Sunglasses: An often overlooked essential!

Are you forgetting something?

When you think about getting ready for a ride, there are a few essentials many of us think about: cycling kit, socks, shoes, our GPS of course, and sometimes even music. Unfortunately, there is another important element that we often neglect… sunglasses.

When it comes to the sun, we often think about protecting our skin from UV rays with sunscreen and hats, but we forget that our eyes are susceptible to UV ray exposure too. In addition to harmful UV, while cycling we are exposed to flying debris, bugs and even just the force of air pressure, which can all be detrimental to your eyes.

What to look for in sunglasses

– UV Rating: As per Australian standards, all sunglasses here will have a UV rating listed as a category 0-4 on their tag. Category 0 and 1 are really just fashion sunglasses and provide very limited UV protection, so you should look for a category 2 or 3, especially if you live in a region of high UV exposure such as here in Queensland, Australia. Category 2 is a medium level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection, and a category 3 will provide a good level of UV protection and a high level of sun glare reduction. There is a category 4, but this is generally a specifically designed level of protection that will give a very high level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection, and can’t be used while driving. For more information on eye protection and Australian standards relating to sunglasses, take a look at this eye protection fact sheet from the Cancer Council Australia.

– Lightweight: We always want lightweight everything. When it comes to glasses, this is even more important as you want something that feels like you are not wearing anything at all.

– Fits your face: Look for something adjustable that fits your face shape. If you have a long face, don’t get narrow sunglasses. Likewise, if you have a round face, don’t get anything that is circular in shape.

– Fits your helmet straps and ears. Some glasses just don’t fit well with a helmet on. Look for glasses that are specifically designed for cycling. Running sunglasses often have a gap underneath, near your cheeks – a big no-no for cycling.

– Relating to the above, make sure your sunglasses are deep enough to wrap and cover your entire eye. Ideally, you want it to extend well below your eyes and to be as close to your cheeks as possible. The less gap you have the better protected your eyes will be.

Lastly, when it comes to wearing glasses, is there a correct way to wear them? Are you an over- or under-the-helmet-straps type of person? Here’s my take: if you happen to be involved in an accident, you want your glasses to come off easily and not leave any potential for them to be broken too close to your eyes… right? This is the reason I choose to wear mine over the straps, not under.

At Pushys there is a range of cycling-specific sunglasses that will help protect your eyes from the elements. You only have one set of eyes, so make sure you invest in them accordingly.

By Ricky Swindale – Pushys Sponsored Athlete

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