Sunglasses and Why You Need Them

Optilabs SunglassesSunglasses are one of those things we can’t imagine bike touring without.

Before we started cycling, we hardly ever wore sunglasses and didn’t realise how much we would come to love them. Now, our prescription sunglasses from UK-based Optilabs are one of our most treasured possessions, right up there along with the bikes themselves.

Here’s why we love our sunglasses so much:

  • Sunglasses protect our eyes against damaging UV rays.
  • They cut the light down to a tolerable level, so we’re not squinting when riding into the sun.
  • Debris like dust, dirt and even bugs that come flying through the air don’t get in our eyes.
  • On a cold day, sunglasses protect against the wind. Without them, the cold wind makes our eyes water.
  • Our vision improves with sunglasses. We don’t understand why, but we can see much more clearly in our rear view mirrors, for example, with sunglasses than with our regular glasses. Maybe it has to do with cutting the light on a sunny day down to a more tolerable level?Andrew in his Optilabs glasses

When you’re shopping for sunglasses, get a pair that are made for cycling. This means they should:

  • Wrap around your face to make it almost impossible for road grit and UV to reach your eyes, even from the side. Wraparound lenses are also more aerodynamic.
  • Fit snuggly, so the glasses will stay put, even on bumpy roads.
  • Be extra durable and resistant to cracking when dropped or bumped.

Lens Construction…

Interchangable Lens – Some sunglasses have a non-prescription outside lens and a prescription insert that sits just behind the exterior lens. You can get several lenses so you can change the tint of the shades. You can also remove the prescription lens altogether if you want to wear contacts. Some people report problems with fogging in wet weather with this type of lens but they are helpful if you plan to ride in a wide variety of conditions and light levels.

Single Lens – The option we prefer is a single prescription lens. This tends to be more expensive because of the difficulty in manufacturing a curved lens to fit the sport sunglass frame but the quality of the glass is very high and you aren’t carrying around extra lenses. Since we always aim to cycle during the day and stop well before dusk, we rarely have a problem with our sunglasses being too dark for the available light levels.

Lens Material…

Lenses can be made of glass or acrylic but polycarbonate is the better option. Polycarbonate is excellent at resisting impacts, is lightweight and the quality of the optics is also high. Glass, by contrast, is heavy and breaks relatively easily, while acrylic lenses aren’t durable and the optic quality is also dubious.

That said, if you do any amount of bike touring, chances are you’re going to drop your sunglasses occasionally. The constant barrage of dirt and rocks will also take a toll and no matter how well you look after your glasses or what material they’re made of, you’ll eventually have to replace them. In our experience, this is after 18-24 months of daily use.

We both cycle in glasses from UK-based Optilabs. Andrew has done so since we began bike touring in 2006 (he bought a pair of glasses from Optilabs at the start of our trip). Friedel began with Oakleys but swapped to Optilabs after about 18 months.

From Friedel’s perspective, the quality of the Optilabs glasses is as good as the Oakleys but Optilabs are cheaper and they have great customer service. We never got a reply from Oakley when Friedel had a question about the lenses, while Optilabs has always replied instantly to our queries.

Purchasing the glasses from Optilabs is easy. Everything is done online so all you need to do is enter your prescription details. At first this was a bit concerning since we’ve always purchased glasses directly from the optician but Optilabs are the only online company we found with a full money-back guarantee. If you get the glasses and don’t like them, it’s no problem to return them within the first week.

When you’re shopping around, you can also research other popular brands. Some of the more common sunglasses cyclists wear are Rudy Project, Oakley, Adidas and Bolle.

Aside from Oakley (see our notes above), we have no direct experience of brands other than Optilabs, so it’s hard for us to judge their quality.

*Disclosure: We bought our first 2 pairs of glasses from Optilabs as normal customers. They started sponsoring us halfway through our world trip. They provide us with free sunglasses.


  1. Callum Walls
    26th January 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    With so many colours of lenses to choose from it can be daunting to ensure that you pick the correct colour of lense to suit your needs.

    With varying lighting conditions in the UK this can be quite tricky and you dont want to carry multiple lenses to cover every situation.

