Saturday, October 1, 2011

Do you hold your breath when you ride through a cloud of dust?



Pig-pen, or spontaneous human combustion in my bike lane

When you are riding and notice that you're about to pass through a cloud of thick dust, do you hold your breath? I often do, but then, I wonder, what if I can't hold it all the way through, is the deep inhale within in the cloud worse than just breathing normally and going on through? I've done it before, seeing a ginormous diesel pickup belching gray smoke as it tears away from a stop sign, and not wanting to breathe deep of its fragrant exhaust, held my breath, only to find myself still within its effluent upon running out of air, and thinking, how many microns are those tiny particles in diesel smoke that nestle deep in your lungs for life? Would it be worse, in the long term, to hold your breath until you passed out and fell over, rather than breathing in that stuff? These are my thoughts on some days. Am I the only one?

 

10 comments:

  1. I use a broom.When passing dust, I make a full lane change.

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  2. I do this all the time John. My only problem is many days here in Phoenix I want to hold my breath during the entire ride. Often considered taking a cue from our friends in China and wearing a mask during my my commute.

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  3. i hold my breath. the route i ride to and from work every day is filled with school buses - they honk out a fiar cloud of grey blue, sometimes even black smoke. the other beauty are the guys who use lawnmowers and weed-wackers that blow the grass and whatever else they dig up into the bike lane and sometimes right into your face! i try to look the other way but that sometimes leads to all sorts of sketchiness!! steven

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  4. Several studies have shown that people in "roadway micro-environments" (i.e. the inside of vehicles) are exposed to much more pollution than bicyclists or pedestrians in The Macro-environment.

    But I still hold my breath as long as I can when I'm riding through a dust or smoke cloud.

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  5. Strangely not apparently a major problem where I ride, possibly because despite my whining, our road is pretty small by US standards and carries comparatively little traffic.

    Or maybe the car companies have followed EU rules by making exhaust not smelly so we don't know we're being poisoned or having our brains rotted out from the inside.

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  6. I have explored wearing a mask, didn't exactly enjoy it, but still see cyclists around occasionally wearing them. BluesCat, yeah, some of the studies I read said that, and seemed to support the idea that overall it's the case that cyclists are not more exposed to pollution on the road, and may be less exposed, than car occupants. With this post, I was more focused on the brief moments of obvious or extreme pollution, like a dust storm, a dust cloud, or a diesel blowing exhaust right at you.

    workbike, more ELEVs here would be better all around, I think.

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  7. Definitely hold my breath. I also close whichever eye is closer to the onslaught if it’s a leaf blower. I recently tried it while running and almost passed out.

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  8. mindful mule, I also meant to comment, and you reminded me, it sometimes disappoints me how short a time I can hold my breath while also riding my bike. It makes sense, but watch out or will start a training trend of breath-holding intervals...

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