Friday, June 1, 2012

Cycling Glasses

I recently bought a pair of glasses for use on the bike. As a weekend-warrior type cyclist I used to think that cyclists with fancy shades really didn't need them. Instead, I thought the glasses were just for fashion and for shading one's eyes from the sun. After all, there are lots of folks who drive their cars wearing fancy sunglasses, and sometimes the sun is out and sometimes it is not!

But now that I am a developing roadie--someone who speeds around on a bike more than once or twice a week--I understand that cycling glasses are not just for style and not just to dim the sun's light rays. In addition, cyclists need glasses to protect their eyes from bugs, dust, and debris that can be thrown into our faces as a car passes us. A bit of dust or a bug can be an annoyance for the casual rider, but if you are riding along at 20 mph, you can't afford to be distracted or temporarily impeded by a speck of dust in your eye. The situation can become unsafe.

So I bought a pair of glasses. I now own Tifosi FORZA FC Gloss Black T-V215 Fototec glasses. The purchase price was about $40 on the Bike Nashbar website. This was about 3 months ago, so I don't remember why I chose this particular model (actually now I do: I have a big face and very few other brands were rated as fitting large faces--what are all cyclists like horse jockeys?). I can say that the glasses are completely worth every penny. They sit lightly on my face and never bother me during a ride. In fact, the only time I notice I am wearing them is when the wind is blowing on the rest of my face and I don't feel it around the eyes. "Oh yeah, I've got glasses on." [I should note here that off the bike I do not wear glasses or corrective lenses of any kind]. These things are as comfortable as can be, and they never shift position. I've never been worried that they would fall off.

Tifosi Forza FC cycling glasses
I wasn't actually sure how to wear them with a helmet. Should the earpieces go under the helmet straps or over them? I looked through an issue of Bicycle Magazine and saw photos of people doing it either way, but I can't be sure those are real cyclists or just models. Indeed, some of their helmet straps were much too loose under the chin to provide them any protection during a crash, so these people either loosened their straps for the photo shoot, or they weren't real cyclist. Anyway, I decided to wear the ear pieces over the helmet straps so that if I was in a crash, the glasses would fall away from my face and not cut me.

This pair of glasses is supposed to be photochromic, such that the lenses become more darkly tinted in bright light. This feature is not noticeable while wearing them, but I suppose that is the point. Off the bike I see that they never get very dark. However, I am not one who wears sunglasses routinely (i.e. a motorist who wears them in the car), so I'm not bothered that they are not very dark....except that a certain "cool factor" is lost when you are riding your bike without dark sunglasses. That's OK. I know I'm cool anyway!

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