To Wear Or Not To Wear Glasses
“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”
With decades of riding behind us, we’ve seen and heard a lot of “Wow, what a freak thing to happen”, happen. From a tiny twig jamming a chain just right so it rips a rear derailleur clean off the bike, to snakes being wrapped around cassettes and rotors, to vines grabbing someone’s bars and ripping the bike out from under them. There are some precautions you can try to avoid such things and other things that are simply unavoidable.
Whether it’s clear glasses for night rides or sunglasses during the day, wearing glasses is one such precaution we suggest every rider utilises if possible.
For what reason should I wear glasses?
We’ll give you several! UV, protection, cool.
UV damage to the eyes is the most obvious reason. Just because you can handle bright sunlight without sunglasses doesn’t mean your eyes aren’t getting damaged by the UV radiation that’s hammering them on every ride.
Less than two weeks ago (at time of writing), we saw a rider (without any glasses on) take a very gentle tumble on a sandy corner and end up in a bush. All seemed funny enough until the rider got up and we could see the scratch mark that ran from the rider’s eye lid and down their cheek. A branch in the bush had very nearly rammed itself into the rider’s eye. We’ve seen similar incidences on many occasions where just a few millimetres has made the difference between retaining one’s sight, and having something rammed clean through the retina.
Wearing glasses is also handy for keeping dust and mud splats out of your eyes also.
And hey, what’s more cool than a trendy pair of sunnies to show off your personality? Or hide behind?
But I need prescription glasses to see!
So do we. You can get prescription sunglasses. My wife needs prescription glasses to see to ride. I need prescription glasses to read my Garmin or phone. Solution, we got prescription sunnies to suit our needs. Because MTBing often involves big changes in light due to the trees or constantly changing conditions, we chose ‘photochromic’ or ‘transition’ lens as they called. These are clear unless the sun gets bright and then they darken a little.
In my wife’s case, her glasses happen to be a cool set of Bollé with the whole lens prescription for her eyesight. In my case, I still needed to see as normal for anything further than 500 – 600mm away, but needed to be able to read at around the 400mm mark. Bifocals were the only choice for me. This limited my frame choices to those brands offering full framed glasses but I found some that did the job. Definitely not funky looking like my wife’s, but I can read my phone and Garmin so I’m happy. I have a second pair that are not transition but dark, polarised and with bifocals so I have choices.
So then, while not cheap (private health funds often pay a large part on one a set of glasses each year), there are ways to have your eyesight and sunglasses too.
Clear glasses for night riding
Just thought we’d mention that you get a plethora of really cheap, clear glasses to ride at night or during the day in dark forests. However, they are usually not optically very good so tend to distort the surroundings. Eye protection safety glasses tend to do the same thing. These choices are definitely way better than riding without any protection at all as they will, at least, hopefully stop anything solid penetrating your eyes while riding or falling. A better choice is a quality pair that do have better optics if you can afford those.