Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Cycling Sunglasses

Sight is an amazingly complicated sense. Your eyes continually move and adjust, receiving a constant flow of information. Normally, all this activity happens routinely and without noticeable strain. When cycling, however, you are affected by glare and the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Glare is annoying and discomforting causing your eyes to work harder, contracting your pupils, narrowing your eyelids and causing muscle fatigue. It also reflects off roads, traffic, water, concrete and the glass in buildings.

This is why quality eyewear is such an important cycling accessory. Besides being a fashion accessory, cycling sunglasses shield your eyes from bright sunlight and harmful UV rays, and also offer protection from the wind, rain, dust, grit and bugs that can impair your vision.

What should you look for in a pair of cycling sunglasses? Well they differ from regular sunglasses in that they have a wraparound design so they sit closer to your face. The frames are usually thinner and they're made from lightweight and durable materials, and the lenses are lighter too, typically shatterproof and they come in a vast rainbow of tints to suit different lighting conditions.

Fit and Comfort

When picking out your new sunglasses the first thing to look at is face size. Sunglasses frame size should closely mirror face size - smaller frames work better with smaller faces and vice versa. Frame size refers to the actual fit of the sunglasses. This is a general rule of thumb and not to be confused with the coverage of the sunglasses. They do make oversize stunner shade for small faces. For a more specific look at the size of a pair of glasses, look at the dimensions. This is often written as three consecutive numbers: (Eye Size) – (Bridge Size) – (Temple Size).

Eye Size
This is the horizontal measurement from the outside edge to the inside edge of one lens. Typical widths are 40–62 mm.

Bridge Size
The bridge is the distance between lenses. Typical widths are 14–24 mm.

Temple Size
This is the length of the temple piece, also known as the arm piece or ear piece. Typical lengths are 120–150 mm.

Fit is the a key criteria when choosing a new pair of cycling sunglasses. They need to be comfortable with no pinch points or excessive tightness, and they need to sit close to your face and not obscure your vision. Cycling sunglasses can sometimes be adjusted to preference. These are the two key areas that will affect comfort the most. The nose bridge will, in almost all cases, come with some kind of rubberised or soft touch cover to both help the glasses stay in place and also prevent the plastic underneath from rubbing on your nose. 

Whether the nose bridge is built in or replaceable depend on how expensive the glasses are. Oakley, for example, have a fully replaceable bridge and their performance glasses come with a spare in the hard case. Stating the obvious, though, everybody’s nose is different and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for everyone else, so trying on a set of glasses in your local bike before you buy is advised. 

The tightness of the arms is something to be aware of as well. Arms can be flexible or rigid, Most are covered with a rubber material to grip your head and stop them moving about. Another important feature of the arms is length. And, more specifically, how the length of the glasses interacts with the retention system of your helmet. So trying sunglasses with your helmet on its very advisable.

Generally, a sign of good fit is that you forget you're wearing them when you're cycling.


Lenses come in a huge range of tints and colours from dark black to protect your eyes in bright sunlight, to yellow for boosting contrast in poor light. The first choice with lenses is in choosing whether you want something with two individual lenses or large one-piece integrated lens. In performance terms, the one-piece lenses usually have a great degree of coverage, as they don’t have a complete gap where the nose bridge sits, and will often be constructed to come further around the side of the head, meaning you won’t get that irritating effect when the lens ends right in the corner of your vision.

Cycling sunglasses with interchangeable lenses are common these days, and very popular, for good reason. The great thing about a set of glasses that come with interchangeable lenses is that it increases their versatility. A lot of glasses with interchangeable lenses will be supplied with at least two options, while many brands will also offer a wider range of aftermarket lenses, which you can pick and choose from. Choose a pair of glasses with several sets of lenses and you are going to be prepared for most typical cycling conditions.

Some manufacturers make photochromic lenses that get lighter or darker according to the conditions, but the range they offer is more limited at present than specific lenses, but can be a useful and appealing alternative if you don't want to have to worry about changing lenses.

Some lenses are vented or have an anti-fogging coating to help reduce fogging when you sweat. Some manufacturers apply a hydrophobic coating to help rain run off the glasses. You also want to make sure the lens has UVA (UVA account for 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. UVA rays do not vary in intensity throughout the year and although they are much less intense, they are 30-50 times more prevalent than UVB rays. In recent studies, UVA rays have also been shown capable of contributing to the development of skin cancer and photoaging, and have been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts.) and UVB (UVB are super intense and the primary cause of sunburns and cancer, and can be very hazardous to the eyes. UVB Rays vary in intensity throughout the year and are much stronger in the summer months between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm – this is the time of year when the earth’s axial tilt is angled towards the sun, causing UVB Rays to be more focused.) protection. 

Some cycling sunglasses offer a prescription option, either with the sunglasses lenses made to your prescription or with clip-in lenses behind. One useful extra that some have is an anti-scratch coating. Anti-scratch coating is just an added layer of protection that means you won’t ruin the lenses quite as easily.

Lenses Colurs Guide

Mirrored Lenses
Mir­rored lenses are best for bright sunny days. These lenses typ­i­cally block the most light mak­ing rid­ing into the sun more enjoy­able.  There are many col­ors of mir­rored lenses avail­able so it’s easy to match your lens to the color of your kit. These lenses also do the best job of hid­ing your eyes, valu­able if you are prone to pain-induced tears or are plan­ning a mid-ride stop at the beach.

Orange or Yellow Lenses
Orange/yellow lenses are best for low-light rid­ing con­di­tions (e.g. the light­ing con­di­tions seen either at dawn or dusk). These lenses help to enhance low-light rid­ing con­di­tions by bright­en­ing up the road or any­thing that is on it. 

Clear Lenses
Clear lenses are designed for night rid­ing or rid­ing in the rain. While they won’t block any light, they will block debris. Select clear lenses if you’re going to be rid­ing at night or going out dur­ing a heavy rainstorm.

Photochromic Lenses
Pho­tochromic lenses auto­mat­i­cally adjust to chang­ing light con­di­tions. They will darken when the sun gets brighter and lighten when the avail­able light lev­els start to decrease. If you ride multi-day or all day, a pho­tochromic lens, while a bit costly, might be your best bet  so you’ll never have to worry about whether or not you have the right lenses in.

Gray Lenses
This is a neutral color that provides natural contrast and gives true color perception. It's a good, general-purpose color.

Brown and Amber Lenses
These are the best lens colors for high glare. They allow excellent contrast and their dark color minimizes eye strain. They're effective for absorbing most blue light waves, which sharpens visual acuity, improving depth perception and contrast in variable light conditions. On the down side, amber distorts colors, making greens greener and causing neons to fade.


Ride On!

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