Riding a bike is one of the most freeing activities you can do. However, the sun’s glare can quickly dampen your cycling enjoyment. Squinting against bright sunlight not only causes eye strain but also reduces your vision, making it difficult to see the road ahead. This is where polarized cycling sunglasses can make a huge difference. It can enable you feel the wind in your hair as you cruise down an open road or trail is an exhilarating experience.
Benefits of Using Polarized Cycling Sunglasses
Polarized lenses drastically cut down on sun glare, allowing you to see more clearly. Unlike regular tinted lenses that simply darken everything, polarized lenses use a special filter that blocks intense reflected light. This reflected glare comes from horizontal surfaces like water, pavement, and glass. By filtering out the horizontally polarized light, polarized cycling sunglasses give your eyes a break from blinding reflections. You’ll be able to distinguish objects and terrain details that would normally be obscured by glare.
In addition to cutting glare, polarized lenses also enhance contrast and color definition. This improved visual clarity is invaluable when mountain biking on trails. You’ll be able to spot rocks, roots, and changes in terrain much quicker. Road cycling also benefits from the enhanced contrast provided by polarized lenses. You can more easily see cracks and debris in the road so you can steer around potential hazards.
Most cyclists know it’s crucial to protect your eyes from UV exposure. What many don’t realize is that intensely reflected sunlight contains a high concentration of UV rays. By dramatically reducing glare, polarized cycling sunglasses help shield your eyes from an onslaught of UV radiation. This minimizes the risk of various eye problems including cataracts, macular degeneration, and melanoma of the eye.
When shopping for polarized cycling sunglasses, look for lenses that offer 100% UVA/UVB protection. Also make sure the frames have a curved wrap design. Wrap-around sunglasses block sun from sneaking in around the edges. For even more protection, look for glasses treated with a hydrophobic coating to repel rain, sweat, and dirt.
You’ll also want to consider lens tint when choosing polarized shades. Gray lenses are ideal for low light cycling like foggy or overcast days. Brown and amber tints enhance contrast and depth perception in changeable conditions. Green and violet hues boost visibility in moderate light. For very bright sunny days, darker gray or black lenses offer the best glare reduction.
Getting used to wearing shades while cycling may take some time.
Here are a few tips for making the transition:
Start by wearing your new polarized cycling sunglasses on shorter rides before trying them on long hauls. This allows your eyes to adjust to the changed vision.
Make sure the lenses are properly clean before each ride. Dirt, smudges, or haze on the lenses can distort vision.
Pay attention to how the lenses change your perception of curbs, potholes, and other road/trail features. Note if Judgment of distance is affected.
Experiment with lenses of different hues and darkness to find the best tint for varying light conditions. Interchangeable lens shades allow for easy tint swapping.
Look for sunglasses specifically designed for sports like cycling that give full coverage with a contoured, non-slip fit. This prevents annoying bouncing and slippage.
Consider a model with rubber nose pads that conform to your nose bridge. This reduces pressure points that can get uncomfortable on long rides.
Once you get used to them, polarized cycling sunglasses will become an integral part of your riding gear. They allow you to ride in comfort while clearly seeing the road or trail ahead. You’ll be able to cycle for longer distances and times without squinting and eye fatigue. Investing in a quality pair of polarized shades is one of the best things you can do to enhance your cycling experience. You’ll gain much more enjoyment from every ride when your eyes are protected from sun glare.