Outside, it is not the regular world you and I once lived in. We are now afraid of crowds, wary of handshakes, and mostly view every other known person with a bit of suspicion. The last point happens quite a lot if you’re meeting them after a long time. A certain OCD has set in with face masks and sanitisers becoming indispensable. As far as motorcycle riders are concerned, a face mask – the regular 3-ply one – causes a bit of an adjustment issue. You see, every time, you try and wear a tight (rightly so) helmet over the mask, it slides down or is mostly only covering your mouth and not the nose. Other times, the ear adjustment doesn’t happen to be proper thereby making you uncomfortable during the ride. In such cases, what do we do?
It might boil down to either wearing the mask or helmet. However both of these aren’t acceptable and hence Livinguard, a Switzerland origin company, has introduced what they call a tube mask. Express Drives was privy to use this Livinguard AG Tube Mask Lite for almost three months. While a majority of the time, this mask was used for the essential shop visits during the lockdown, once travel restrictions were lifted, we put it to good use on motorcycle rides as well. While we will explain in a bit if it actually works or not, let’s first understand the construction.
First up, the mask is more like a bandana thereby making you look a bit cool while wearing it. There are various ways one can also use this mask assuming the coronavirus goes away real soon. It is highly breathable and rarely will you see perspiration drops once you remove the mask after prolonged use. In fact, we were surprised as to how you can even extinguish a flame while wearing the mask. Livinguard assures us that it uses textile for the construction of the mask. The textile contains polycationic science of materials. Bacteria or viruses are made up of negatively charged cell walls. The Livinguard Tube Mask contains a strong positive charge – around 24 billion positive charges per centimetre.
The negatively charged cells are attracted towards the positive surface and a binding happens here. This is done through the principle of adsorption – in short, quite similar to the principle of gravity. These negatively charged compounds found in the bacterial cell walls are then absorbed into the positive surface, thereby drawing the compounds out of the cell wall and thus killing the virus in the process. That was a lot of chemistry and microbiology lessons, innit?
The company says that many independent laboratories have rated the Tube Mask as more than 99 per cent effective against the COVID-19 virus. What’s more the Livinguard Tube Mask replaces more than 210 3-ply one-time use face masks thereby making it eco-friendly too. The company claims that no harmful materials to the skin or ecosystem like silver were used in the construction of the mask. One just needs to gently wash the mask with cold water after use. It retains its germ-killing properties for up to 30 washes and for nearly six months. There is no wringing of the mask needed to allow it to dry. The good news is that the mask will take exactly the same time as a handkerchief to dry.
On the few motorcycle long rides that we had the pleasure of undertaking, the mask performed near perfectly. While wearing or removing the helmet, it doesn’t come off – making it a good fit for wearing under a helmet.
While we now know how good and effective the mask is, the downsides include the fact that with time, the material becomes a bit “loose”. On a few occasions when you lift the helmet visor, the mask might come down a bit and you need to readjust it accordingly. The stitching, from the sides, starts to unwind thereby leaving behind threads. Apart from this, it is hard convincing your family that this mask doesn’t need a mild detergent or soap to be used while cleaning it. Lastly, the price. At Rs 999/mask, it is costly but on certain e-commerce platforms like Amazon you may get it for around Rs 600.
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