How to avoid swallowing gnats?!?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How to avoid swallowing gnats?!?

    Ok please don't laugh. But in my rides, I have to sometimes do uphills in some woods in California, in proximity of torrents. Those woods are in tested by gnats, who I think are trying to get a sip of my sweat, perhaps in search of salt. So I am occasionally biking in a cloud of gnats, and as it's hot and uphill, I breath with the mouth open, and uhhrg ackkc cough cough spit bleaaargh spit rinse spit again, I occasionally swallow one of them.

    I am tempted to fashion a sort of face mask made of gauze or window screen material to keep them out. Anyone has some good suggestion? I must not be the only one, am I?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucapcp View Post
    Ok please don't laugh. But in my rides, I have to sometimes do uphills in some woods in California, in proximity of torrents. Those woods are in tested by gnats, who I think are trying to get a sip of my sweat, perhaps in search of salt. So I am occasionally biking in a cloud of gnats, and as it's hot and uphill, I breath with the mouth open, and uhhrg ackkc cough cough spit bleaaargh spit rinse spit again, I occasionally swallow one of them.

    I am tempted to fashion a sort of face mask made of gauze or window screen material to keep them out. Anyone has some good suggestion? I must not be the only one, am I?
    I used to live in CA by the coast, and commuted to and from to work by some local greenbelt style bike paths (paved, but next to a creek). If I was unfortunate enough to return home at dusk, there would occasionally be clouds of gnats that were almost impossible to avoid. I never swallowed one, but have gotten my fair share in my eyes.

    They also would get in my hair/beard, and I'd get to work/home from work, and I'd look a bit like Beetlejuice/the grinch (bugs crawling out...).

    I make my own camping gear (hammocks, etc), and normal gnats/noseeums are small enough that normal window screen won't work. You need a finer mesh, like what you'd find on a mosquito net. Probably cheapest to scrounge some from a mosquito head net, or go buy a yard of it at a fabric store. I've never tried breathing intensely through my hammock bug net though, so not sure if it would be stifling or not.

    If I was to make something for it, I'd maybe modify a bandana with a square of netting, or make something similar to an old motocross roost guard, but with mesh/netting for gnats instead of plastic for deflecting clods of dirt.

    Something like this.



    Good luck .

  3. #3
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    From reading other threads, they are called 5mph flies as that's the speed you need to lose them.
    I will try with window screen fabric and elastics,
    Today I did a 1000ft climb in their company, not fun.

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    No laughter here. I'm deep in the southeast US, and night rides are super-hairy. Or, well, it's the spiders and bees that are hairy...in your throat. Gnats around twilight pose similar problems.

    I generally just have to back off a bit so I can breathe in through my nose. Or just be very aware and willing to risk putting my head down in certain spots.

    I thought about some kind of mask, but it seems like it may compound the issue.

    I not much for safety glasses or goggles, either, so I guess I've just decided to try to be alert and ride smart. Dropping your head to avoid bugs or tree branches isn't optimal, but it works for me.

  5. #5
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    I ordered a "Sea to Summit Head Net" from REI, which I found advised in an old net.
    I will report how it works.

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    i've seen people riding with cycling face masks but no idea how they would affect your heat/breathing.

  7. #7
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    I have swallowed a lot of flies. As yet, I have not died. Not saying I enjoy it but I can live with it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phuchmileif View Post
    No laughter here. I'm deep in the southeast US, and night rides are super-hairy. Or, well, it's the spiders and bees that are hairy...in your throat. Gnats around twilight pose similar problems.
    Yes, I've had more issues with spiders, yellow jackets and mosquitoes. Seems like a bandanna would be enough to keep the gnats out of your mouth. Although, not ideal when it is 90 degrees and 1,001% humidity.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I have swallowed a lot of flies. As yet, I have not died. Not saying I enjoy it but I can live with it.

    :nono: :thumbsup:

  10. #10
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    Why not just swallow them? What the point in trying to avoid it?
    Do the math.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucapcp View Post
    I ordered a "Sea to Summit Head Net" from REI, which I found advised in an old net.
    I will report how it works.
    +1 on the head net. I sometimes use these nets, have used a few brands and they're similar.

    When you ride into an occasional solo fly, swallowing it is fine; however if you're struggling to climb in a clouds of bugs, the head net makes life better.
    "...DirtBaggies may also be the best baggy mountain bike shorts on the market." Velonews - Click to check out other reviews.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Why not just swallow them? What the point in trying to avoid it?
    It feels like they get stuck in the back of your throat, and you start hacking like a cat.

  13. #13
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    My feeling is that any measure you take which will be effective in stopping flies will be more annoying than the flies.

  14. #14
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    Hate that...In New England we have various varieties as well. Deer flies circle around you like fighter jets, black flies swarm in front of your face on a climb, and mosquito's attack when stationary. I try to focus on keeping mouth closed during climbs when the swarm appears. Not uncommon to suck a black fly in. More than once I've pulled one all the way into my freakin' lung. Can sort of feel it in there until hours later it finally gets coughed out.
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  15. #15
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    In Virginia we have clouds of gnats (midges I think) around bodies of fresh water for a few weeks in the fall. The most annoying thing about them is the way they seem to crush on impact and plaster glasses, skin, clothes, bike, etc. by the hundreds. All you can do is try to keep your mouth shut and blow your nose thoroughly after the ride. Fortunately, no black flies, they are the worst. Yet another reason why late fall to early spring is the best time to ride.

