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A Noob’s Guide to Cycling Sunglasses – What To Look For (in cheap sunglasses)

I bought a new pair of cycling shades the other day. They weren’t anything special, on the cheap rack at a local Dick’s Sporting Goods (I find this awesomely ironic in many ways – I’ll have to shop there more often, just not for cycling stuff, their selection of “cycling” stuff was laughable). These sunglasses did have a “good for cycling” sticker on the lens and they matched my melon protector perfectly so I decided to buy them.

After my first long ride wearing them, they’re the best cycling glasses I’ve ever worn. 35 miles in 80+ degree heat and not one drop of sweat on the lens in my field of vision (one drop hit far to the left of my left eye). It really didn’t hit me, that I could still see clearly, until about mile 23… Normally I’m looking through sweat streaks by 15 miles but the frame at the bridge of my nose fits so perfectly that it channels the sweat down the nose pad so it never touches the lens. The sweat simply drips onto my upper lip when I’m on the hoods.

More testing (much, much more) will be required, but for now, color me shocked and surprised: These $30 shades are awesome!

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Now, here’s the reasoning I used to plunk down the $30 (that’s written as a joke, cycling specific sunglasses run up to $250 a pair). First, they ride higher than normal shades so the top of the frame doesn’t obscure my view while I’m in the drops or on the hoods (very important). They’re a tight wrap-around style – a tight fit ensures less debris will get into my eyes. I once wore my driving shades riding and had dust kicked up by a car… I ended up with grit bouncing around between my eyes and glasses – that’s not cool.

Where I got lucky, was at the bridge of the nose. With this pair of shades the plastic frame fits the bridge of my nose perfectly and channels the sweat from my forehead down the nose pads so that it never gets near the lenses.

From now on, when picking sunglasses for cycling, I’ll be looking for glasses that fit like these (the first “perfect” pair I’ve owned). Being able to see clearly after 35 miles was a wonderful experience.

Same thing again today – 16 miles, pretty easy effort at 18 mph with a tough northeast wind that never really helped but hurt plenty. Plenty of sweating but not a drop on the glasses. It’s not a fluke!

1.  Top of frame does not obscure view while riding with hands on hoods or in drops
2.  Bridge of nose fits
3.  Match shades to the helmet (or bike).  You can choose to look like a mismatched doofus, but c’mon, have a little self-respect.

Please remember, most of the time you will get what you pay for.  A deal like this, in my experience, is quite rare.

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