Protect yourself from pollution by bike

Today, one of the problems we face and for which we are always seeking solutions is pollution. Air pollution particularly affects the various urban populations: cyclists, pedestrians or motorists, … we are all more or less exposed to it. But where does it come from and how to protect itself from its effects? Here are a few answers.

Protect yourself from pollution by bike
Protect yourself from pollution by bike

1. Pollution sources

Air pollution is caused by various pollutants found in the atmosphere. These pollutants may be of natural origin (pollutants emitted by vegetation, soil erosion, volcanoes or oceans) or of anthropogenic origin, that is to say, produced by human activities. It should be noted that all sectors of human activity are likely to emit atmospheric pollutants, such as industry, transport or agriculture, for example, to be more or fewer sources of pollution. Pollutants observed in the atmosphere may also result from physicochemical reactions. These responses occur most often between chemical components, namely primary pollutants and other weather-regulated elements of the environment. There is a list of the primarily regulated pollutants. It includes, for example, ozone, nitrogen oxides, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), PM (suspended particles) or CO (carbon monoxide).

The particles that cause pollution


Ozone is part of what is known as a “secondary pollutant.” It forms in the lower atmosphere from a mixture of gaseous precursors. This mixture is composed of oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds. These elements are mainly emitted by human activities and also to a large extent by vegetation. Rapidly conveying, high concentrations of ozone appear on the surface during the summer due to solar radiation. When the sunlight is strong, there may be an accumulation of ozone. This is particularly the case in peri-urban and rural areas downwind of agglomerations.

The oxides of nitrogen (NOx)

Nitrogen oxides or NOx include nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). These are the pollutants emitted during high-temperature combustion. NOx is considered as a precursor of ozone but also of certain strong acids; They can sometimes cause acid rain. The road sector is the one that produces one of the largest shares of NOx. This area accounted for 56% of national emissions in 2011, followed by manufacturing with 14% in the same year. Agriculture and forestry accounted for 10% of NOx emissions in 2011. Not to mention the large combustion plants and the residential/tertiary sector, which are also considered as sources of significant emissions.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

The primarily regulated pollutants include volatile organic compounds. These are gasses composed of at least one carbon atom combined with one or more elements such as hydrogen, halogens, oxygen, sulfur or phosphorus. However, methane is the most present VOC in the atmosphere. Most of these are hydrocarbon vapors and solvents from vehicles, industries (chemical processes, petroleum refining, storage of fuels or solvents), or residential (with paint).

Suspended particulate matter (PM)

Suspended particles include a very different set of compounds which may have a different chemical composition, different state (solid or liquid) and varying dimensions. They are differentiated according to their size:
– Total Suspended Particles comprise all the particles
– PM10: so-called “coarse” particles with a diameter of fewer than ten μm
– PM2.5: those with a diameter less than 2.5 μm and called fine particles
– PM1.0: particles with a diameter of fewer than 1.0 μm

The primary sources of PM10 and PM2.5 particulate emissions are residential heating, l Manufacturing, Quarrying, Construction sites, and tillage which generate large quantities of large particles. The road sector is also one of the primary sources of particulate PM2.5 emissions. The use of diesel is the principal responsible. Sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, nickel or ammonia complete this list of regulated pollutants.

The burning of fossil fuels

The primary cause of air pollution comes from the combustion of fossil fuels, which itself produces more than 85% of the gasses polluting the atmosphere. Coal accounts for most of the production. This fuel also produces sulfur dioxide, which is just as harmful to health. Depending on the fuel, combustion can also emit carbon dioxide which is one of the leading causes of current climate changes. He is the reasons for the increase in the greenhouse effect; And for a good cause, billions of tons of fossil fuels are burned every year.

2. How to protect yourself from pollution by bike?

It is important to note that we are all exposed to air pollution at different levels depending on the distance and distance we travel, the presence of pollutants in the city or the inhalation rate The effort made or the borrowed means of transport. Cyclists are also affected. Fortunately, there are ways to protect themselves.

The bike mask anti-pollution

  • Respro

Also practical, Respro pollution masks offer a high level of protection. They prevent the inhalation of pollutants emitted by vehicle exhaust systems. The filters have been specially designed to retain a broad range of common urban pollutants such as hydrocarbons, benzene, pyrene, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide or lead oxide. These cyclist masks are also Retain fine particles. Effective against diesel fumes or even tar fumes. They also offer an excellent level of protection against allergens, pollens and thus limit the risks of hay fever.

  • Vogmask

Filtering up to 95% of air pollutants and fine particles up to 2.5 microns, the Vogmask anti-pollution mask features a particulate filter and an activated carbon filter. It protects against pollution, pollen, cigarette smoke and other allergenic agents found in the air. The cyclist thus preserves his health by bike while being at ease. The Vogmask mask does not interfere with breathing and is very pleasant to wear. It has elastics to adjust to the face of the cyclist without compressing it. It is available in different colors for ever more style by bike.

3. Bicycle for less pollution

Pedestrian and cyclist less affected by pollutants

One of the best ways to protect yourself from pollution is walking and cycling. It was demonstrated that it was by using these mild transport modes that much less nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide were inhaled. According to studies, the subway exposes to these types of pollutants and fine particles more importantly because of the confined space but also the activity of the trains. The exposure to fine particulate matter in the metro is all the more accentuated by the fact that they circulate and flow into the vents. The closed passenger compartment would also conserve the polluted air because it would not be renewed, which would lead to an accumulation of pollutants. According to another study,

It is therefore on foot or by bike that we are least exposed to pollution. By walking or pedaling, the accumulation of pollutants is avoided due to the lack of confinement and the constant renewal of air. However, it is recommended to keep away from traffic when walking or riding a bike or using masks or scarves to limit inhalation of the finest particles and to preserve their health as much as possible.

Reducing pollution through cycling

What can be done to reduce pollution? One of the solutions is to turn to the practice of cycling: a means of ecological displacement and above all non-polluting. By pedaling, it is thus possible to reduce the emissions of polluting particles and thus contribute to the improvement of the air quality. Moreover, cycling makes it possible to slow global warming. Effects that can not be active for health.

Besides, with a bike, everyone can enjoy a fast and economical means of transport while evacuating stress. Cycling is also a fun way to maintain your cardiovascular system and develop your endurance.


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