cycling eyewear

Learning From Mistakes

Back in October, I was doing a lot of cycling. I was out every day. In fact I was out every day but five since March 31st.

On the brighter days, I would wear sunglasses. I have a particularly nice pair that I bought in Malaga, the last time I was there, but they aren’t cycling specific glasses.

If you don’t particularly know me, I should tell you this… I don’t fit with the standard image of a cyclist. I am not a ‘performance cyclist’ by any means. In terms of bikes and clothing, I’m an aesthete. Form is as important (on occasion, more so) as function. The MAMIL Lycra uniform is not even nearly on my radar. I’m not concerned with shaving a few ounces of weight from my saddle, or indeed with shaving my legs for the sake of ‘aerodynamics’. I’m not concerned with being the fastest. I just ride my bike. I like to feel that I look good when I ride my bike, wearing functional kit that I would be happy wearing in the pub.

Anyway, back to the sunglasses… ‘Alt’ bike brand Victory Chimp brought out their A.P.E. Optics range earlier this year. Immediately, I was drawn to the Claro design. A traditional, classy sunglass design, with cycling functionality including a subtle silver mirror for glare resistance. The price point is extremely good, this particular model comes in at £39.00. So I immediately bought a pair of sunglasses with a tortoiseshell frame and grey lenses, which were great.

October came round and there were fewer sunny days and those days became shorter, so sunglasses weren’t as much of a requirement. Here comes the mistake… I’m used to getting midges/small flies in my eye and being able to get on with it, but one such day in October, I’m cycling along at a decent pace, really enjoying my ride, when suddenly ‘Ouch!’, some sort of insect hit my eyeball at such a velocity and with such sharpness, that I nearly came off my bike, genuinely without a hint of exaggeration. It is now December and I still have a small bloodshot patch at the point of impact and still feel some discomfort or bruising in my eyeball. What an idiot!

A few days after it happened, I got onto the Victory Chimp website to check out the yellow lens version and ordered them more with hope more than expectation. What a revelation! Right now I probably seem like the biggest cycling idiot. I can wear these glasses in low light and in fact, trialled them in complete darkness last night (with bike lights, obviously). I can see perfectly and the glare of oncoming headlights is vastly reduced.

However you want to look on your bike, my take away for you is this, ALWAYS wear eyewear. There are options out there and they don’t have to be super expensive.


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