  16. #16
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    Bacardi 151 and mount some kind of pilot light to your helmet or chin strap. Incinerate them until you've swallowed enough rum at which point you will no longer care. Works for a light in a pinch as well.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  17. #17
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    Close your mouth, breath through your nose

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Bacardi 151 and mount some kind of pilot light to your helmet or chin strap. Incinerate them until you've swallowed enough rum at which point you will no longer care. Works for a light in a pinch as well.
    I'm going night riding with you!
    :nono: :thumbsup:

  19. #19
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    I mostly ride in the winter/cold. Everything like that is dead, so I never have to worry about it.

    CAn't remember it happening when I do ride in the summer though, and I live in Central Ohio...lots of annoying flying things in the warm months
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    I'm going night riding with you!
    like riding behind ghostrider

  21. #21
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    Embrace them as mid-climb recovery fuel...
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  22. #22
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    More protein right?

    Breathing in through the nose, and out of the mouth is my best defense.

  23. #23
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    pure protein! I chew gum when I ride with bugs. keeps my mouth shut. somewhere there was a pic of me blowing a bubble at a 24h event. as far as the nose goes? well thats a different story. In the valley in AZ we have white flies. they are kinda sweet tasting.

    I remember my dad telling me about riding his bike to the dentist to have his braces cleaned when he was a kid. He would take the canal into town. dentist told him next time ride with your mouth shut.
    Dont make me go all Jonathan Winters on this gas station.

  24. #24
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    I am happy to report that the nets like the "Sea to Summit" of REI work wonders.
    If the sun is strong, they even shade me a bit, and I can breath perfectly and even feel the breeze, they do not feel hot at all.

    Haha, if I were able to do hard uphills breating with my nose I would be a much better biker than I am!

    And, you know, at some point, I like cooking and choosing the food I eat. Plus it's really hard to swallow those small flies that stick right into the back of the throat and refuse to go anywhere. :-) I am like Billy The Cat when I swallow one, if you know what I am referring to :-)

  25. #25
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    Bill the cat, Bill the cat, not Billy! Big difference.How to avoid swallowing gnats?!?-screen-shot-2018-09-14-4.13.30-pm.png

  26. #26
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    Im not sure if you guys have it there or not, but a local company here makes a spray that is called bug soother. Its the best bug spray for gnats Ive ever encountered. Stuff is amazing!

    https://simplysoothing.net/collections/bug-soother

  27. #27
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    Thanks, R_Pierce, I am sure the bugs would be happy and well soothed, but it is my welfare that I was actually worrying about... but if I will feel generous one day, I'll go and give those poor bugs a spray of bug soother. They must have a stressful life after all.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucapcp View Post
    Thanks, R_Pierce, I am sure the bugs would be happy and well soothed, but it is my welfare that I was actually worrying about... but if I will feel generous one day, I'll go and give those poor bugs a spray of bug soother. They must have a stressful life after all.
    My post wasn't sarcastic at all.. it's the best bug spray I've ever used for gnats. Read some reviews.....

    It's actually the only spray that I have found to keep the gnats away. They are terrible here in the Midwest during late spring/early summer.


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  29. #29
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    Sorry sorry, it was just me feeling silly after a long day at work :-) I may try that spray, but the net is incredibly light to carry with me, so for the moment I am happy. I didn't get too many strange looks either while riding with it.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucapcp View Post
    Sorry sorry, it was just me feeling silly after a long day at work :-) I may try that spray, but the net is incredibly light to carry with me, so for the moment I am happy. I didn't get too many strange looks either while riding with it.
    what net are you talking about?
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucapcp View Post
    ah ha...so does it sit over your head, snd not cling to you vis your helmet...like do you put it on over your helmet?
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

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  33. #33
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    Get one of those veils belly dancers wear.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cornfield View Post
    Get one of those veils belly dancers wear.
    oooh yeah..with the little jingles. No need for a bell then
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

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  35. #35
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    I don't like swallowing flies either but I bet the flies hate it more

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    F*ck Cancer

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  36. #36
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    Yes, I put it over the helmet and the helmet visor keeps it off my face. When the uphill is over, or the flies are gone, I put it in my pocket, takes no space at all.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucapcp View Post
    Yes, I put it over the helmet and the helmet visor keeps it off my face. When the uphill is over, or the flies are gone, I put it in my pocket, takes no space at all.
    hmmm...might try that
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

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  38. #38
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    Get one of those Buff things, from any fly fishing shop. They're intended to keep the sun off but they keep the bugs out too.

  39. #39
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    i cut up some panty hose (just enough to cover mouth and nose), pulled up around my mouth...and worked well for the time being when i rode out in the north west during the spring.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesse101 View Post
    i cut up some panty hose pulled up around my mouth..
    Just don't forget you have it on when you go to the bank.

  41. #41
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    or the 7-11

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