I want to cycle 🚲 trails near my home but I feel the need to wear a mosquito 🦟/ tick mesh pullover. Does anyone take chances and ride without protection from ticks and mosquitoes?
Thanks for reaching out!
I recently moved from Fairbanks, Alaska where I lived for 6 years. It would be an understatement to say that the mosquitos there were 'abundant'. I love cycling, mountain biking specifically, and attempted to ride with a head net once. Unfortunately I found it to be cumbersome and annoying as it pressed against my face while I rode.
The solution I ended up going with was to use a 100% Deet spray like the Repel 100 Insect Repellent Pump Spray on my exposed arms, legs, and neck (I would spray it into my hand and apply that way, rather than spraying directly onto my face or neck) and either a permethrin based spray like Sawyer Permethrin Pump Spray or a natural repellant like Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Pump Spray on my clothing, shoes, and socks.
I found this system to do a serviceable job with mosquitos will riding my bike. Generally the mosquitos would hover 1-2 feet away from me when I stopped riding. Depending on your area and riding style, I would also recommend applying the repellant 20-30 minutes before you ride. If I put it on at the trailhead I felt like I would sweat it away pretty quickly while riding. Ticks aren't really a problem in the interior of Alaska (or in Washington, where I live now), like they can be in other places. I have also lived in New England, where they are very prevalent, and made sure to wear long socks (above the ankle) and light colored clothing when I rode so I could see them easily.
Hopefully this helps, thanks!
I live and ride in the North East, other locations may be different.
Mosquitos are not a problem as long as you are riding (road bike) at a good clip. Stopping to take a break can be a problem, so I keep my stops as short as possible.
Ticks are not normally a problem unless you are cycling near or under trees. That said, I have only ever seen one tick and it was removed before it could bite. Best to cycle with someone else that can keep an eye out for them on you. Mosquitos can easily hold on after a stop. But so can other bugs. Watch your buddy and have your buddy watch you.
Cycling in areas with heavy flying bugs (like black flies and chad flies) requires that you wear glasses and keep your mouth closed... I take it a step further and wear long sleeved jerseys; for sun and bug protection. Also, I wear a cap under my helmet to avoid bugs flying into my hair; especially in the spring.
Mountain biking in mosquito season is another story. If you are doing any serious climbing, your are probably slow enough that the mosquitos will have a feast. My solution is to get out early in the day before the bugs start biting. In some areas, it is not reasonable to start mountain biking until August.
I try not to use bug spray.