|Me with the Totobobo Mask on the trail. Photo © Laura Liong
The haze is back. A few days ago, the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) went over 100, or into the unhealthy range. Outdoor activities were cancelled and people were advised to remain indoors and refrain from strenuous activities.
Ehh? A little dust in the air is not going to stop me from getting my biking fix. And judging from the number of riders on the trail this morning, many others feel the same. But it's worth reminding ourselves that a little protection goes a long way.
This morning the PSI Reading was in the 70s (moderate range). I rode on the jungle trails of Singapore where the thick jungle canopy should have filtered out the worst of the pollution. Nevertheless, I wore my Totobobo Anti-Pollution Facemask and rode for 2 hours between 10am to 12 noon. Here's a photo of the filters after the ride (used filters on top, bottom are brand new filters for comparison):
|Top: Filters after 2 hour ride. Bottom: Brand New Filters for Comparison
There isn't much of a difference, but it is noticeable. Keep in mind that I wasn't out in the open, and I only wore the Totobobo for 2 hours in moderate haze conditions (PSI 70s).
I travel everywhere with my Totobobo now, and if you're wondering how black the filters can get, check out this image of a set of filters I wore in China for 4 days riding in a bus:
|Totobobo N94 filters after 4 days sitting in a bus in rural China
I'm not going to blow smoke up your ass and tell you that the Totobobo is comfortable and fun to bike with. You do notice it when it's there: there is increased breathing resistance, and condensation collects inside the mask (Totobobo does make a 'Supercool' design which is supposed to help with this, but it only covers the mouth). Also, the straps do take a bit of experience to work with. But I feel the protection is worth it.
There's a few different types of Totobobo Facemasks and filters. I like the 'Classic', which fits over the bike helmet and doesn't interfere with your eyewear. I use them with the N94 filters which not only filter out pollution, but also viruses like the H1N1.
If you buy your mask from the Totobobo website, enter "adventurenomad" into the discount code and you'll get 5% off the standard price. I get 5% from the sale too, but I think this is still the best price you'll find on the Totobobo mask.