollution masks may help to reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular effects associated with exposure to particulate pollution.
In London, many cyclists wear face masks to protect their health when cycling. For example, Darius Kabulski, a finance analyst who comes from London, said: "I would recommend using a mask, it's not that comfortable but it's definitely better than the results of breathing the air." The British Lung Foundation also suggests that cyclists wear a mask when cycling on the roads with traffic fumes.
The bikers whether to ride or not in the cities with high-level air pollution depends on the cyclists themselves. In some cities, air pollution is a perplexing problem for the outdoors fitness fanatics, such as the cyclists and runners. I'd like to suggest the cyclists who are not in good health, like an asthma suffer, not to cycle in the air pollution for a long time. Because you may need to use the inhaler more if you ride for a long time.
You can't breathe in the air pollution when riding on the bikes? Although you may inhale the pollutants while cycling, you can' deny the fact that the benefits of cycling outweigh the harm which results from pollutants. Besides, cycling can help to reduce the air pollution. Take measures to help you breathe when riding. Learn some strategies to protect against the air pollution in the cities.