After the local forest fires here in Southern California, I decided to buy a Respro Cycling City Mask. Due to my cycling obsession, I wanted a way cycle but not breathe in the ash.
The mask made it's way to me from the United Kingdom and I've taken in on several test rides.
First of all, I look completely bad ass wearing it. Well, as bad ass as you can look in a spandex outfit.
Breathing: The mask does as it says and filters the air well. Often on my rides, I breathe in pollen, dust, and other grasses while riding. With my allergies, this can be a problem. When wearing the mask, this kind of stuff doesn't make it past the filter at all. I can see things I shoudl smell, but don't smell them.
Breathing itself is a bit more difficult. I am having to pull the air in more forcefully and at points when I'm straining on a climb I'm simply not getting as much air as I need. A few times I lifted the mask to get full lungfuls of air to catch my breath.
Moisture: The masks says it lets moisture out, but not really. After about a half hour the inside of the mask is full of water and sweat. Maybe the cold morning contributed, but after a while it was annoying and I stopped to shake it out.
Riding: I wore it with a buddy and I could talk, but it was hard for him to hear me speak, as you might expect. Another riding issue is that you can't drink with the mask on. You have to lift the mask to drink which means you ain't drinking much while wearing it. Not a big problem on a commute ride to work, but a significant issue on a workout ride when you need to stay hydrated.
Warmth: The mask is great for keeping your face warm. I have considered wearing it without the filter and just the neoprene to keep my face happy on my pre-dawn rides.
Overall the mask works and is good, but I would only recommend wearing it when you NEED to wear it. If there is real a dangerous amount of ash or dust in the air and you won't be riding hard. It's designed for that. I can't imagine wearing this every time I ride. It's drawbacks outweigh it's benefits in normal riding conditions.Posted by michael at October 31, 2009 11:49 AM