The Chainlink

I'm so tired of buses and other diesel vehicles driving past, leaving a trail of lead and other nasty-smelling things. Has anyone tried any air pollution masks? Can anyone recommend/disrecommend any?

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Before buying anything, I'd google a bunch and get some ideas if you have any alternatives, or what the real risk is. 

I think we are most worried about the buses because you can see them, but most pollution is really really small, and so stinky as diesel is, it might not be the right risk to go after.

From a few minutes of Googling, it seems like leaving earlier makes a big difference (when pollution hasn't built up as much) or riding on less popular routes where you aren't biking through rows and rows of cars.  (Even bike lanes to the right of parked cars have lower pollution than those adjacent to the travel lane.)

How hard you bike seems to matter too -- greater exertion puts you at bigger danger than less popular routes.

I read a few articles, but this was one of the better ones:


I wonder how much good those masks actually do for anything other than the very largest particulates. The really fine stuff, on the micron scale, is what causes long-term damage because you can't cough it up. And a filter mask can't screen out nitrogen dioxide (NoX) and other toxic gasses at all.

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. I guess the relative size of NO2 would be the same order of magnitude to the size of oxygen (and all of the other gases in breatheable air). Then one would have to use saran-wrap to keep it out: it and everything else with it.

N95 Respirators

An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles.

The ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death.

The negative/positive with the N95 mask is that it limits rapid air intake but the  valve on the mask allows you to exhale quickly.

$12.78+sh / 10pack online.

N95 is the mask rating- most industrial particulate masks are rate to N95 standards.

You can get N95 masks with and without the valve (yours is as shown the model 8211). Valve does make a lot of difference (I used these dust masks for years when required on the job).  They also make N95 masks with a built in carbon filter and for welding use.  Pollution masks generally rate between N40 to N80.  A bandana will get you about N25.

You must have a good nose shape.  I always had to keep adjusting to keep my glasses clear.

A good nose shape, or an adjustable nose-piece ;)

Here is another invention for very polluted air.

No lead in decades, leading to a massive drop in crime rates.  Prisons are beginning to empty. 

Crossing over a highway and following cars uphill has convinced me I need a mask. This awesome calculator that shows the air quality when you mix different respirator filters and fits is something I've been looking it. One of the things it demonstrates is what I've been talking about a lot lately: how well a mask fits matters much more than what kind of filter you use. 

Wow. And here we are wearing masks because of a pandemic. 

Cycling in 2020, I can breath hard without foggy my glasses. I can wear it without pulling out my hearing aids.

See you on the road. 




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