How to choose your cycling eyewear
Cycling specific eyewear (or glasses) can be considered an essential bit of kit by most. We certainly never leave the house unless we’ve got the appropriate eyewear at the ready.
Besides endearing the wearer to a dose of coolness (sometimes), eyewear performs the important job of protecting the eyes against harmful debris, dirt, wind and UV rays. There's a bewildering choice though, but armed with the following essential facts, picking the right eyewear for your riding doesn't need to be an intimidating process.
First and foremost, good fit is crucial. Just as there’s many different shaped faces and heads, so there are different shaped glasses. Try lots on to find the ones that best suit you.
Important to bare in mind is how your eyewear choice will sit with the straps and retention devices of your helmet. So if you're trying on lots of eyewear on in a shop, make sure to do so with your helmet on.
Some glasses will come with interchangeable nose pieces which can help find a good fit, and tactile material on the arms help them stay snugly in place..
Once you've found a brand that fits you comfortably, the next decision is which lenses to buy. Most will protect against UV rays, so you can then move onto which of the huge range of colours and tints to go for.
Which you go for is very much down to personal preference, but there's a few key things to think about. The brighter the light you'll be riding in - and much depends upon your geographical location here - generally the darker the lens the better. But it's not just when the sun is shining that eyewear can be worn - certain lenses can increase contrast in low light and clear lenses can keep dirt and wind out of your eyes on night rides.
Some lenses actually change tint depending on the amount of available light, which can be great for late afternoon rides or on trails where you know you’ll be dipping in and out the cover of trees, preventing you having compromised vision half of the time.
There’s also an increasing number of lenses coated with special treatment to help rain, muck and oil slide easily off and not spoil your vision. Some lenses get venting ports along the top or sides which can help to prevent them misting up.
Many manufactures offer prescription lenses, either with the entire lenses created to spec or with small lenses that sit behind the main lens.
Let’s not underestimate the importance of looking good on the bike. With a myriad of styles, colours and lens and frames colour combinations and customisable options, there’s a style to suit everybody's tastes.
For on the bike though, wraparound glasses ares best as they provide the most protection from flying debris and shield your eyes from wind better. Tough polycarbonate frames are durable and withstand rough treatment well,
Many manufacturers offer frames with interchangeable lenses which can provide the perfect lens no matter the conditions, and can be cheaper than buying several pairs of shades. Not to mention the hassle that is carrying several pairs in your pack.