Monday, February 18, 2013

No More Tears: Clear Glasses for Winter

Winter Goggles
One of my biggest problems cycling in the winter used to be my eyes tearing up. It would get so bad, that the constant flow of tears would blur my vision, making it hard to see where I was going. But like many cyclists, I soon found the solution: clear glasses or goggles.

On moderately cold and windy days, I wear simple resin glasses that I am very happy with. They are unbranded, so I don't have an online source to refer you to, but many bike shops around here sell them at the counter. I bought mine from the Wheelworks, for around $20. What I like about these particular glasses is how comfortable they are, even on long rides. They sit sturdy, but are lightweight and don't press into my face or temples. The lenses are durable and the clarity is good.  

On particularly freezing days with harsh winds, I wear these wrap-around safety glasses from MSA. They cost only $4 and perform double duty as shop safety glasses for framebuilding. The MSA glasses are wonderful for creating a seal from the cold, keeping my eyes warm and dry and the sensitive skin around them protected. An additional benefit for those who wear prescription glasses, is that these can be worn over them. The downside is that they are on the heavy side, and if I wear them for too long they give me a headache - so watch out, if you have issues with that. But for short rides they are excellent, and on days that are cold enough to necessitate them my rides are on the short side anyway.

If you prefer the high-end route, I've tried and really liked the clear version of the new Lazer Argon glasses. These are in the $80-90 range and come with interchangeable lenses, which can be replaced with tinted ones. Oakley, Rudy Project, and most other athletic sunglass manufacturers also make clear or photochromic versions of many models.  

While some cyclists like to wear goggles, I am not a fan: They snag my hair and don't seem to stay put as well as regular glasses if I wear them on the bike. I find that the MSA safety glasses provide the same coverage but with less fuss.

There are many inexpensive options out there for clear goggles and glasses, so try a few and see what works. And if you need more coverage? Well, a few days ago I saw a man cycling with a clear face shield. Perhaps a new fashion trend in winter cycling. 

41 comments:

  1. I rather like the Tifosi Fototec (photochromic) line for the same purpose you describe. Fairly inexpensive (about $70)and come in various sizes and styles.

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    1. I've borrowed the Tifosi clear glasses and they reliably give me a headache. It's actually pretty hard for me to find glasses that don't, so I'm ecstatic the <$20 no brand ones are fine. The YMMV factor is high with these things.

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    2. What do you think it is about these glasses that's giving you the headache?

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    3. I would guess that it is any tension the frame might put on your head. I'm like that, if the arms press too much into the sides of my head it gets achy awfully quick.

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    4. I get headaches very easily from any kind of pressure on my head, even hair bands and tight hats. So if the glasses are constricting in any way or "sit heavy," that's what gives me a headache. The shape of my face makes it difficult to find glasses that are not any of these things. I have a fairly wide face, with protruding cheekbones and a prominent nose bridge, so something is always pressing on something. The worst is when the ear pieces squeeze my temples or sit heavy over my ears - instant headache. But if the nosepiece rests too hard on my nosebridge or the lenses on my cheekbones, that will do it too. My best bet is glasses that are wide and as light as possible, so that is what I now know to look for. All that said, this is only an issue if you get headaches as easy as I do and have a similar facial structure.

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  2. just wear 10 dollar hipster glasses from urban outfitters.

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  3. Hey, you look just like Lisa Loeb in those photos!

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  4. two things bother me in winter. tearing up and glare from the low sun reflecting off everything. good glasses are the solution.

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  5. I like safety glasses from Woodcraft (clear, yellow or dark) for $6.99.

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    1. This! DeWalt safety glasses, as far as I can tell, are identical to clear cycling glasses, and only cost $7-10 dollars.

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  6. I've been eyeing (ha ha) the selection over at zennioptical.com. $25-$30 isn't bad for prescription "goggles" (which really look more like sports glasses that goggles to me.)

    But I have a question for any presbyopic cyclists out there... I haven't yet bit the bullet to get bi-focals, but the day is not far off... I'm wondering if it's best to ride with bi-focals so you can see the computer clearly, or if it's better to just get distance glasses. Anybody have any thoughts?

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    1. For EcoCatLady: I wear prescription glasses and contact lenses (with sunnies). I tried some bi-focals a while back but couldn't get used to the change in magnification when I checked behind me - made me feel dizzy. Your optician may be able to lend you a trial pair but for me it now means 2 pairs of glasses.

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    2. I have bi-focal cycling glasses and they are great providing you get the reading portion set really low. If you are touring being able to read a map, cue sheet or menu is essential, commuting less so although there is always that #@!!% phone that might draw your attention. Other than getting the reading portion in the right place I have also found that I am cheap and a light tint that can work year round fits my budget better than having two sets of lenses. Then again I am in the Northwest where rain is our biggest issue, not glaring sun.

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  7. Who has a small face and cheap clear lenses with frames? The Mrs. inquires.

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    1. Jim, Check out the Serfas Force 5. Good for small faces, 5 sets of lenses, clear included. Nice carrying case. too. And usually under $50. Lots of replacement parts available.
      I'm really happy with mine.

      For cheap cheap, the ones V is wearing in the top picture look like they'd do a good job ( if I remember properly what Mrs. GRJ's facial shape is like.)

