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Sunglasses for Cycling 101

May 4, 2010

While it’s a known fact that nothing is cooler than a slick pair of shades, picking out sunglasses for cycling is serious business. Here are a few tips to help you pick out the perfect sunglasses for bike riding.

Material Safety

Most cycling glasses are made from some form of polycarbonate material and it’s important to remember that these glasses will be near your eyes. With the danger of a fall you’ll see why you don’t simply want any old sunglasses. Always be sure that the cycling glasses you choose have shatter proof materials.

UV Ray Protection

You use sunscreen to protect your skin, but what about your eyes? Many of us are well aware of the potential danger of UV rays on our skin, but we often forget the importance of protecting our eyes. Always wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. One major misconception is that UV rays are only dangerous on sunny days. UV rays are also present on cloudy days and will still cause squinting, eye fatigue, eye strain and potentially UV damage. Good cycling glasses will  help combat the harmful effects of sunlight on your eyes, make your ride more pleasant and help you stay safe.

Frame Style

While many choose sunglasses based on looks, function should be equally important. Depending on your riding style you might consider different sunglass frame styles. All cycling glasses should fit snug but not tight and should wrap around the sides of your face to protect your entire eye. Remember, the main purpose of these glasses is to keep foreign objects from finding their way into your eyes. You might also want to consider whether it is more important for your new shades to be rugged, resist dirt and take falls, or if they need to be lightweight, well ventilated and allow high visibility. Higher dollar models will typically provide that perfect middle ground.

Try on the glasses you are looking at. Sure, they look good on you, but can you see well? Do they fit snuggly but not tightly? How do they feel on your nose and ears? How is your peripheral vision? With the cycling glasses on, you don’t want to lose sight of the cars or bikes coming from beside you. These are all important aspects to consider when choosing sunglasses for cycling.

Colored Tints

The most common colored tints for cycling are yellow and amber. These colored lenses are great for low light situations like mountain biking in the forest. When choosing glasses with colored lenses consider how often you will be encountering these situations. Many brands allow for interchangeable lenses so that the same set of frames can be used no matter the lighting conditions.

Learn More

These are all fairly general guidelines to help steer you in the right direction. For more help picking out the right sunglasses for your ride, stop by Bicycle Sport Shop and check out our lineup from Oakley, Smith Optics and Ryders Eyewear. Our staff will be happy to explain the differences between the brands, models and the technology behind our selection of sunglasses.

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