Martie’s Totobobo filter in London

Martie use her Totobobo mask for cycling in London traffic

Martie use her Totobobo mask for cycling in London traffic (Southampton Row, London)

Why do you choose cycling to work?

I realised cycling is a cheaper, more reliable and (even) enjoyable mode of transport compared to the unreliable, overcrowded & expensive public transport. I’m least interested in cycling sports, but I’m glad that I made the decision to cycle for my everyday transport.

Adding all the bicycle-related cost (bike, locks, mask, clothes etc. altogether) is equivalent of buying a 4-month travel ticket in London. Even including maintenance cost, I’m financially better-off cycling than using public transport.

Another factor is reliability. Cycling may take a bit longer and require more physical effort, but at least its duration is predictable. Commuting on a public transport is always full of confusion and frustration due to unreliable service and overcrowding. But once I started cycling, to my surprise the whole set of travel-related stress has disappeared and I discovered happier me.

When I started cycling I was scared my socks off for the first 2-3 months, but if you take it as a small adventure for the first time and repeat the route carefully, the nervous excitement will wear off and cycling will become everyday activity after a while.

To cycle safely amongst large vehicles, you just need to know the DOs and DON’Ts around those vehicles. As long as you adhere to it, those big guys won’t harm you. If you respect other general traffic rules, the motorists will respect your presence in return. You cycle alone but you share the space with everyone else.

How is your experience of using Totobobo mask in London?

Martie at Kingsway, London, WC2B

Martie at Kingsway, London, WC2B

filters facing outside of the mask.

Totobobo mask after cycling in London about a week, the distance covered is approx 80km.

I use Totobobo mask all the time as I cycle everywhere in London.

Since I began commuting to the centre of London where traffic pollution is worst, I started using double 96% filter for my mask.

With single filter I get discomfort in my throat after every journey because of the heavy traffic, but with double filter I can clearly feel the improvement. Previously I keep producing small amount of sputum for a couple of hours after every journey, whereas with double filter, I don’t get that ‘ahem…ahem, ahem…’ phase, virtually none.

Obviously using double filter limits my inhalation, but I’m happy to take this trade-off for greatly reducing discomfort caused by pollution.

I have been using double filter nearly every day for about 4 months, and so far there’s no lasting respiratory impact, only short period of breathlessness immediately after a journey.

filters facing outside of the mask.

filters facing outside of the mask.

With the mask, I’m more willing to travel longer distance without worrying about the level of pollution, it also allows me to cycle safely as I’m not compelled to move away from the rear of a vehicle when it is unsafe to do so.

I do intensive exercise regularly so I know my respiration capacity is stronger than the average person, but I’m also aware that there might be a long term negative impact of having double filter.

(Note: Double layer of filter may cause discomfort and can be damaging for special group of user. Consult your doctor before applying double filter on your mask.)

Have you tried other brands (of mask) before?

No, but other products didn’t look so air-tight while Totobobo taking less space to carry around. Other product looked either too elaborate or too flimsy. Totobobo seemed to me hitting the right balance.

The rather clinical look of the mask sometimes raise eyebrows, but I think it’s just an outcome of that famous principle ‘form follows function’.

Fit testing Totobobo mask with 5.5 years old

Happy Lucas wearing a well fitted Totobobo mask

Happy Lucas wearing a well fitted Totobobo mask

Conducting a fit-test with Lucas

Conducting a fit-test with Lucas

Lucas is the youngest fit-tester ever tested by our Portacount Pro fit-tester machine so far!

Lucas was born in the year of rat 2008, making him 5 years 6 months old when he visited us for a fit-test. Not long ago Yixuan, Lucas’ mother, send us a photo of Lucas wearing a Totobobo mask and explained that she couldn’t get it to fit him perfect enough. After checking the photo it is obvious that the mask was too big for Lucas. I offered to to conduct a fit-test help to customize the mask for the little boy.

At first the mask was too big for Lucas..

Help! Lucas’ Totobobo mask is way too big. Large gaps can be seen below the chin and around the nose bridge. Photo credit: Yixuan

Lucas’ mum told us he is a very active boy and makes friends easily with both adults and peers. It was fun to have Lucas since he is very playful and active. However the fit-test part was a bit challenging since Lucas has to keep still and perform certain specific action, such as deep breathing, moving the head steadily side to side and up-and-down. The most difficult action turn out to be “breathing normally”, (that sounds so boring for Lucas) and the easiest was “Talking loudly”.

Optimized Totobobo mask after the fit test

Optimized Totobobo mask after the fit test

We were unable to obtain an uninterrupted routine to pass overall “Fit-factor” of 100. On the other hand, although the result during “Normal breathing” was a poor 20, incidental results of over 100 means that it is possible for Totobobo mask to achieve N95 level performance on a 5 and a half years old. For example, during the task “Head side to side” the fit factor was 107, and another task “Head Up and Down” the fit factor was beyond 200!

Partial result during the fit test

Partial result during the fit test