Filter Feeding

As noted in passing in the previous post, I try to ride my bike to and from work when the weather is nice enough. In a good week, I might get three bike rides a week in, which is a little extra exercise, and that much more gas I don’t have to buy.

The major drawback of this plan, other than the fact that I look like a dork in a bike helmet, is that at this time of the year, riding my bike in to work has me basically seining pollen from the air like a baleen whale. I’m taking Allegra anyway, which controls the symptoms, but my allergies have definitely kicked up more since the flowering tree season has arrived, and I can feel the difference when I bike in.

Worse yet, it’s not just my respiratory system. I also wear contact lenses (rigid gas permeable), and the last few days, I’ve been arriving home and having to stumble blindly up the stairs to remove giant rocks from my contacts. Every goddamn bit of pollen, dust, and grit in the air between here and campus seems to find its way into my eyes.

I might have to buy myself some of those ludicrous wrap-around bike-rider shades, or something that will do a better job of keeping crap out of my eyes than the $10 shades I got at CVS some time back. If that will even help– suggestions are welcome. Especially suggestions that won’t lead to me looking like more of a dork than I already do riding the bike…

Sort of a moot point at the moment, though, as they’re forecasting rain for most of the next week, and then I’m off to DAMOP.


  1. #1 Mark Paris
    May 10, 2006

    Rest assured that you don’t look like a dork wearing a helmet and protective glasses despite the fact that everyone else does. Except me.

  2. #2 Elf Eye
    May 10, 2006

    I like that: “seining pollen from the air like a baleen whale.” I also suffer from pollen allergies. Several years ago I opted for a series of shots to lessen my sensitivity. The treatment was largely successful. Have you ever considered that possibility? It won’t make you look any dorkier, that’s for sure.

  3. #3 Yttrai
    May 10, 2006

    Snag an extra pair of Uvex Genesis. If you can get purchasing to spring for the espresso coloured lenses, do it.

  4. #4 RPM
    May 10, 2006

    Glasses help. I wear contacts and I sometimes need to wear clear lenses when I ride in the winter to keep my eyes from drying out.

    Why limit yourself to riding in only when the weather is nice? We probably live in relatively similar climates (upstate NY and central PA), and I ride in every day regardless of weather. Unless your commute is more than a few miles, you can handle rain and snow. You just need to prep yourself. Get some waterproof pants and a jacket, put some fenders on your bike, and make sure your brake pads are in good shape. It feels pretty good knowing you can conquer the elements. If you’re gonna ride in the snow, make sure you have knobby tires.

  5. #5 Chris Surridge
    May 10, 2006

    First you have to embrace your hidden dork. If you are wearing something that is functional it can’t be stupid. Those wrap-around shades keep all that gunk from your eyes which is why the pro-cyclists all wear them. I wear lycra cycling shorts which make me look ridiculous but they are way more comfortable than anything else.
    Second you are defining “when the weather is nice enough” you are confusing “nice enough for a stroll in the park” with “nice enough to go cycling”. The best cycling weather is overcast with a slight chill in the air to stop you overheating. Warm sunny days are horrible for cycling; sweaty, pollen and bug infested, pollution riddled nightmares with the added danger of being temporarilly blinded by the sun bouncing off those newly waxed car bonnets. Try cycling on the days that aren’t ‘nice enough’.

  6. #6 diddidit
    May 10, 2006

    Yep. My purple car is yellow. My old white car is yellow. The new maroon car is yellow. I expect that, after 33 miles on Wednesday, my eyes have a yellow tinge. My teeth probably do, too, but that might be the coffee. In some places I could see the pollen hanging in the air.

    And I fully and whole-heartedly agree with the idea of embracing your inner dork. Spandex shorts, yellow socks with orange flames, and a green and yellow cycling jersey is de rigeur, even for 240 lb. (and dropping, as it does every year about this time) me…


  7. #7 diddidit
    May 10, 2006

    Oh, and the freshly-paved bike path was yellow. I left a black line as I passed, and the contact strip down the center of my tires was yellow. Stupid trees having public sex!


  8. #8 Gdr
    May 10, 2006

    I look like a dork in a bike helmet

    You could try not wearing one, that would be much more pleasant. Or do you live in a county with a mandatory helmet law for adults? If the latter, my commiserations and I hope you are helping campaign for its repeal.

  9. #9 Chris Surridge
    May 10, 2006

    Stupid trees having public sex!

    So is pollen the botanical equivalent of spam. Scattered indescriminately about, irritating many people, ignored by most, in the hope that a vanishingly small fraction will hit a susceptible target.

  10. #10 Katherine Sharpe
    May 10, 2006

    Sometimes at this season, when it gets bad, I decide that wearing my glasses all day is preferable to the bulgy, red, rheumy-eyed look.

    But there’s always on-purpose hookworm infestation, too!

  11. #11 Chad Orzel
    May 10, 2006

    While I could ride in on rainy days, and I have biked home in the rain, I don’t particularly enjoy the experience. I’m not so committed to the bike-to-work thing that I’m willing to regularly ride in in the rain.

    I’ll probably stop by the local bike shop and see what they have in the way of glasses that might provide better protection than the cheap shades I’m wearing now. I’ll still feel like a dork, though.

  12. #12 Nat
    May 10, 2006

    In our part of the world an Allegra is a car (Nissan?). So taking an Allegra whilst bicycling is a lot less comfortable.

  13. #13 natural cynic
    August 17, 2006

    Just remember that concussions and brain damage are really unsexy.

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