I keep swallowing flies, because I'm mostly cycling along a canal. I'm cycling quite hard, and mild hayfever means that I can't just breathe in through my nose.

I've bought a 'buff', but I'm getting too hot in that, and I'm not worried about pollution (small particles), so I'm after a lightweight mask that I can breathe through easily. Are there any masks on the market suitable for this?

  • Did you check drugstores for medical masks? (Not sure what you mean by a "buff".) May 29, 2012 at 15:09
  • (Actually, something like a fencing mask might work, only you'd prefer something that only covers the lower face.) May 29, 2012 at 15:10
  • (And I've seen people cycling with mosquito-netting head covers.) May 29, 2012 at 15:12
  • 12
    Flies are primarily protein. Skip the mask and enjoy. Note that if you are an endurance athlete, you will want to mix in carbs to go with the protein at about a 4:1 ratio. Figure one PowerBar gel blast or Gu Chomp for every 5-6 flies.
    – Ken Hiatt
    May 29, 2012 at 19:31
  • 2
    @KenHiatt You should make that an answer :-) Although, I work next to a dietitian and she says flies have almost no body mass and you're going to pass them out pretty quick and so you won't be getting much protein from them. Might have to up the estimate on the number of flies per energy bar.
    – Jason S
    May 30, 2012 at 0:05

2 Answers 2


Buffs are useful for a time, but I understand that they can get uncomfortable after a few kilometres. Try something like this mask from Respro - you can buy replaceable filters and I think they look kind of cool too; you can even shove them in the washer after a particularly muddy or sweaty ride.

  • I'll give that the points! Looks way better than anything else I've seen. Thanks for the link.
    – Mick Sear
    May 31, 2012 at 21:25
  • I have this mask and it is hard to breathe through. I use it during winter to keep my breath warm.
    – Vorac
    Jun 11, 2014 at 11:37

I’ve heard pantyhose suggested for this purpose, though you risk looking like a bank robber and/or a lunatic.

You could also experiment with a bandana, Wild West gunslinger style.

  • Bandanna is good, motorcycle shops have the cool jaw bone ones. Bonus points if you find the Darth Vader look.
    – BPugh
    Jun 11, 2014 at 16:00

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