Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rhyming and Riding

Ride, ride, ride your bike
Pedal in the smoke,
Breath, inhale, breath, inhale
Pray that you don’t choke

Ride, ride, ride your bike
Circled by the fire,
If you breathe, don’t forget
Conditions here are dire


This has by far been the worst summer of the decade plus time I have lived in Fairbanks. While I am used to a week or so of smokiness, usually culminating in a single day (or sometimes hour) high point of visibility limits of less than a mile, this year has been dragged out. We have had one month plus of smoke. It has varied from lightly smoky (after a nice rain) to heavily smoky on days where there is no wind or the wind is blowing in from the fires. At this point, Fairbanks is surrounded by a “Ring of Fire” (as quoted from our local daily rag), no matter how the wind blows, we get smoke. I have definitely seen less cycling going on that earlier in the summer, when you could breathe without coating your lungs and sinuses.


However, as a hardcore wintercyclist, I have always realized that the answer is more gear. The more in this case is a respirator. Yes, it is dorky looking. The offset of that is that they are extremely cheap ($30 or so) and highly effective. I can’t maintain a sustained sprint with one on (I can’t draw in the necessary air), but I can maintain a highly aerobic pace. Like any other addict a cyclist will do what is necessary to keep indulging their habit.