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Western US cyclist: are you riding in the smoke?

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Western US cyclist: are you riding in the smoke?

Old 09-10-20, 12:01 AM
  #1  
Helldorado
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Western US cyclist: are you riding in the smoke?

Where I live up here in Washington State the air has turned smoky. Bad air quality all up and down the western USA from all of the horrible forest fires. I didn't ride today although I wanted to (I commute). Who's still riding in this stuff?
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Old 09-10-20, 12:05 AM
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did 30 miles today but knew it was the worst day we’ve had in coastal san diego in a while. went easy but nice to be out. no overt traces of fire but all the air quality sites indicated less than optimal conditions.

the different apps/websites kept me from
doing something a little more ambitious. probably a good thing.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 09-10-20 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 09-10-20, 12:07 AM
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Nope. In the thick of it here in California’s elbow
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Old 09-10-20, 05:53 AM
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The Bobcat Fire has left a floating cloud of brown over me with falling ash. I go on shorter walks but really do not want to breath in wildfire residue. AQI today is 175. Ash particles and other particulates in my lungs is not worth risking a bike ride.
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Old 09-10-20, 07:25 AM
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The El Dorado fire is about 10 miles east of me, but how "present" it is depends on the winds at any given moment. So am I still riding? Absolutely. The AQI during the afternoon is usually bouncing around the ~150 area, which is basically called "summer."

For you see, here where the valley ends, the onshore flow often pushes the garbage air in from the LA basin, and we get to sit and stew in the pollution we had no part in making. Those days it's clear in LA? Looks like soup here. I'd have to see 250+ to stay in.
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Old 09-10-20, 07:32 AM
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Nope. Why risk it?
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Old 09-10-20, 08:30 AM
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Here in Albuquerque, a few weeks ago I rode in the smoke and regret it now. Nothing overwhelming, but I don't need the respiratory strain.
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Old 09-10-20, 09:11 AM
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Down wind of the Gifford Pinchot NF fire, though I'm on the coast,, + Covid , & @ 72, stayed home, closed the windows..
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Old 09-10-20, 10:18 AM
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I live and work at altitude, relative to the LA coastal plain. Woke up to the extreme smoky smell that made me think something was on fire locally. But it turns out that the wind changed or something, and all of LA smells like smoke. I bailed on my commute, pretty bummed out. Especially when I see many roadies out riding on my way to work.
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Old 09-10-20, 10:26 AM
  #10  
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It's pretty bad in Sacramento. Cars and patio furniture are covered in ash and the sky is orangey-gray. I have only been riding in the basement on Zwift for the last week. Normally I cancel my subscription in the spring/summer but this year I will keep it year round.
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Old 09-10-20, 10:43 AM
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Unfortunately here in SF it really all depends on the day. Definitely not riding everyday like I was a month ago.
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Old 09-10-20, 10:58 AM
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Here in ventura county the sun is orange most of the day. Smell like bbq. But still biking to work.
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Old 09-10-20, 10:59 AM
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I haven't been riding, outside or inside. Outside for obvious reasons, inside because I don't want to waste my precious clean air. When the smoke came, my windows were open and the smell woke me up in the middle of the night. House stunk for the rest of the day before it got better (have a HRV with a filter, but the duct where the filter is installed isn't airtight so I didn't run the fan too high to circulate).

I could ride outside wearing a N95 mask. I bought masks 2 years ago when it became clear that smoke-filled weeks were going to be the new normal and I wanted to be able to ride in those conditions, except we're also in a pandemic now so I'd rather save them.
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Old 09-10-20, 12:13 PM
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What's ratland? Los Angeles?
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Old 09-10-20, 12:20 PM
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The air here on the Oregon coast is full of ash and turning everything white including my black truck. Haven't ridden in 4 days but it should be clearing tomorrow with a wind direction change and cooler temps. Hopefully!
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Old 09-10-20, 01:04 PM
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Yesterday was a glorious day so i was out. Today it is turning and expected to be really bad by the time i get out of work. saw the satallite image on noaa today and i have never seen CA look so bad, headed our way. gas masks on for a while i suppose.
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Old 09-10-20, 01:14 PM
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I have been riding opportunistically, dodging both heat and smoke.

