Air Quality and Biking to Work

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Atlbike, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Atlbike

    Atlbike Guest

    I've been asked several times about biking to work on days that have
    been labeled code orange and above by the clean air campaign. The clean
    air campaign recommends minimizing any outdoor activities during these
    times. Since biking is such a good workout this raises the question,
    should I be riding my bike to work on these days? At first I
    disregarded these emails from friends and coworkers that know I bike in
    to work everyday. I figured that there is not much that can harm me
    because I'm in such good shape -- Yeah right! I've slowly come to
    realize that I'm not superman, and I need to pay more attention to the
    Air Quality in Atlanta
    (http://www.cleanaircampaign.com/sec04_new_d.asp).

    Here is what I've learned so far from my own research, please correct
    me if I'm wrong :
    There are two air borne pollutants in Atlanta for which we should be
    concerned with the most, ozone and particle pollution. Ozone levels are
    driven by sunlight and warm temperatures, so this is really a big issue
    in the summer. Ozone levels are at their highest during the early
    afternoon and evening hours. Particle pollution occurs year round, and
    is best defined as being the main component of smog. Both of these
    pollutants can cause various levels of lung inflammation and irritation
    which can lead to asthma or shortness of breath. These pollutants are
    very dangerous to those with existing heart and lung conditions. How
    about those of us that are in shape though, that barely notice the
    effects of ozone on our lungs?

    I would probably have to say that over time the ozone and particle
    pollution we breathe in everyday will start to have a negative effect.
    Especially for those of us who are in shape and workout strenuously
    outdoors. Here is what I'm trying to do in order to minimize those
    risks:
    If the air quality is code orange and above I try to do my hard ride in
    the morning. In the afternoon I will do an easy ride home, hopefully on
    back roads and not highways. People think that getting in their car
    will protect them from the poor air quality, but I disagree. I think
    sitting in a car on a deadlocked 285 can be just as bad. There are also
    studies showing that exercise can help some smokers remove the tar in
    their lungs. Why can't this work for the smog? So what are you waiting
    for? Atlanta to have clean air? Yeah right. I truly believe the
    benefits from biking will outweigh the negatives of Atlanta's air
    pollution if you are smart about it.

    Good luck and good riding!

    Check out the clean air campaign website for more information. Did you
    realize you can get paid to ride a bike to work? It's all on the site.
    Check it out (http://www.cleanaircampaign.com/cfc.asp).
     
    Tags:


  2. b_baka

    b_baka Guest

    Atlbike wrote:
    > I've been asked several times about biking to work on days that have
    > been labeled code orange and above by the clean air campaign. The clean
    > air campaign recommends minimizing any outdoor activities during these
    > times. Since biking is such a good workout this raises the question,
    > should I be riding my bike to work on these days? At first I
    > disregarded these emails from friends and coworkers that know I bike in
    > to work everyday. I figured that there is not much that can harm me
    > because I'm in such good shape -- Yeah right! I've slowly come to
    > realize that I'm not superman, and I need to pay more attention to the
    > Air Quality in Atlanta
    > (http://www.cleanaircampaign.com/sec04_new_d.asp).
    >
    > Here is what I've learned so far from my own research, please correct
    > me if I'm wrong :
    > There are two air borne pollutants in Atlanta for which we should be
    > concerned with the most, ozone and particle pollution. Ozone levels are
    > driven by sunlight and warm temperatures, so this is really a big issue
    > in the summer. Ozone levels are at their highest during the early
    > afternoon and evening hours. Particle pollution occurs year round, and
    > is best defined as being the main component of smog. Both of these
    > pollutants can cause various levels of lung inflammation and irritation
    > which can lead to asthma or shortness of breath. These pollutants are
    > very dangerous to those with existing heart and lung conditions. How
    > about those of us that are in shape though, that barely notice the
    > effects of ozone on our lungs?
    >
    > I would probably have to say that over time the ozone and particle
    > pollution we breathe in everyday will start to have a negative effect.
    > Especially for those of us who are in shape and workout strenuously
    > outdoors. Here is what I'm trying to do in order to minimize those
    > risks:
    > If the air quality is code orange and above I try to do my hard ride in
    > the morning. In the afternoon I will do an easy ride home, hopefully on
    > back roads and not highways. People think that getting in their car
    > will protect them from the poor air quality, but I disagree. I think
    > sitting in a car on a deadlocked 285 can be just as bad. There are also
    > studies showing that exercise can help some smokers remove the tar in
    > their lungs. Why can't this work for the smog? So what are you waiting
    > for? Atlanta to have clean air? Yeah right. I truly believe the
    > benefits from biking will outweigh the negatives of Atlanta's air
    > pollution if you are smart about it.
    >
    > Good luck and good riding!
    >
    > Check out the clean air campaign website for more information. Did you
    > realize you can get paid to ride a bike to work? It's all on the site.
    > Check it out (http://www.cleanaircampaign.com/cfc.asp).
    >

