The Cambridge Mask Co: Do UK Cyclists Need Pollution Masks?
October 17th, 2016
October 17th, 2016
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
The Best Belt-Drive and Internally-Geared Bikes for 2018
What is a Women-Specific Bike?
Best 2018 Budget Mountain Bikes for Under £1,000
Bespoked - The UK's Handmade Bicycle Show announces talks
Did you know we have a marketplace too?
We've got a new, dedicated Marketplace, with no hidden fees or commission.Find your next bike
Cambridge Masks™ are respiration masks that use military grade filtration technology to filter out nearly 100% of particulate pollution and gases, as well as bacteria and viruses, but when the UK Ministry of Defence designed the material for protection against chemical, nuclear and biological hazards, I'm not sure they thought regular people would be using them just to get to work. So is it overkill?
Founder Christopher Dobbing is a graduate of Cambridge University who lived in China and met too many people suffering from respiratory diseases caused by the poor air quality in the city. Inspired to improve lives, Christopher set to work on his own masks, and so the Cambridge Mask Co was born.Christopher says their products are "Ideal for cyclists, people in at risk of respiratory disease or anyone living in urban environments with high air pollution levels such as China or India". Now, when I think of Cambridge, I think of grassy greens, boating on the river Cam, and well manicured university buildings surrounded by pedestrianised shopping, so it seems a tad far fetch to be comparing the cobbled streets of Cambridge with the densely populated streets of China, however; that doesn't mean there isn't a place in the UK for these masks.Around my streets in Swindon, pollution may not seem that present, that is until you sit behind one of our buses and eat a face full of black smoke. Take myself to Birmingham in rush hour and I won't have to go far to find grid-locked traffic churning out enough fumes to hot-box an underpass. In fact, anyone living in a proper city, commuting behind buses or waiting in queues of carbon monoxide-spewing traffic, might have already considered something like this already, or at least fashioned something out of a neckerchief or a Buff, right?
So, geared up like some kind of Street Fighter-esq character dressed for a rave in the Nineties, I took to the streets. Now, I didn't need to choose neon pink, everything from plain black to classy patterns are available. The semi-firm structure of the mask already puts it ahead of using a Buff in terms of comfort, as it sits away from the face and doesn't squish your nose. I found it reasonably easy to breathe through and condensation build-up from my breath was noticeably lower, so there was minimal wetness (eew) and therefore a lot warmer in winter weather.
Let's be real, I don't need a pollution mask here in Swindon, but if you've ever had your hat blown off by a London bus, smelt the traffic at the back of your throat or washed your face and seen the water turn black, then it might be time to start taking responsibility for your lungs. Either way, the Cambridge Mask was comfortable, functional, and did everything it said on the tin (literally, as it comes in a tin).