If you’ve been outside at all the last couple of days, you’ve seen it. That dusty, yellow haze of pollen that’s covering everything, whether it’s moving or not! It’s that time again here in the Charlotte area when it’s practically perfect for riding a bike. More daylight, warmer weather, and the outdoor chores haven’t quite piled up just yet. And it’s also prime time for that @#$% pollen.
Unlike Mary Tyler Moore, that stuff can take a “nothing day” and flat out ruin it. (Waiting for you to Google Mary Tyler Moore…) If you’ve got allergies, asthma, or any of the stuff that’s aggravated by pollen, you’re not stuck on the trainer, or worse yet, off the bike completely. The folks in the white coats have all sorts of suggestions to help keep you on the bike this time of year.
For starters, keep an eye on the weather. Download a weather app that also keeps tab on the pollen count. Plan big workouts, long rides and the like on days that the count will be the lowest. And yes, pollen counts are generally worse on windy days. Makes sense, right?
Know what allergens really get you going. If you’re allergic to broccoli, chances are pollen count isn’t your issue. But, if you know ragweed, pine, or some other prevalent pollen is your nemesis, you’ll be better prepared to plan your ride and or any other pre- or post-exposore treatment.
Watch the clock. Pollen counts are highest early in the morning and around dusk. That sucks for those of us trying to schedule a ride before or after work. Maybe it’s time to work in a little afternoon delight with the bike.
Pray for rain. Even if you’re not the spiritual type, go with the know that a good wash down can clean the slate – and the air – even if just for a few hours, and even in the peak of pollen season. Invest in some good rain gear or even some fenders and you’ll be set to go.
If you just can’t hack it any other way, there are any number of ways to treat seasonal allergies, from acupuncture, to over-the-counter stuff, and prescription meds. Sneezing and wheezing from the pollen is not what we have in mind when folks tell us this ride will be a suffer-fest. Hard to argue this isn’t one of the worst places for allergies, but that doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to solitary confinement. Get out there and ride!