    Ozone is not that bad if you can't readily detect it, but the particle
    stuff will accumulate in your lungs over time. Your nose is the first
    line of defense so if you are riding fast enough to be breathing with
    your mouth you have defeated the filter in your nose. Also, you will be
    breathing a lot deeper and more often than if you were in motorized
    transportation. I have also seen some studies that say city joggers are
    doing more harm than good and that the effect on the lungs may not be
    noticeable right away, it will contribute to problems after they turn 50
    or so. Smokers might as well go outside and run since they are a lost
    cause already. Try to get your exercise as far away from traffic as
    possible, even a side street removed from the main streets with all the
    cars is a help. Ride side streets.
    Bill Baka
     
  3. GaryG

    GaryG Guest

    "Atlbike" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I've been asked several times about biking to work on days that have
    > been labeled code orange and above by the clean air campaign. The clean
    > air campaign recommends minimizing any outdoor activities during these
    > times. Since biking is such a good workout this raises the question,
    > should I be riding my bike to work on these days? At first I
    > disregarded these emails from friends and coworkers that know I bike in
    > to work everyday. I figured that there is not much that can harm me
    > because I'm in such good shape -- Yeah right! I've slowly come to
    > realize that I'm not superman, and I need to pay more attention to the
    > Air Quality in Atlanta
    > (http://www.cleanaircampaign.com/sec04_new_d.asp).
    >
    > Here is what I've learned so far from my own research, please correct
    > me if I'm wrong :
    > There are two air borne pollutants in Atlanta for which we should be
    > concerned with the most, ozone and particle pollution. Ozone levels are
    > driven by sunlight and warm temperatures, so this is really a big issue
    > in the summer. Ozone levels are at their highest during the early
    > afternoon and evening hours. Particle pollution occurs year round, and
    > is best defined as being the main component of smog. Both of these
    > pollutants can cause various levels of lung inflammation and irritation
    > which can lead to asthma or shortness of breath. These pollutants are
    > very dangerous to those with existing heart and lung conditions. How
    > about those of us that are in shape though, that barely notice the
    > effects of ozone on our lungs?
    >
    > I would probably have to say that over time the ozone and particle
    > pollution we breathe in everyday will start to have a negative effect.
    > Especially for those of us who are in shape and workout strenuously
    > outdoors. Here is what I'm trying to do in order to minimize those
    > risks:
    > If the air quality is code orange and above I try to do my hard ride in
    > the morning. In the afternoon I will do an easy ride home, hopefully on
    > back roads and not highways. People think that getting in their car
    > will protect them from the poor air quality, but I disagree. I think
    > sitting in a car on a deadlocked 285 can be just as bad. There are also
    > studies showing that exercise can help some smokers remove the tar in
    > their lungs. Why can't this work for the smog? So what are you waiting
    > for? Atlanta to have clean air? Yeah right. I truly believe the
    > benefits from biking will outweigh the negatives of Atlanta's air
    > pollution if you are smart about it.
    >
    > Good luck and good riding!
    >
    > Check out the clean air campaign website for more information. Did you
    > realize you can get paid to ride a bike to work? It's all on the site.
    > Check it out (http://www.cleanaircampaign.com/cfc.asp).
    >


    Have you ever considered moving? I've only spent a small amount of time in
    Atlanta, but between the crappy air, and the heat and humidity, it did not
    seem like a fun place to ride a bike.

    I grew up in Dallas (flat, hot, humid, and smoggy), and moved out west about
    15 years ago. Here, I ride year round, the humidity is rarely above 20%,
    and my regular rides include views of snow-capped mountain peaks. We do
    have problems sometimes with pollution when the wind is from the south, but
    overall air quality is good (no orange alerts).

    GG
     
  4. Atlbike

    Atlbike Guest

    Actually, I have lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years and loved
    it. There are so many people out there that commute by bike to work,
    and Boulder was built for bikes. Work is what brought me back to
    Atlanta, but I also love Atlanta too minus the air pollution. The
    mountain biking in North Georgia and North Carolina is just as good as
    out west. If you don't believe me try riding at Pisgah in North
    Carolina sometime. I also like the fact that riding is year round here
    in the southeast. Atlanta is also a challenge because there are a lot
    of riders, but not as many commuters. With traffic being such an issue
    I see more and more people desperate for an alternative. This is why I
    started Atlanta Bike Commuter. Check out my site sometime at
    www.atlbike.net
     
  5. jack1978

    jack1978 New Member

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    I live in LA and find the air quality to have affected my health badly. So I stopped training outdoors on bad air days and I haven't been sick since. I had chest infections, coughs and finally pneumonia and I was never sick before I moved to LA.

    Anyone else have these issues from bad air?

    Do you wear a mask or do you think it looks stoopid?
     
  6. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I don't wear a mask, but then I've never lived anywhere that had a chronic air quality problem. If you feel like you need a mask, then by all means wear one. Who cares what anyone thinks?.
     
  7. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "I was never sick before I moved to LA."

    I think I found your problem.
     
  8. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    I would think moving to L.A. is evidence of mental sickness...
     
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