Zipping through peak hour traffic on your bicycle might be a great way to avoid bumper to bumper stress, but sadly it doesn’t get you away from those chocking exhaust fumes.
However a new study, published in the Journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise has shown that if you want to reduce the impact of the fumes on your cycling performance it’s best to cycle at a fast pace.
The study was broken up into four sessions, separated by at least a week. Eighteen 20-something year old men came into a lab and rode a stationary bicycle while being monitored.
During two of the sessions the men cycled at a low-intensity, while two of the sessions involved high-intensity cycling. During each of the sessions, cycling was performed while participants breathed either filtered air or air contaminated with a set amount of diesel exhaust.
Performance and metabolic function was significantly different between the two low-intensity sessions but not between the two high-intensity sessions.
In other words, if you’re cycling through traffic at a rapid pace, the exhaust fumes won’t have an impact on you. The study says nothing about the added risk or collision though.