For many, performance sunglasses or cycling glasses are a standard part of their cycling kit – like their shoes or their jersey. For others, it’s a case of “it’s not sunny so I don’t need them”? So here are 5 reason’s we wear and think cycling glasses are a good thing all year round.
1. Beware of flying objects –
Cyclists (by choice) have very little by way of facial protection when riding. OK if you’re downhill mountain biking you may be wearing a full face helmet but what about your eyes? Glasses (and goggles) serve as a protective barrier against stones, dirt and debris that can be kicked up from cycling both on and off-road. After a recent encounter with a fly the size of a small hazelnut, we should include flying insects to the list. Many of the cycling glasses on sale have lenses made from Polycarbonate. This makes them extremely tough and most lenses are designed to be shatter and scratch resistant.
2. Sunny days –
OK so this one is a no-brainer really. If its a sunny day and you were driving or even just walking for that matter you would usually wear sunglasses. They are designed to not only keep the bright glare of the sun out of your eyes so you can see where you are going, but most will also offer a good UV (ultra-violet) protection from the sun. Whether it’s 30 mins or 3 hours in the saddle, extended exposure to the sun’s rays could cause long term damage. Riding at higher altitudes or during the day when the sun is at it’s highest (normally between 10am & 2pm) are things to take into consideration if you are deciding if sunglasses are needed.
3. Streaming eyes –
Similar to flying objects I guess – but if you like to ride fast or fancy yourself as a pro, assuming an ‘aero-tuck’ position as you fly down a decent (we do not encourage this), naked eyes will water or stream. This is often the case in cold and wet weather too. The cause of this is because the cornea (transparent layer over the front of the eye) is highly sensitive. When this layer is irritated, in this case by airflow or temperature, it triggers the eye to tear in an effort to remove the irritation. Performance glasses often have extended or wrap-around lenses to cover more of the eye area and protect against wind and cold airflow.
4. Eyes don’t lie –
How many times have you been on a weekend ride, seen another rider or club and said to yourself “don’t look tired”? No matter how silly it is, I’m sure that most of us have tried to maintain a poker face when riding. But as the saying goes – ‘the eyes don’t lie’! If you are competing, not letting your competition see you suffering on as climb or the glint in your eyes as you prepare to launch for a sprint finish, can be advantageous. Sunglasses with a dark or mirrored lens can play a big part in a competitive situation.
5. Just because they look pretty damn good –
Lets be honest – sunglasses are as much of a fashion accessory as a functional piece of cycling kit. There are so many shapes, sizes and colours of cycling and performance sunglasses on the market, it would be incredibly difficult not to find a pair to suit just about any rider. It is a good idea if possible to buy glasses with changeable lenses. Lots of manufacturers produce models with changeable lenses that include clear or tinted lenses. These are ideal for riding at night or in low-light conditions. For cyclists that wear prescription glasses off the bike, it is possible to buy prescription sports sunglasses or cycling glasses that have a dual lens setup. These however can be expensive but your optician should be able to advise you. Prices can be as varied as the available styles so think about what you are wanting, choose wisely and where possible, try before you buy.
Ok so most of these might be pretty obvious but we wear glasses on pretty much every ride. But whilst we recommend them, like most of the items cyclists wear, they are a personal preference as is the decision to wear them.