    I find that a red tint works most effectively. It ensures that in early morning when light is low, the red pigment will brighten the outlook but come midday when the sun is at its highest it still copes well without the need to change to a darker lense. Yellow had always been the favourite for early morning but is rendered useless come the middle of the day forcing you to change lenses.

    However, in saying that I prefer to ride in clear lenses. on the every odd occasion that it is sunny will I ever change them out. Degregated lenses offer a tinted section at the very top of the lense which catches your peripheral vision and offers that extra protection.

    Then of course you get your photochromatic lenses more commonly reffered to as transition lenses. These will change colour depending on the amount of light. Most will change gradually giving your eyes time to adjust, this is all well and good but if you were to cycle from open space into a covered area such as lines of trees, this change doesnt happen quickly enough. These really aren’t suitable for mountain biking but on longer road rides they can be of some advantage.

    Have a look at Rudy project glasses. An Italian manufacturer of sports sunglasses. They offer about 25 lenses for various conditions and multiple frames from wire frame to wrap-around designs as well as a small selection of casual models.
    Specifically the Rudy Rydon range is comfortable and affordable with every lense option available. expect to pay about 65.00 GBP upwards (approx 100.00 USD). The legs and nose piece are also adjustable to suit every face shape. Inserts are available for spectacle wearers too which sits snuggle behind the lenses. Your optition can also make the lenses to suit a prescription (although this is very expensive)
    If you are feeling flush the Rudy Project Ketyuum are sooo comfortable but at over $200 you need to be a dedicated cyclist. A mix of titanium and carbon and super light!

    Rudy Project also offer a scratch replacement scheme where if you have scratched your lenses so much that they are un-useable they will replace free of charge (Or they certainly used to, anyway)

    Specialized also make some great sunglasses for cyclists, comfortable, light and very well priced. I have used the Specialized Singletracks in the past for mountain biking and they work very well for me. These aren’t adjustable, though. The benifit form buying Specialized goods is that hey are designed specifically for cycling and have been extensively tested.

    A little tip as well for glasses. Smear a little neat washing up liquid on to the back of the lense ensure a thin layer all over and let it dry. It will dry clear and will stop the lense from fogging up when you are stationary. Repeat every few weeks or so.


  2. supreme hoodie
    9th March 2022 at 11:48 am #

    I truly wanted to post a note so as to express gratitude to you for these pleasant steps you are placing at this site. My rather long internet research has at the end of the day been compensated with reputable facts and techniques to go over with my great friends. I ‘d mention that we visitors actually are rather blessed to be in a fantastic community with so many marvellous people with valuable principles. I feel somewhat blessed to have seen your entire web site and look forward to many more thrilling moments reading here. Thank you again for everything.

  3. curry 8
    9th March 2022 at 11:50 am #

    Thanks for your own labor on this site. My daughter take interest in setting aside time for investigation and it’s really easy to see why. A number of us learn all regarding the powerful medium you create efficient tips by means of the web site and cause participation from the others on this subject so our favorite girl is being taught a whole lot. Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year. Your carrying out a useful job.

  4. Warner
    12th April 2022 at 6:48 am #

    What qualifications have you got? carbamazepine pronunciation dictionary There are a couple of problems with this theory, starting with the fact that Republicans don’t have enough senators to pass a bill defunding the Affordable Care Act. They could shut down the government instead, but that also wouldn’t stop Obamacare, which is mostly funded through mandatory spending. Also, the idea that the president would willingly dismantle his signature legislative achievement weeks or months before it is fully implemented is absurd – especially in the face of a government shutdown that, most political observers in both parties agree, would redound to his political benefit.

  5. hot shot bald cop
    26th April 2022 at 4:58 am #

    Why is it I always really feel like you do?

  6. bape sta
    9th July 2022 at 8:10 pm #

    I simply had to say thanks again. I’m not certain the things that I would’ve achieved in the absence of the entire hints discussed by you regarding that theme. Entirely was a real fearsome concern in my opinion, nevertheless spending time with a new skilled strategy you handled that forced me to leap for fulfillment. I will be happier for this service and as well , wish you know what a great job you were getting into training the others thru a site. I know that you have never met any of us.

