i've been wearing spectacles since i was in my first year of secondary school. i might qualify that statement by pointing out that, so afraid was i that i'd have fun poked at me for so doing, that i scarcely wore them in the class until midway through my third year. that did not do anything to improve my eyesight in the meantime. when i made it as far as art college, the use of so-called northern light to aid our colour perception had occasion to give me headaches. this was a situation that continued when i worked for one of the nation's premier car rental companies; the under-counter striplighting saw to that.
it turned out that having a graded tint on my lenses pretty much resolved the problem, a situation i wished i had been aware of several years previously. however, though the tint kept artificial light at bay, it was scarcely up to handling hours and hours of sunlight. that problem was resolved by living on the west coast of scotland where sunlight barely penetrates (a little scottish humour there).
in the latter part of the 21st century's first decade, i signed up to ride hot chillee's london-paris ride; paris france, where the sun shines all year round and the intrepid cyclist has need of proper cycling sunglasses. as i pointed out above, i wear prescription lenses and thus had to order cycling glasses with a prescription insert that sits just behind the curved and tinted polycarbonate lenses which the world saw as i breezed by on my way to france's capital city. this pair of glasses served me well for several years, before being upgraded only a few years past.
the range of cycling glasses available for those with less than 20/20 vision is, i'll admit, reasonably impressive (as are some of the prices), but not a patch on the plethora available to those possessed of pin sharp vision. while several models from the higher profile manufacturers can cost as much as some folks would consider expensive for a bicycle, there are also lower cost options, every bit as stylish, every bit as practical but at far lower cost. such an animal is the rather oddly named hastings range from oxford uk based sunwise, a british eyewear brand first established in 1996. the hastings edition, retailing at a wallet-friendly £95 provides not only anti-fogging properties but arrives fitted with chromafusion 2.0 light-reacting lenses.
the more perceptive amongst you, however, will have already foreseen a glitch in my cunning plan; the hastings glasses do not support prescription eyewear.
never wishing to fall at the first hurdle, i had already taken this situation into consideration, enlisting the services of a velo club member blessed with better eyesight than yours truly. this situation just gets better and better, for sunday peloton member grahame had just set his sights on a weekend tour around the roads of the isle of arran. this island has often been referred to as scotland in miniature.
according to grahame "Previously IÕve always had sunglasses with interchangeable lenses until I was offered the Sunwise to try. he makes a good point; my original cycling glasses had three sets of interhcangeable lenses, wear on which eventually necessitated their upgrading. eventually, clicking plastic lenses in and out to cope with ever-changing weather conditions (it rained the first year i rode to paris), caused wear that prevented those selfsame lenses from safely remaining in place. photochromic lenses more or less dispense with the need for continual lens swapping. graham also pointed out, "The glasses are frameless with wrap-around lenses and look great (even on the dog), offering a range of frame colours to suit most of the pelotonese."
like me, grahame's previous pair of cycling glasses featured interchangeable lenses, but "the photochromic lenses tint and darken in different lighting conditions, thus there's no need to change lenses half way through a ride! (Brilliant)."
that said, if you're wearing glasses hour after hour and day after day while riding a bike, no matter how efficacious their sun protection, they might as well stay in the case if they turn out to be less than comfortable. the sunwise hastings, however are, according to my stunt double "lightweight and comfortable to wear although the nose piece initially felt slightly sticky. but this disappeared after my first bike ride. They offered a very secure fit, but without any undue pressure behind my ears, something previous glasses have failed to achieve."
though grahame's brief sortie to one of the innermost of scotland's western isles was a tad more exertive than he'd been led to believe, it was a good shakedown for the recently acquired touring bicycle and its attendant panniers and tent. cyclist and bicycle survived pretty much intact. and the specs? "Overall superb glasses no matter the weather."
no animals were harmed in the photographing of this feature
sunwise hastings chromafusion cycling glasses retail at £95 per pair. a protective case costs another £4.
wednesday 27 may 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................