Thinking of getting myself one for the commute. It's incredible the amount of MOT failures driving around belching out black smoke that overtake me. Seems to be two schools of thought on this, essential piece of kit or unbearably hot breathing inhibitor that only works if you poodle along?
Then seeing this today
made me think I should just bite the bullet and get one. It seems Respro do make masks for high intensity but the reviews are very mixed. Does anyone have any experience worth considering?
I can't even begin to consider how unpleasant cycling in a mask would be. I struggle enough with a huff over my face when cycling to work in Baltic weather.
There's a bloke near me who I regularly see riding about and I spotted him with one for about 2 weeks before he gave up. Obviously he wasn't a fan.
Never worn one cycling, but having done a lot of DIY with dust masks on, I'd hate to be doing something as aerobic as cycling with one on - as Gethin said, it's bad enough cycling with a Buff pulled up in the cold.
I agree with you about some, mainly diesel, cars, though - if I see such a car, I try and hold my breath for as long as possible until they've gone past.
That said, they're probably quite a good trainer for your lung muscles!
There was a study recently that said you absorb far less pollution when cycling than you do walking or driving the same commute. Doesn't help on the mask matter but it's maybe not as bad as you think.
I'd be amazed if they could filter out the really harmful particles (which are PM2.5 or smaller and can cross lung membranes and damage the body, particularly the heart).
As a rule of thumb, the fumes you can see are not particularly harmful, it's the small stuff that does the damage, which gross filters can't address
You got me interested so I checked. Respro masks are FFFP3, which are design to work on particles down to 6 microns - as mentioned above it's the sub 2.5 micron particles that do the damage.
Interesting. So the larger particles that they do filter are far less harmful?
Thanks, I just had a look and found this
Timely thread! I was thinking about this just yesterday as I got home and blew twin black patches from my nose into a tissue.
Bear in mind that for a mask to be effective you would need to be clean shaven all the time
> Bear in mind that for a mask to be effective you would need to be clean shaven all the time
^ This. Looking at the design and materials I think you'd struggle to get anything approaching a decent face fit. Also what exactly is a 'HEPA - type' filter?
Also as soon as you start to sweat the seal of the mask on the face starts to become compromised.
I looked at one for lots of commuting in London and decided against for some of the reasons listed here. Besides, with hay fever it's like breathing through a straw at this time of year anyway - I don't much fancy a straw with a few sheets of kitchen roll over the end. I never get to blow my nose at the end of a ride, simply every set of red traffic lights instead, and there's no end of those (c.100)
I agree getting a good fit is going to be hard, I don't see the seal remaining intact when it is jostling against helmet straps, sunglasses, chest etc
I wore one about 15 years ago. I didn't notice too much restriction on my breathing. I did end up with a fungal mouth infection, though, which I suspected was down to the mask. I've never worn it since.
I was a product manager for a respiratory protective equipment manufacturer many years ago and sat on some of the European Standards committees. Half-masks of most descriptions perform very poorly - they simply don't seal well enough to the face and as you inhale, the air takes the path of least resistance - the big gap between your nose and cheek. As noted, most particulate filters aren't effective against the types of substances the cause lasting damage - the tiny particles that become embedded in your lung tissue.
> as soon as you start to sweat the seal of the mask on the face starts to become compromised
More to the point, as soon as you start to sweat it becomes harder to breathe, which is why - along with the price of replacement inserts - I eventually gave up wearing one. In the summer, anything over about twenty minutes would leave me gasping and my mask drenched
The answer is scuba gear isn't it?
> The answer is scuba gear isn't it?
If you were really worried a powered respirator would do the job. No breathing resistance and positive pressure in the mask (unless you were really exerting yourself).
I used to use one, mainly to help my asthma which is triggered by cold air and car fumes. As others have said though, they get a bit restrictive on breathing when working hard and get horribly wet. I found it ok on flat and downhill, but not great uphill. I gave up and just use a buff for cold air. I'd still consider it again in winter though.