As a wearer of eyeglasses as long as I can remember (I think I got my first pair to correct severe nearsightedness at about 5 years old) I can’t even imagine what it must be like to open my eyes first thing in the morning and just see stuff. First I have to fumble around the nightstand among my watch, a book or two, maybe a juice glass, and a couple of TV remotes just to find my glasses, and then I have to put them on. Sunglasses are a lesser, but also serious, aggravation. I have always envied those who can just walk into a store to the display rack, pick out a pair of cool shades, and create instant fashion and eye protection. Not me–mine all have to be clip-ons or prescription ground, and with my eyesight that means a certain awkward thickness of lens. My daughter-in-law Angie, however, has worked successfully to bring me into the world of vision fashion and functionality. I now have prescription swim goggles, which have transformed my aquatic experiences, especially in ocean surf. And several years back she coached me through the purchase of sport sunglasses for my cycling.
Consequently I’m the proud owner of some Rudy Project cycling shades with interchangeable lenses. Thanks in part to a manufacturer’s special sale, I now have five sets of lenses and two frames. The lenses are not only different colors, but block the light differently. They range from the yellow ones, which block about 17% of it, to the black ones that block over 80%. The Race Red ones block a little less, and the golden and blue lenses are almost as dark as the black ones in light blockage. The last two have that “mirror” effect, so they look pretty techno. The effects of the lenses are quite distinctive. The yellow ones actually make the landscape look brighter than it is on a cloudy day. The black ones are great for low-angle slanting sun like we get in the winter. The prescription lenses, which allow me to switch off among the colors, clip onto the frames behind the wrap-around colored lenses.
My problem is figuring out which ones to wear on which day. Riding in the morning as I do this time of year, I can’t always predict whether the clouds I see when I check the sky are going to burn off, hang around, or thicken into showers. Today both the view out the window and the weather forecast shouted out “cloudy!” So I decided go with my alternate eyewear, an old pair of regular bifocal glasses that I got in the ’80s when the big “aviator” look was still cool. Truth be told, I can see somewhat better with these because they cover my peripheral vision better and because they are bifocals. Thus a glance down at my bike computer gives me more in-focus data, and there’s no double-vision when I glance to the side. And because of the way they sit on my face, they don’t get drenched with sweat as easily as the Rudys do.
But of course there’s no sun protection either, and of course on today’s ride the sun came out about 5 minutes after I left. And promptly went away again about 1:22:45 later, as I finished my 22 mile ride. Mom always called such phenomena “the natural perversity of things inanimate.” How right she was! I’ll have to say that today’s ride was ultra-sweaty, and my vision stayed clear. When I’m wearing the sunglasses I simply plan to stop a time or two to clean them off, rehydrate, and rest a bit–probably not a bad thing in itself. And I’d have been happier to have the protection from brightness and glare. It makes a difference over the course of a ride.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.