Early on, when the August Lightning Complex fires were totally uncontained, we had some days when the air was just frightening, then it would blow completely out the next day and it would be clear as you could wish for - single digit AQI's on PurpleAir. Since I'm Working From Home 3 out of 5 days, I have some flexibility. Initially, I'd only ride if it was 'green', but over time I modified that to "<70 the whole trip", knowing it might change over a 2 hour ride.

Yesterday, it was too DARK to ride, even though the AQI said the air was okay. I mean, in San Mateo where I live there were times when it was as dark as half an hour after dusk! Today, it's light enough to ride but the AQI is >100.(LRAPA Converted). So, I'm gonna ride the trainer today.
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Old 09-10-20, 01:29 PM
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ORange County, Southern Calfiornia, down near the coast. Its the usual 'morning overcast' situation, but high-altitude smoke is creating an odd 'orange glow' to the sunlight. A noticeable amount of ash falling on my car windshield overnight; not enough to block my vision, but definatley noticable. I clean the windshield at night and check it the next morning to see if ash is still falling (it was this morning). No distinctive smell of smoke.

Apparently the high pressure zone over the Great Basin/Nevada is causing all the Nor Cal ash to flow down to Southern California via an upper jet stream. If it was just the two fires down here (El Dorado and Bobcat) I wouldn't have a problem.
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Old 09-10-20, 01:30 PM
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I didn’t ride yesterday, the sky was bright orange in the morning, like being inside a pumpkin. Car was covered in ash. This morning it’s more yellow but still not healthy. This is the site I check. My house is up from the “L” in Oakland. I mean reading up the screen.

https://www.kqed.org/science/1930023...r-the-bay-area

If you scroll down that site you can see the Purple air readings too. I’m not a big fan of that but some people are.

I also check the wind at our local airport to see if there’s some hope:

https://w1.weather.gov/obhistory/KCCR.html

BTW, three days ago the afternoon high temp was 113! This morning is about 62.

Last edited by Joe Bikerider; 09-10-20 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 09-10-20, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by burritos View Post
What's ratland? Los Angeles?
I picture it being Palmdale/Lancaster/Antelope Valley area.... Desert rats.
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Old 09-10-20, 02:44 PM
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When the wind is right, some days here in Nebr, we have a very red sun in the morning, and you can actually smell the smoke.
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Old 09-10-20, 02:46 PM
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I've taken a couple of rides to our house in the middle of the burn area, but the smoke (from other fires) is worse now than it was then (when it was "just" our fire).

I figured out a new route to ride to work wherein I only have to go through 3 or 4 miles of burned trees, and I don't have to see any destroyed houses. It will add another 20 min and about 500 ft of climbing, but it will be worth it for mental health reasons alone.
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Old 09-10-20, 03:00 PM
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I'm on the west side of LA (about 1 mile from the beach). We mostly have a marine layer/haze here. Air temperature is nice (68 degrees currently at 2:00 p.m.). I don't smell any smoke or see any ash on the cars, but the lighting outside is kind definitely unusual, like the "magic hour" after the sun goes down in the summer. The sky is gray though, not orange. I rode 25 miles yesterday evening - including up in the hills (up to about 1200') -- and the air quality was totally. I feel bad for most of the rest of the west coast. We've had smoke and ash here before, and it is so depressing. So far, so good over here (knock on wood), but I'm sticking close to the coast for a while.
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Old 09-11-20, 08:11 AM
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AQI 208 this morning and smokey. Walked the dog one mile and eyes started to tear up. Can't fathom a long bike ride would not cause a lot of sinus-lung irritation.
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Old 09-11-20, 08:21 AM
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I was out for a 37 miler near Sequim, Washington (North Olympic Peninsula) yesterday with the AQI in the upper forties. 'Just checked this morning (9/11/20 at 7:20 AM) and see the AQI is now 249. I'll be staying home today.

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