Very few cycling garments are worn in the mall when trolling for a good time. Cycling sunglasses are an exception.
Tight cycling jerseys with three pockets across the back are seldom seen. Mall rats don’t choose cycling shoes with cleats- they look funny and it’s hard to keep the ghetto pants from falling off when you’re tapping along the tiles with your toes in the air. Somehow, I like that visual.
I haven’t seen too many pairs of bonafide cycling shorts there either. Mall enthusiasts wear their shorts and pants so low that I doubt anything made of cloth has ever contacted the groin proper. Bike shorts with that special chamois caressing them might shock them into questioning their sexual orientation.
But cycling sunglasses- yea, they’ll work.
So what makes them ‘cycling sunglasses’? I suppose the label.
But there are some features that make cycling sunglasses stand apart.
They have to be unbreakable, for example. That’s right, glass lens are ill-advised. But don’t despair- with all the revolutionary new plastics out there, you’ll never miss the heavy ole glass devils. And these plastics are tough, I’m telling you. So tough, they’ll protect you from a variety of road hazards.
-little flying rocks -little flying bugs -moderate sized flying bugs -winds that will dry out your contact lenses -boogers from the guy ahead of you in the paceline -flying splinters if you're riding on old wood sidewalks in Virginia City
You get the picture.
They‘ll even protect you from the second most damaging agent out there (after boogers)- namely UV rays.
I’ve got a pair of cycling sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. Dark lenses for sunny conditions, yellow lenses for overcast days when more contrast is needed, and clear lenses for dark times when hazard protection is needed, but light is at a premium.
I must admit that when I heard about interchangeable lenses I thought of ‘flip-up’ sunglasses. You know, the kind that nerd tourists wear to Disneyland.
I’ve noticed that when most products try to do more than one task, they do none of them with excellence. And they usually look dorky along with their mediocrity. Not so with the interchangeable-lens-cycling-sunglass!
The lenses snap in and out very firmly, so they’ll never fall apart. They look so ‘natural’ you’d swear they were engineered by Hollywood’s most renowned plastic surgeon. He’ll sell you a pair that look ‘perky’…and ‘well-rounded’.
But will they stay on?
Look no further than the winter Olympics! The skaters had their glasses (we’ll assume they were cycling glasses) on over the humiliating looking hood of their speed suits. What this did was effectively eliminate the advantage of having ears. And they still stayed on! So what’s the point?
The point is…even cyclists without ears can wear cycling sunglasses with confidence.
How about pricing?
If you’re one of those who think that the economy is really kickin butt because your wallet just keeps getting fatter and fatter, ‘Rudy Project’ or ‘Smith’ sunglasses can be had for a couple hundred bucks a pair.
If you wonder when all the good economic news is going to trickle down to affect you personally, follow my lead. I received a pair of glasses from Performance Bike for Christmas (Winter Solstice Day for you pagan infidels) that work great. They’re relatively inexpensive, they break wind, they provide UV protection, they bend but don’t break, they stay on even without the use of ears, and most importantly…
They look good at the mall with ghetto pants and skater shoes.
Ron Fritzke is a runner converted to cycling. His unique view of cycling apparel and accessories adds some humor to his reviews. You can read more of his opinionated drivel at http://www.cycling-review.com