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Specs appeal (or why you need cycling glasses)

Cycling glasses – they’re just a posing accessory, right? And you only really need them when it’s sunny, yes? Actually, no. It’s true that cycling glasses do look cool, and they do help to limit glare on bright days, but cycling eyewear actually provides a far greater and more important range functions than just these obvious two. Let us help you to see the light.

Other dangers

So what are the biggest dangers that cycling eyewear can help combat? The obvious one is rain water and road wash that flicks up into your face as you ride along. Although rain water very rarely proves to be a direct threat to your vision, the discomfort of water running round your eyes is enough to distract from the more important task of riding your bike.

However, road wash can also lead to road debris, such as grit and sand, affecting you. Get that, or even a little insect in your eyes, and you could be momentarily incapacitated as you blink or try to rub it away. In worst-case scenarios, that foreign object could even create a more serious problem for your vision and may lead to you needing medical treatment.

A very significant danger to your long-term eyesight health is actually invisible: ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light is a huge contributory factor to cataracts and macular degeneration in later life. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Britain. A lot of people think these are things that only happen when you reach old age but the damage inflicted by ultraviolet light is cumulative over a lifetime. And it doesn’t have to be super-sunny to affect your eyes.

What to look for

Your choice of eyewear has to provide three things: comfort, protection and clear vision. It’s important that your glass’s lenses extend on each side of your face and also sit high enough so that when you are in a tucked cycling position leaning forward, you’re not looking over the top of them.

Of course, they must fit nicely and not be too tight or too loose. However, it’s also very helpful if they have special materials built into the nose pads or sides that will grip to your face better as you get hotter and sweatier.

Polycarbonate lenses are good options for absolute strength and protection from physical dangers. They’ll also bear up well should you drop them.

Finally, as well as UV protection, make sure your lens offers good colour contrast, so that brake lights stay nice and clear. Some lenses, such as polarising options, actually make contrasts better than with normal sight, while photochromatic lenses change with lighting conditions, so you can wear them whether it’s sunny or dark.

Next time you’re looking to replace you cycling glasses, or treat yourself to a new pair, check out these great options…

Budget

Endura Spectral Anti Fog £14.24

Proof that classy glasses don’t have to be expensive, this excellent option from Endura comes with a comfortable wraparound frame for wind protection, a high definition but low distortion polycarbonate lens with UV protection, and it’s even treated without an anti-fogging finish to prevent misting. The Spectral is supplied with a hard case and soft wipe microfibre carry pouch.

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Mid-range

Tifosi Tyrant 2.0 Interchangeable Glasses £49.49

Here are some really sharp looking glasses, but their appeal lies not just in style but with their practicality. These Tifosi Tyrant’s come with a choice of three different lens finishes — smoke, all conditions red and clear — which you simply click into the frame depending on what you need. All three lenses offer UV protection and the frame features adjustable arms for comfort, and hydrophilic rubber ear and nose pieces for a no-slip fit.

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Top-end

Oakley Radarlock Path Glasses with Iridium Photochromatic Vented Lens £202.50

These Oakleys might have a rather long product name, but they offer the ultimate in cycling eye protection. The lightweight, stress-resistant frame benefits from Oakley’s ‘Three Point Fit’, which ensures the frame makes contact only at the bridge of the nose and the sides of the head. Then, the photochromatic lens changes with lighting conditions but provides total UV protection and supreme defence against high-velocity and high-mass impact. We’ve seen Oakley lenses that have had the full shotgun treatment — no projectiles made it through.

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To see Evans’s full range of cycling eyewear, click here