Urban Commuting: Cycling
It is also an excellent way of maintaining cardio-vascular fitness. It is an expedient form of transportation and running costs are negligible compared to cars, buses and taxis. However, one should be mindful of the air quality in cities with large commuter populations. Everyone agrees that pollution in most major cities especially where slow moving traffic exists is an issue; it appears to be getting worse and not better. As much as we would all like to see better control on pollution emissions, it ain't about to happen tomorrow! So with that in mind, it is advisable to wear some form of respiratory protection. Masks are useful, not only for their ability to provide aginst nuisance dusts, but also make a visual statement regarding the poor air quality present in most major towns and cities on this planet.
Of all the groups who live, work and commute in cities, it is probably the cyclist who is most susceptible to the consistent exposure of air pollution. With lungs working to sustain a consistent level of oxygen supply the amount of air passing through the lungs is between thirty and sixty litres of air per minute. Couple this with the average journey time to work and back which is 1 hour and you can easily figure out the the amount of polluted air passing in and out of your lungs everyday - it is 360 litres. Multiply this by 300 days per year and you get 108,000 litres. That's a lot of pollution and a lot of pollution to be dealt with by your lungs. Doesn't it make good sense to wear a mask.
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