Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby james01 » 24 Sep 2009, 10:47am

Many cyclists wear these as part of their uniform, whatever the weather.
I find them necessary only when it's blindingly bright. At other times they're surely a liability, especially in low light conditions. I reckon they make you a bit remote from the scenery, a bit like a car windscreen.
Does anyone here wear them all day whatever the weather? Why?

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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby fixer » 24 Sep 2009, 10:54am

I suppose it's something you can hide behind, it makes you less self conscious, especially if you're wearing lycra.

I have to wear glasses, for short-sightness, but I wish I didn't need to for cycling as I have to hold my head more upright.

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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby pq » 24 Sep 2009, 10:54am

I have an expensive pair of prescription riding glasses which are tinted, which I bought to use in the summer and when I'm riding in the tropics. They're so good to ride in, I tend to wear them most of the time. The tint isn't severe enough to cause problems in normal light conditions, although I tend not to wear them in the depths of winter.

It would be nice to have a winter pair, but the cost of the ones I had was horrendous - I'm not about to pay for another pair.
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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby jochta » 24 Sep 2009, 11:29am

They keep flies, insects, dust and grit out of your eyes too.

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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby yakdiver » 24 Sep 2009, 11:29am

I have to wear them all the time as my eyes hate bright lights, it must be the vampire in me :twisted:
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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby McVouty » 24 Sep 2009, 12:24pm

Historically, it's because of the drugs racing cyclists took in the Coppi/Bartali era which dilated the pupils of their eyes. The style, which was seen as cool and continental, then transferred to clubbies.

Read the (highly recommended) "One more kilometre and we're in the showers" by Tim Hilton for much more. I think it's still in print, or borrow it from your local library before a government is elected which will cause it to be closed.

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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby Flinders » 24 Sep 2009, 12:51pm

My eyes bug out a bit, so my eyebrows don't keep glare out. :shock:
Also, in the summer, flies. A fly in the eye at 30 mph can be nasty.
I don't bother in the winter unless the light is bright.

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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby Kirst » 24 Sep 2009, 1:12pm

To keep the sun out of our eyes.

If it's too dark for sunglasses then I'll wear clear glasses or in low light conditions, yellow ones. I always wear some sort because I wear contact lenses and grit in the eye when you're wearing contacts is enough to cause an off.
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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby gilesjuk » 24 Sep 2009, 1:55pm

Some of them are light enhancing. Some are transition lenses, so they're fairly clear normally and if the sun comes out they darken.

Having had something land in my eye and suffer the irritation for a day I try to wear glasses at all times for protection.

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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby eileithyia » 24 Sep 2009, 1:59pm

As previously said, keeps sun, grit, bugs, wind etc out of your eyes. I find it surprising that some say they do no wear sunglasses in winter when sun light can be so much brighter.
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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby grim » 24 Sep 2009, 2:01pm

I wear galsses most of the time to keep stuff out but I also find the constant breeze makes my eyes very tired and watery.


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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby mw3230 » 24 Sep 2009, 2:32pm

I also wear glasses all the time to protect my eyes but find that in certain conditions - dappled light in trees for example - it is difficult to closely watch the road surface when wearing dark lens so I usually stick to clear lens
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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby Mick F » 24 Sep 2009, 2:50pm

I have a "pair" of glasses with interchangeable lenses. Clear, Yellow, Pale Blue, Dark Blue. There was some info about each set and what light-level to wear them with. Pointless really, if I wear them at all, it'll be with the Dark Blue lenses. I've never needed or thought about any of the others since I bought the set.

I need dark glasses when the light-level is high. Driving without dark glasses is purgatory for me, let alone just being outside in sunshine.

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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby cycleruk » 24 Sep 2009, 3:14pm

I can guarantee that if I don't wear some form of eye protection I will get a bug (usually greenfly) in my eye. Also, twice now, I have had stones flicked up, one by car, and only last week one from the cycle in front, where the stone hit the glasses.
I wonder sometimes though about riders who wear dark glasses even when it raining. :shock:
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Re: Why do cyclists wear dark glasses?

Postby Snakes » 24 Sep 2009, 3:26pm

My sun glasses are with me all year round due to grit and bugs moistly, but also to protect from the sun on particularly bright days. A bug in the eye's never a pleasent experience, and I shouldn't have thought the bugs enjoy it that much either! I guess the grit side of things possibly applies more so to those riding off-road due to the fact that many off-roaders ride without mudguards.