Cycling outside has a huge range of benefits for your wellbeing and health –– but what are we to do about all that nasty air pollution you’re being exposed to on your ride?
Air pollution has become an increasingly dangerous reality, posing serious health risks to all. Cyclists, in particular, are known to experience higher exposures to traffic-related air pollutants compared to other means of transportation, and studies show that people are most likely to get their peak exposure to air pollution if they’re cycling.
And this makes sense, if you think about it: as you cycle, your breathing rate is elevated and you’re so close to traffic, it’s no wonder your lungs take an extra hit from these pollutants!
In recent years, using highly breathable anti-pollution masks for cycling has become popular as a form of protection from dangerous particulate matter in the air. Here’s why it’s worth investing in an anti-pollution cycling mask for maximum protection and cycling enjoyment.
How do anti-pollution bike masks work?
Anti-pollution cycling masks can significantly reduce the amount of harmful particulate matter and gaseous pollutants you breathe in on your ride, utilizing built-in or replaceable filters fitted to your mask.
Blocking diesel fumes, dust from road construction, and even some airborne viruses, high quality bike masks can decrease the air pollutants you breathe in by up to 99%, helping reduce your risk of developing or worsening serious health conditions like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.
Bike masks aren’t all that different from the face masks we’re wearing to protect ourselves from COVID-19 in this pandemic. It’s important to remember, though, that anti-pollution masks for biking aren’t medically regulated –– so they should not be used specifically for protection against viruses.
You also might notice valves on cycling masks, which work to make it easier for bikers to breathe. Experts do not advise wearing face masks that have valves for virus spread prevention purposes.
Who needs to wear a cycling mask?
We may be biased, but with escalating air pollution plaguing urban areas globally, wearing an anti-pollution cycling mask is worth it for everyone.
These masks aren’t just for biking enthusiasts –– runners, people with or at risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, travellers to areas of high pollution, and those living in areas hit by wildfires all can benefit massively from wearing anti-pollution masks.
Beyond a fashion statement, we’re seeing people reaching for anti-pollution masks more and more as climate change continues to negatively impact our planet. It’s clear that wearing face masks to protect our health has become a mainstay in our society. Taking these preventative steps now can help you live better in the future.
How to find the best anti-pollution cycling mask
When shopping around for an anti-pollution cycling mask, it’s highly recommended that you consider ones that have N95 or N99 certification.
These certifications tell you the percentage of particles the face mask can potentially protect against; for example, 95% of small particulate matter is filtered by N95 masks.
Good and effective anti-pollution cycling masks are constructed of breathable yet thick material, consisting of multiple layers. For cyclists, behind-the-ear loops or head straps help keep your mask snug and in place under your helmets, and nose pieces can help mould the mask further to your face.
Fit is of utmost importance, so search for an anti-pollution cycling mask that fits snugly against your face. Examine online sizing charts and ensure the measurements align with your facial dimensions. You want an effective mask that does not leave gaps around your face, allowing unfiltered air to pass through, or is too small that it’s uncomfortable to wear as you cycle.
What’s the best consumer cycling face mask alternative?
During this pandemic, we are strong advocates for leaving as much available supply of N95 masks to frontline workers and responders. Trust us: having a global shortage of this PPE wreaks havoc on healthcare, affecting the safety and care of those who really need it.
DebriefMe® anti-pollution face masks are a great alternative for everyone, including cyclists looking for a very high level of protection. Our X95 and X99 face masks are lab-tested, demonstrating 99% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency, and they offer the highest level of protection possible for a non-medical grade mask, containing carbon activated filters and an incredible five layers of advanced filtration.
Even better, we manufacture our masks with evidence-based science in mind, ensuring the materials we use are the types most effective at blocking out particulate matter while maintaining maximum breathability.
If you’re a cyclist, check out our X95 and X99 here and enjoy the ride!