Around 40,000 deaths in the UK are linked to air pollution every year, according to the Royal College of Physicians. With cyclists in polluted cities facing daily exposure to harmful fumes, two IoD members test masks designed to keep toxins at bay
Cambridge Mask reviewed
Paul Bennett, executive chairman, BSSEC, says: I cycle on average about 60-80 miles a week in a mixture of city and country environments, and I have been intrigued by anti-pollution masks after making a trip to Singapore where I saw lots of locals wearing them either walking or cycling in the streets. Upon trying on the mask in my kitchen my kids thought I looked like Kylo Ren from Star Wars or the Winter Soldier from Captain America – lots of street cred for a dad! The mask was surprisingly comfortable to wear and before long I forgot I was wearing it as it allows you to breathe in through the vent and out through the sides, though it did get warm once I climbed a hill and my breathing was more intense. I was unable to visually ascertain the impact of the mask in terms of filtration of pollution, but the mask’s technology was developed by the Ministry of Defence for protection against chemical and biological hazards, and the respirators are treated with silver to further increase the effectiveness. Overall, I think this is a good product and is quite cool (if you are a dad that is), and I would recommend this mask to fellow cyclists.
Cambridge Mask, £22
Paul Bennett is a member of IoD South West
Anti-pollution cycling masks gallery
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Totobobo cycle mask reviewed
Chris Lima, managing director, Director 4 Director, says: I cycle at least three times a week and my average journey is around nine miles in a mix of rural and town environments. The mask required some assembling but I’m not a great DIY enthusiast so I found it quite fiddly. Wearing it took me back to my army days of using a respirator in the desert. It was comfortable but there was a noticeable suction as I breathed, and it was fairly warm – particularly during the last part of my journey, a hill climb. The mask ended up being sweaty, and I imagine this moisture may cause some discomfort in cold weather. There was a visible change in the colour of the filters, and I was more aware of the visible dust being kicked up by trucks and was grateful I wasn’t inhaling this. I suffer from hay fever and could imagine the mask would be a huge benefit in reducing the symptoms. There’s also the added benefit of not swallowing small insects as I was going through wooded parts of my journey. The look isn’t great, and I got a few strange looks in Oxford, but with its transparent appearance, it’s more discreet than some of the neoprene versions on the market.
Totobobo, masks start at £22; replacement filters from £12
Chris Lima is a member of IoD Oxfordshire