A normal American work commute. photo: treehugger.com
Riding a bike and sucking automobile tail pipe fumes is a twice daily activity for many Americans. This new studies is telling us that you’re slowly damaging your heart when you thought you were helping the environment, reducing traffic congestion, and improving your health. Damn it.
According to a new study from the University of Ottawa, Environment Canada, & Health Canada, riding your bike in congested areas is negatively affecting your heart.
This study followed 42 Ontario cyclists as they rode thru congested and non-congested roads. Cyclists wore heart monitors and their bikes had air pollutions sensors on them.
Critical Mass, New York. buyafixie.com
Short-term exposure to heavy traffic significantly decreased heart rate variability in the cyclists for up to three hours after they finished cycling. Heart rate variability is associated with a higher risk of heart attacks. –sfgate.com
This study merely states something that is already obvious to city bikers: riding your bike and breathing smog directly out of tailpipes doesn’t feel good. Have you ridden down Market Street in San Francisco lately? It’s an awesome rush as all the cars and trucks do their best to murder you. As you’re riding, you really notice that most tailpipes are on the right side of cars and that they are spraying smog directly into your lungs. It feels like crap.
“In general, you’re better off cycling than not,” said Michael Brauer, a cyclist and atmospheric scientist at the University of British Columbia who was not involved in the study. “The physical activity benefits outweigh negative impacts. But you’d like there to be no impacts.” –sfgate.com
The take-away: try to ride your bike on non-congested streets so you are huffing fumes on your way to work.
To learn more about this, check out this article at sfgate.com