It is not necessary to wear cycling glasses to ride a bicycle; millions of people ride bicycles every year without a thought to cycling glasses. However, there are numerous safety benefits to wearing cycling glasses that should be considered, even if you ultimately decide wearing such glasses is not for you. This guide will inform you of the potential benefits of wearing cycling glasses, and you can decide for yourself if the benefits of wearing them are enough to set you on looking for your own pair.
Cyclists who do not wear glasses may perceive cyclists who do wear cycling glasses as fashion mavens, but this is not the case. Cycling glasses are often worn to keep debris such as dust and dirt out of the eyes when riding. Some cycling glass frames are of the wrap around design; this design is for keeping the wind out of the eyes of the rider. Wind in the eyes contributes to tears, which makes it difficult to see. Alternatively, some people may not cry, but may develop dry eyes. Contact lens wearers are particularly prone to suffering from dry eyes when riding bicycles. Cycling glasses, therefore, offer a protective advantage to wearers against dust, dirt, and the wind.
Another reason cycling glasses may be worn involves the tint that cycling glasses often carry in the lens. Tinted lenses are commonly available in yellow or amber or green. Again, these are not worn for fashion, but for lighting conditions. Wearing differently tinted lenses under different light conditions may allow riders better vision during rides.
When it is very sunny outside, dark gray lenses are more likely to be employed, as they are designed to block out large amounts of light, yet not prevent the rider from being able to see the road. Amber and brown lenses may also be used under these conditions, as they can help increase the contrast of the cyclist’s surroundings. Increasing the contrast increases safety in other ways too, such as allowing riders to see obstructions in the road, including animals, debris, or potholes. The alternative to wearing cycling glasses in overly bright conditions, squinting, is not nearly as effective or reliable, and as a bicycle has two wheels, it only takes one disoriented wheel to result in a crash, which can potentially damage both bike and body.
However, cycling glasses are not only used in very sunny conditions; they may also be used on overcast days. In such situations, yellow lenses may be worn because of their glare-reducing properties. The risk of glare is particularly strong on days with broken cloud layers, as the sun may continually hide and reappear throughout the day. With a yellow lens, the road can be seen clearly and glare can be reduced. Green lenses are also favored when riding in conditions that alternate between bright and overcast weather. Green also has the advantage of assisting with depth perception, and is a suitable choice for all around riding conditions.
Photochromatic lenses also exist; these lenses are the kind that have light-sensitive coatings that can actually adjust when the levels of light around the rider change. As a result, they will become darker in bright sunlight, and resemble normal sunglasses, while they can become lighter in environments with less light, allowing more light into the wearer’s eyes. These are typically more expensive cycling glasses.
In conclusion, while it is not necessary to wear cycling glasses, it is not surprising that frequent road cyclists choose to wear them when riding. It is not uncommon for frequent road cyclists to own multiple pairs of cycling glasses, whether to help them adapt to different conditions, or simply due to comfort factors, or the security of owning a backup. Whatever your decision, keep safety in mind when riding, and don’t be afraid to try on a pair of cycling glasses if you think you might find them useful.