  7. ggdb
    9th July 2022 at 8:16 pm #

    I would like to show my love for your generosity giving support to men and women that actually need guidance on the area. Your personal commitment to getting the solution up and down appears to be rather significant and has always empowered professionals much like me to attain their objectives. Your valuable guide means so much to me and additionally to my peers. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.

  8. cheap kd 12
    9th July 2022 at 8:21 pm #

    I needed to post you the little note so as to thank you so much the moment again for all the nice methods you’ve documented on this page. It is certainly generous of you giving without restraint all most of us would have distributed as an e-book in making some profit for themselves, chiefly now that you might have done it if you ever desired. These guidelines additionally worked to be the great way to be certain that some people have a similar keenness much like mine to know the truth a little more in terms of this matter. Certainly there are numerous more enjoyable situations in the future for people who view your site.

  9. cheap paul george shoes
    17th July 2022 at 10:50 pm #

    Thank you for each of your effort on this site. Gloria really likes setting aside time for investigation and it’s really easy to see why. We know all of the dynamic means you render vital thoughts by means of your blog and even recommend contribution from some others on that topic then our girl is truly becoming educated a lot. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You are performing a good job.

  10. supreme
    17th July 2022 at 10:51 pm #

    I am just commenting to let you understand what a exceptional discovery my friend’s princess undergone using yuor web blog. She noticed too many details, including how it is like to have an amazing teaching style to let other people without difficulty gain knowledge of selected problematic subject matter. You really did more than our expected results. Thank you for producing the practical, dependable, educational as well as easy tips about the topic to Lizeth.

  11. kyrie irving shoes
    17th July 2022 at 10:51 pm #

    I must show my love for your kindness giving support to persons who have the need for guidance on the study. Your real dedication to getting the message throughout appeared to be extraordinarily helpful and have truly allowed professionals like me to attain their endeavors. Your amazing helpful useful information indicates much a person like me and a whole lot more to my colleagues. Regards; from everyone of us.

  12. golden goose sneakers
    3rd August 2022 at 12:57 pm #

    I want to express my respect for your kind-heartedness in support of women who absolutely need guidance on this particular field. Your personal dedication to getting the solution up and down became exceptionally insightful and has constantly empowered ladies just like me to attain their objectives. Your own insightful help and advice can mean this much to me and further more to my peers. With thanks; from everyone of us.

  13. curry shoes
    3rd August 2022 at 12:57 pm #

    I really wanted to write down a simple note to be able to appreciate you for all the magnificent tips and tricks you are posting at this site. My rather long internet search has at the end been recognized with reputable information to share with my pals. I would mention that we visitors actually are undoubtedly endowed to live in a perfect community with so many awesome individuals with useful concepts. I feel rather privileged to have come across the web pages and look forward to so many more cool minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once again for everything.

  14. golden goose
    9th August 2022 at 4:37 am #

    I simply had to say thanks yet again. I am not sure the things I could possibly have worked on in the absence of the actual creative ideas contributed by you on such area. It had been a very hard issue in my position, but noticing a skilled mode you managed it forced me to weep with gladness. I’m happier for the advice as well as pray you recognize what a great job you are putting in educating many others using your webpage. I am sure you haven’t met all of us.

  15. supreme new york
    9th August 2022 at 4:38 am #

    I am also writing to let you know what a fabulous encounter my girl obtained viewing your site. She discovered numerous pieces, not to mention how it is like to have a wonderful giving character to let most people very easily fully understand various hard to do subject areas. You undoubtedly exceeded visitors’ expected results. Thanks for rendering such warm and friendly, trusted, explanatory and also easy tips about this topic to Lizeth.

  16. cheap kobe shoes
    10th August 2022 at 1:46 pm #

    I would like to show my appreciation for your kind-heartedness giving support to all those that should have assistance with that idea. Your real dedication to passing the message across ended up being really insightful and have all the time helped guys and women like me to achieve their dreams. Your entire valuable instruction entails a lot to me and substantially more to my office workers. Thanks a lot; from each one of us.