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    2. Thanks C, we can get replacement lenses for her Smiths for 40 clams but thinking like <10.

      Doubt she and v have similar face sizes... unless v shops in the kids' optometric section.

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    3. No, sorry - big face here.

      I remember pedalstrike writing blog posts about her search for small-face glasses, but I think she settled on something expensive.

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  8. I'm partial to yellow lenses on gloomy winter days. They elevate the mood!

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    1. I do not get depressed by overcast days, but I'm curious to try yellow/amber lenses. It would be like riding around with a warming photo filter.

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    2. Increases contrast on grey days. Wear them all the time.

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  9. But the goggles are so retro! Especially when accessorized with a bandolier-ed inner tube!

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    1. Yeah, I would not mind some lovely steampunk goggles. Alas, comfort takes precedence.

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  10. I'm with you on the goggles - many friends wear them, but they seem overkill to me. I wear basic safety glasses that look similar to the ones you're wearing in the picture. They are all clear plastic and have no frame at all, making them less noticeable.

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  11. I've been wearing the $10 (or so) shop glasses for years now. The clear ones in the shop, or the sunglass version for riding and driving... the best part is that I can get 'em in bifocal versions, just order your magnification from any number of shop catalogs.
    Since they're shop glasses, the bifocal portion is sufficiently low in my field of vision that they don't inhibit the view. And, they make changing a flat, etc. easier!

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  12. I have never been a fan of goggles: When I've used them, they seemed to fog almost as soon as I put them on.

    My eyes tear in cold weather, and I've found that I can only minimize that. That means wraparound sport glasses that cover as much as possible without being goggles. None are perfect, but a few are good. Right now, I'm using a pair of Optic Nerve glasses with interchangeable lenses. I paid about 40 dollars for them, and they're comfortable on longer rides.

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  13. Velouria, do you wear contact lenses?

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    1. I do not; I've always had perfect vision until recently. But I will probably start wearing glasses soon.

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  14. Perhaps not quite as "pro" as the Lazer Argon glasses, but for $35 you can get Remington brand glasses with 5 interchangeable lenses.

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  15. Good move. Oakley's do have a nice clear lense. I have the clear and photochromic interchangeable lenses and my wife who has an optics prescription has two pairs of prescription Oakleys one clear and one photochromic. They are a great solution for her, if expensive.

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  16. When it gets below 10 degrees, I find my self wearing an inexpensive pair of ski goggles with amber lenses. While not clear, they cut glare when I ride in to work, and if it is still that cold on the way home (which is rare), the light from my dynamo is enough to offset the minimal amount of coloration present in the lens.

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  17. I like MSA Safety Works 10021259 Straight Temple Safety Glasses. They are $8 and look a little less blocky, have good fog preventive coating,no blocking of peripheral vision and are cheap.

    http://www.amazon.com/MSA-Safety-Works-10021259-Straight/dp/B00009363J/

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  18. Living here in the Northwest, and cycling to work pretty much year-around, I've found moderately-priced photochromatic eyeware from OpticNerve, to work really well. They darken fairly well during the day, and fade to a very light tan when riding at night, allowing for good night vision (with a good dyno headlight) and reduce glare from approaching cars. Any LBS that buys from Quality Bicycle Products can get these. On the cheap side, I've got some clear lexan glasses I use for chainsawing, that work great, but look a bit dorky. They were maybe $5.

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  19. saw this today and it is sort of related: gas mask bike in Beijing...

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  20. How do you (plural) keep glasses from fogging in cold weather? I gave up glasses after years of almost instant fogging as soon as I came to a stop -- right at intersections, the most dangerous part of cycling. And this is in a dry, high desert climate. (In summer, sweat would smear the lenses -- almost as bad.)

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    1. Soap. or paste wax. Anything that leaves an ester (waxy) build up on the lens works. Floor wax if it doesn't leave a foggy residue (check on a window or mirror. If it fogs or streaks, clean it with windex and don't use it.
      Another factor is ventilation. Pull them away from your face when you come to a stop. Especially in dry weather, any fog clears up immediately.
      Plastic doesn't fog as easily as glass.
      Google condensation and see how it works.
      I wear glasses AND goggles when skiing in snowy or even rainy weather. THAT's a recipe for foggy build up. Double jeopardy.

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  21. bolle safety glasses work very well and many models look good.

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  22. Why does no one make an affordable version of the Gucci Bianca Helmet? After seeing one in Paris I looked for about a year before finding it was a Gucci and realizing I would never have one.

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    1. Not exactly cheap, but there are things like this...

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    2. are these for track racing?

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  23. Osbe ski helmets have an integrated visor. Ski helmets have insulation built in for your ears, too. Of course if you are opposed to the whole idea then you can wear shooting glasses.

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  24. +1 for bolle saftey specs these are tested and certified for proper eye protection

    clear for winter

    http://www.screwfix.com/p/bolle-silium-clear-lens-safety-specs/89679?cm_sp=Search-_-SearchRec-_-Area3&_requestid=512260

    and tint for the summer

    http://www.screwfix.com/p/bolle-eyewear-silium-smoke-lens-safety-specs/89563

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