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I skipped a bike commute today because it was smoky.

Remember a couple of years ago before covid when it was smoky in the bay area and they briefly bought up the world supply of N95 masks? What lessons learned came out of that? I am reading up and learning that N95 masks come in two styles. One style (like 3m 8511) does not filter exhalations and is therefore not considered entirely suitable for covid prevention. Amazon shows a 10 pack for $25. Since it's fire season is there any moral obligation to leave these things on the store shelves for first responders like when we had the covid shortage? Given not using these things for germs, can they be reused and how much? How much smoke is enough to bother with this idea? We've only had a couple of days where it was more than 200 around here, thankfully. Given that some people smoke like a chimney for decades, how much danger is a few workouts a week for a few weeks in 150 aqi anyhow?
 

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always licking the glass
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@francios did a post on this last year or the year before. But like all his posts, they only end up on the NorCal forum. Might want to check over there.


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I would imagine that first responders have suppliers that regularly stock their supplies, so anything you see on Amazon or the hardware store is probably fair game. The Covid craziness was hopefully just a one-time thing caused by people freaking out and buying up everything they possibly could. I would buy whatever you feel comfortable buying...or whatever the max limit is at the store.

With regards to exercising in the smokey conditions, that's up to you. There was a thread here not too long ago about this and most people seemed like they were wary about riding above 100 AQI, and not riding above 150. When things were between 100-150 I went out once or twice, but did my best to keep my heart rate as low as possible. I never really enjoyed it at all, but needed to check my brakes.

What you do with your lungs is up to you, but if you feel the need to wear a mask outside then it may be a sign that you shouldn't be riding. If you need to commute to work on your bike then I guess give the mask a shot and see how it goes? I'm far from an expert on the topic but my fingers are crossed that the skies will clear up for everyone soon.
 

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I would imagine that first responders have suppliers that regularly stock their supplies, so anything you see on Amazon or the hardware store is probably fair game. The Covid craziness was hopefully just a one-time thing caused by people freaking out and buying up everything they possibly could. I would buy whatever you feel comfortable buying...or whatever the max limit is at the store.

With regards to exercising in the smokey conditions, that's up to you. There was a thread here not too long ago about this and most people seemed like they were wary about riding above 100 AQI, and not riding above 150. When things were between 100-150 I went out once or twice, but did my best to keep my heart rate as low as possible. I never really enjoyed it at all, but needed to check my brakes.

What you do with your lungs is up to you, but if you feel the need to wear a mask outside then it may be a sign that you shouldn't be riding. If you need to commute to work on your bike then I guess give the mask a shot and see how it goes? I'm far from an expert on the topic but my fingers are crossed that the skies will clear up for everyone soon.
Agree with all of the above.

Masks are no longer in short supply.

I go hit the gym if I want to work out when the air is filthy. It's not even fun riding in toxic conditions.

Once fall/winter rain and snow hits the smoke will all disappear just like last year and will become an afterthought until next summer when it'll all repeat.
 

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They have N95 masks at Costco by the box-load.

For those who insist upon being deliberately obtuse:

Conventional surgical masks, cloth masks, etc. are designed to lower the transmission of disease from the person who wears them to others. They work by creating a local zone of high humidity, which causes exhaled particles to condense and be filtered.

Proper N95 masks are designed to do the above and to also filter particulates when you inhale, thereby decreasing the chance of inhaling smoke or virus particles.

If Fauci's expertise is somehow not compelling, there are other great sources of public health information on the internet, like on 4chan and infowars that are far more trustworthy than some dumb scientists who adjust their advice due to an evolving and improved understanding of how the virus is transmitted (and evolution of the virus itself).
 

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I skipped a bike commute today because it was smoky.

Remember a couple of years ago before covid when it was smoky in the bay area and they briefly bought up the world supply of N95 masks? What lessons learned came out of that? I am reading up and learning that N95 masks come in two styles. One style (like 3m 8511) does not filter exhalations and is therefore not considered entirely suitable for covid prevention. Amazon shows a 10 pack for $25. Since it's fire season is there any moral obligation to leave these things on the store shelves for first responders like when we had the covid shortage? Given not using these things for germs, can they be reused and how much? How much smoke is enough to bother with this idea? We've only had a couple of days where it was more than 200 around here, thankfully. Given that some people smoke like a chimney for decades, how much danger is a few workouts a week for a few weeks in 150 aqi anyhow?
Anywhere above 100 AQI, an N95 mask helps quite a bit. It restricts breathing though and it's hard to climb and exert real effort.