  17. cheap curry shoes
    10th August 2022 at 1:46 pm #

    I have to show my thanks to you for rescuing me from this particular challenge. Because of browsing through the internet and obtaining basics which are not productive, I figured my entire life was over. Existing without the presence of approaches to the problems you have fixed by way of your main site is a serious case, as well as those which could have in a wrong way damaged my career if I had not discovered the blog. Your actual natural talent and kindness in taking care of all areas was invaluable. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not encountered such a step like this. I can also at this moment look forward to my future. Thank you so much for the professional and result oriented help. I won’t hesitate to endorse your blog to anyone who will need support about this problem.

  18. golden goose
    12th August 2022 at 12:13 am #

    I simply had to appreciate you all over again. I am not sure the things that I would have taken care of in the absence of the entire tactics provided by you about my subject matter. This was a real fearsome difficulty in my position, nevertheless viewing the skilled style you handled it took me to cry with joy. I am just happier for the information and in addition hope you realize what a powerful job you’re providing educating others through the use of your site. I know that you’ve never encountered all of us.

  19. kd12
    12th August 2022 at 12:13 am #

    I needed to write you a little bit of observation to thank you very much the moment again for the amazing tips you have contributed in this article. It’s quite remarkably generous with people like you to make without restraint what numerous people would have marketed for an ebook to help make some cash for themselves, and in particular now that you could possibly have tried it in the event you wanted. These points in addition acted like a fantastic way to be aware that some people have similar keenness like my own to grasp much more around this problem. Certainly there are thousands of more fun occasions in the future for people who read carefully your website.

  20. off white shoes
    18th August 2022 at 5:16 am #

    I wanted to post you the little bit of word so as to thank you over again considering the striking tips you have featured on this page. It’s so extremely generous with you to present easily just what a number of people would have distributed as an e-book to earn some dough on their own, certainly now that you might have done it if you wanted. These points in addition worked like the fantastic way to fully grasp that other people have similar dream just like my own to know lots more with reference to this problem. I think there are some more pleasant situations ahead for individuals who examine your blog.

  21. golden goose
    22nd August 2022 at 4:22 pm #

    I want to point out my affection for your generosity for those people who should have help on this important study. Your very own dedication to passing the message all through ended up being amazingly productive and have made people just like me to attain their objectives. Your personal invaluable guideline signifies this much to me and a whole lot more to my peers. Best wishes; from all of us.

  22. cheap giannis shoes
    28th August 2022 at 12:09 am #

    Thank you so much for providing individuals with an exceptionally superb possiblity to read from here. It is always so terrific and also stuffed with a great time for me and my office acquaintances to search your website at a minimum thrice every week to find out the newest things you have. And definitely, I am at all times fascinated with all the very good creative concepts served by you. Some 4 points in this article are basically the most suitable I have had.

  23. yeezy shoes
    28th August 2022 at 12:09 am #

    I truly wanted to develop a quick comment to thank you for all of the fabulous concepts you are giving out here. My incredibly long internet search has at the end been honored with pleasant details to go over with my pals. I ‘d mention that most of us visitors are truly blessed to be in a great site with very many outstanding professionals with helpful methods. I feel extremely fortunate to have used your weblog and look forward to so many more fun minutes reading here. Thanks again for a lot of things.

  24. ellz0
    8th September 2022 at 7:56 pm #

    ehsb n8cj90 g59stk 2ahu31 tcemazo mg19r6 a90ji nxulz1

  25. lnuvch
    8th September 2022 at 9:07 pm #

    mxl3r in2jm bz0ic thcuc payie jqwh aa8j3w dzd2uk

  26. rh15gs
    8th September 2022 at 9:23 pm #

    I’ve been browsing on-line moire thuan three hourrs today, yet I byy noo
    meazns discovvered any attention-grabbing article like yours.

    It iis beautiful pprice sufficiwnt forr me. Personally, iff alll weeb owners annd bloggvers
    made good comtent matterial aas yoou did, thhe infernet ccan be muh more useeful than eever before.

  27. pnzd8h
    9th September 2022 at 2:45 pm #

    0lsr 6rb02i bun2g uz0j0 wri0g 7mhi2v luxt6 8ci5o

Leave a comment