The ghosts of the past, the memories of rides and riders, reveal themselves in interesting ways.  The other day i got an email from my stepson Andrew.  He was forwarding and commenting on a blogger’s praise of ex-pro Davis Phinney, who rode for the 7 Eleven team back in the early 1980s, when Americans first joined the international peloton in Europe for the big races.  The comment was that Phinney was a stud, but his Bolle shades were “lame.”  Andrew remembered glasses like that; we have a photo of him in 7 Eleven kit (no glasses on), trying his best to emulate the stars who were his heroes:

the cycling shades back then were kew-ew-ewl!!  I loved my Rudy Projects, later my huge iridescent Bolle’s — these were seriously among my most prized possessions as a teen.

Soon his brother Matt chimed in, naming his old favorite shades, lost in the shadows of time:

I do remember my first (two pairs of Oakley Factory Pilots)….my white one with the wrap-around ear holders, and the foam browpad to absorb the sweat, and then my red ones….definitely cool (for cycling) at the time.  My blades (can’t remember if they were razor blades or not), were the best pair of cycling shades I have ever had….light, stayed comfortably on my face in all positions, had the metallic coloring…..Oakley had it going on even back then. I would still wear them today, if I had them.

I seconded the emotion, responding “As an innocent bystander to the issue of shades of the ’80s, I can say that there’s nothing more pointless than criticizing the styles of earlier eras.  Much as I love this posting’s affection for the spirit of the times and the studliness of the young Davis Phinney, to his smugness about sunglass styles I say “Phooey!”  As if his currently cool shades will be the epitome of sunshade design until the end of time.  Right on, Andrew!  Right on, Matt!  Every pair of shades that reminds you of good times riding your bikes or watching bike racing is “kew-ew-ewl” forever.”

That proclaimed, I will add that the blog itself is really great, with lots of avid readers commenting on that wonderful era of Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter (vs. Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow), Bob Roll (vs. Floyd Landis), steel frames (vs. carbon fiber), and pre-race coffee (vs. EPO).  It’s Velominati: Keepers of the Cog, at:

So great to know there are so many fans out there who can have a dialogue that does not descend into vituperation and/or inanity.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2010

1 thought on “Shades

  1. For the record, it was Matt with the 7-Eleven garb. I generally rocked the System U jersey with my white-framed wraparound rudy projects.

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