Urban cycling is unhealthy, now it’s official

This isn’t really going to surprise anyone. According to this Sunday Times article, Urban cyclists raise their risk of heart disease. As if anyone expected that the diesel fumes from crappy busses can be good for them. What I think is bad news is that diesel exhaust includes nanoparticles of carbon and a range of metals. The particulates are so tiny that experts say it is pointless for cyclists to wear masks, because the mesh cannot be fine enough to block them. Also Those cycling at high speeds in the hope of improving their fitness levels are doing themselves the most damage by breathing in a higher volume of the polluted air.

Luckily the news aren’t all that bad. First the research has been done assuming that the subject is cycling for a whole hour. Maybe if it’s just 20 minutes we can cope better. It also says that There is no dispute in principle about the health benefits of cycling �?? it improves the circulation, keeps weight down and boosts overall fitness �?? yet the new research indicates that they could be outweighed by the polluted conditions of a busy road. The emphasis is on could be outweighted. So maybe it’s still healthier to cycle anyway.

So am I going to do anything now that I know this? Not really. I never expected urban cycling to be that healthy. Besides the benefits on my mental health due to the fact that I’m not frustrated by the public transport are enormous. What I might do is to modify my route so that the uphill parts don’t go along any main road. I’m not sure that that could work, since any modification would mean cycling for at least 10 minutes longer. Now would that be healthier or less healthy? In fact I think one still has to worry most about not being run over.

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