When you sweat though, it attracts dust and it degrades the mask quickly.

RZ mask is a reusable one RZ® Reusable Air Filtration Masks
 

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I bought a Vogmask last year when the air got bad around the Bay. I only used it once, but it was pretty comfy. They have one specifically for exercising, but it's not Covid compliant, so you had to send them a message to request one.
 

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Even before Covid we would run out of N95 masks in the bay area when the smoke got bad. I was hoping covid would create a "better designed" mask, but haven't seen anything that makes exercising with one on appealing.
 

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I bought a box of N95 masks from Rockler (woodworking store) during the Camp Fire. Those have a latex (?) gasket that runs around the entire edge. The N95's my wife bought at Costco in the last six months have seemed much cheaper/much easier to breathe through/less likely to seal, and while I'm sure air going through the material is filtered, I'm sticking to my stash.

I didn't know about the check-valves in 2018 and gave up on using the Rockler's for exercising because they were just too constricting/inside would instantly get soaked with exhalation.

I did ride a couple times in the garage (air quality as bad as outdoors) for 1hr+ at full effort with a 3M halfmask (P100 filter), and it worked pretty well. If I had to ride/commute in the smoke, that's what I'd use. 3M has a halfmask with a quick release to easily pull down from the face as well, which would make cycling with it easier:
https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/p/d/v000154017/
 

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They have N95 masks at Costco by the box-load.

For those who insist upon being deliberately obtuse:

Conventional surgical masks, cloth masks, etc. are designed to lower the transmission of disease from the person who wears them to others. They work by creating a local zone of high humidity, which causes exhaled particles to condense and be filtered.

Proper N95 masks are designed to do the above and to also filter particulates when you inhale, thereby decreasing the chance of inhaling smoke or virus particles.

If Fauci's expertise is somehow not compelling, there are other great sources of public health information on the internet, like on 4chan and infowars that are far more trustworthy than some dumb scientists who adjust their advice due to an evolving and improved understanding of how the virus is transmitted (and evolution of the virus itself).
Yeah, I also have no problem to get N95 masks and I use them constantly for my day job in construction.

Might need to order them a bit ahead sometimes but not more than with like most of other stuff these days.

And well played Sir!👍
 

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As others are saying, bona fide N95 masks are now in good supply because production has been ramped-up since the beginning of the pandemic. Don't feel guilty for using them. But they are generally more uncomfortable than KN95 masks because the N95 certification requires a tighter fit and less leakage around the edges, which necessitates around-the-head straps.

The problem with them is that their breathability is adversely affected by the moisture from your exhalation. This is why prior to the pandemic, the exhalation-valved N95/N100 mask was the gold standard for wildfire smoke (actually, a replaceable-cartridge respirator was the gold standard if one didn't mind looking like a robot).

I would say that for anywhere where you should be wearing a mask for pandemic reasons, you should opt for the plain N95 mask. But in any context where there isn't a functional* pandemic control reason (eg. out on a trail with few people around, good airflow, and limited time spent in any human breath-stream), but wildfire particulates are a concern... a valved N95 or a cartridge-filtered respirator would be appropriate.

That said, given that the reality that people can be both stupid and self-righteous... somebody on the trail will give you sh!t for wearing a valved mask/respirator even as they aren't wearing anything themselves. :p

(You can spend an entire afternoon educating a person about the concept of good public policy vs. where it deviates from educated/intelligent interpretation of a dynamic reality... only to end up regretting it in the end because you've just armed an idiot with scalpel [which he'll wield backwards as a bludgeon] to disregard public policy willy nilly.)

* "Functional" - there are obviously other good reasons for wearing a pandemic control mask other than purely functional ones, such as the signaling of respect for the well-being/concerns of fellow humans in your society, as opposed to sociopathic assertion of "MaH rIgHtS!" and/or "I'm a full-grown edgelord that gets off on making others feel uncomfortable!"
 
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