Should Cyclists Wear Masks?
There are many cyclists are not used to wearing a mask, because they feel wearing a mask is the easy to tired and difficult to breathe. But for your health, you should know the benefits of wearing masks while cycling, especially in the stressful time caused by the coronavirus.
Bikers absorb 4-9 times dust than on a bus. The dust includes toxic gas, dioxide, carbon dioxide, diesel particulate. So suck so much pollution particulate when cycling may damage our lump and respiratory system, and cause acute upper respiratory tract infection, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia, etc.
In particular, asthma patients inhale these allergens may get an attack of symptoms such as coughing, choking, and shortness of breath. So on smoggy days, people with lung diseases, the elderly, and children, especially those with allergic diseases, are necessary to wear masks when they are cycling.
Maybe you don’t care the pollution because you are strong or think they are not serious for your health. But when you riding your bicycle outside, there are many commuters,walkers, cyclist, and runners. Some of them may have infected COVID-19, to protect yourself, cyclists should wear a cycling mask to reduce the risk. Wearing mask is not just for you, it is the most important way to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Essential Points for Qualified Cycling Masks
Before to choose the face mask for cycling, you should know the necessary features for a qualified cycling mask.
Comfortable and Seal the Face Well
People’s faces have some ups and downs. Many face masks have a large gap in the face, and the dust may enter the mask from the edge of the mask. So sealing the face tight is the first important point for a qualified cycling face mask. At the same time, we should choose the mask with soft, light material and a comfortable strap to have an easy feeling while biking.
Filtration Rate of the Face Masks
The existing standards of face masks roughly divided into GB and EU standard three, the current filtration grade can be seen in the following:
USA Standard N95 ≥95%
European standard FFP1≥80%
European standard FFP2≥94%
European standard FFP3≥99%
China standard KN95≥95%
China standard KN100≥99.97%
Bikers breathe harder than walkers, high resistance masks with 100% filtration rate increases the strain on the lungs.
The better the filtering effect, the greater the resistance to inhalation, the filtering effect in 90% to 95% of the mask makes good balance between filtration rate and breathability, so KN95 filter for bike mask is a good choice.
Valves for the Face Mask
The dual one-way valves open up and all your breath gets pushed out. So that it keeps your mouth area nice and cool. When you breathe in, the valves close and all the air comes through the filter, and you can get the air without virus and dust.
If a cycling face mask without valves , not only increased suction resistance, but also to cause condensation, you will fell very uncomfortable after wear it for a long time.
How to Choose Face Masks for Cycling?
Most people wear disposable face mask, cotton mask, N95 face mask to protect against coronavirus, are these protective masks suitable for biking? We may check this with the essential points of face mask for cycling.
Disposable Face mask
Disposable face mask can’t seal the face tightly and can’t filter the dust effectively. So the disposable face masks are definitely not suitable for biking.
Cotton Face Mask
Common cotton masks, cheap and can be reused. It may comes with a N95 filter,but it hard to seal the face tightly while feel comfortable, so it is also not a choice. So whether it with or without valves, both of them are not choice for bicycle riding.
N95 Face Mask
N95 face mask with the N95 certificaton refers to the ability to filter at least 95 percent of chloride particles at 0.3 microns.
Compared to the the disposable face mask or cotton mask, it could seal your face tight. But according to my experience,after wearing these N95 masks for a long time, you will feel discomfort, because the mask is fixed by two elastic bands behind the ears, of course, you may use a mask ear saver to solve this problem.
The N95 face mask without valves is very difficult to take out the water vapor when breathing, leading to water condensation inside the mask and thus increase the suction resistance. In general, the masks meet the smog filtering requirements but hard to breathe, making them unsuitable for bikers.
The N95 face mask with side suction valve could avoid condensation of water vapor, seal your face tightly, and filter the pollution effectively. And you may wear it comfortably with a ear saver. But with only one valve on the nose position, it can’t fulfill the heavy breathing requirements when it comes to riding uphill or rocking a car.
Sports Mask with N95 Filter
When cycling or exercising in heavy smog, the best option is to buy sports masks specifically designed for exercise, which are designed for outdoor usage.
The sports mask is usually fitted with two suction valves to reduce the breathing resistance much better than the N95 mask just with one valve, and the masks could fit the face tightly, and the nose clip can be adjusted to fit the user’s nose, so that the gap between the bridge of the nose and the cheek is closed as much as possible.
With the replaceable N95 filter,it could meet all the requirements for a qualified bike mask. The N95 filter is replaceable and 1 PCS could work 3-10 days. The mask shell is washable and reusable. For more details, you may check the biking mask produced by neoprener.
At present, the mask brands available on the market are R Z masks, I Can Breathe (both made in the United States, sports products are more cost-effective) , and Respro Masks (made in the United Kingdom, more common but more expensive), many cyclists have used them.
The end, please notice the most important thing is the filters must be replaced to ensure the reliability of the pollutants filtering when it is damp, dirty, or damaged. Generally, one N95 filter could work 3-10 days.
Want to know more, you may check our sports mask of neoprene cycling masks and cycling face masks.