One of the key pieces of kit for any regular cyclist — whether of the sporting, commuting or leisure variety — is protective eye-wear.
In the past I have struggled to find a pair of sunglasses suitable for cycling. My day-to-day Ray-Ban sunglasses might look good, but they tend to slip off my face when I get sweaty. And there's nothing worse than cycling along one-handed while you use the other hand to push your eye-wear off your top lip and back onto your nose!
I also find my Ray-Bans aren't suitable for high-glare conditions, and sometimes, if I'm cycling in dark shade it's almost impossible to see through the lenses.
I often can't be bothered with the hassle, so tend to cycle without eye protection. As a result I've lost count of the number of times I've had insects fly into them — ouch! And god knows I have struggled with that horrible "hairy" pollen that falls from the London plane trees every May, resulting in red, itchy eyes. And dare I mention the odd bit of gravel that has flicked up and caused me to duck, lest it land in my eye?
But then I discovered it doesn't have to be this way. Polaroid has produced some cycle-friendly sunglasses which sit snugly on the face — their Contender P7121B model also offers interchangeable polarised lenses, so you can select the lenses to suit your cycling conditions.
I've spent the past six weeks wearing the sunglasses during my daily commute and here's what I think of them.
What I like about the sunglasses
- They fit snugly and wrap right around the face without marking my skin or creating sore pressure points on the bridge of my nose or top of my ears — they do not slip, even under the most sweaty of conditions!
- They are light weight — I often forget that I am wearing them after having parked my bike up, because they are so light
- The interchangeable lenses mean you can change the lenses to suit the weather conditions: dark grey lenses for bright, sunny conditions; amber lenses for high glare conditions; and clear lenses for low light conditions.
- The lenses offer 100 per cent UV400 protection so I know my eyes are being properly protected from the sun's most damaging rays — I'm fussy about the kind and type of UV light that sunglasses filter, which is why I generally buy expensive high-quality sunglasses for fashion wear.
- The lenses are polarised, which means they offer glare-free vision — no more squinting and being unable to see a thing in front of me!
- They come with a lightweight case — and a cleaning cloth — to store the lenses and frames together.
What I don't like
- The amber and clear lenses, coupled with the black frame, aren't particularly flattering — they look a bit like you're about to do some spot-welding! (The grey lenses, by comparison, look pretty rock'n'roll.) I certainly wouldn't wear these sunglasses out-and-about — they look too "sporty" for normal fashion wear.
- The frame might be lightweight, but when changing the lenses I've been worried that I might accidentally snap something by mistake. It feels just a little too flexible.
- It would be helpful if the glasses came with a material bag so that when out cycling you didn't have to take the whole case with you — you could simply pop the glasses in a bag and tuck them away when not needed.
I love these sunglasses! I love the way they fit, I love the interchangeable lenses and I love the glare-free vision they offer. But their styling could be made a little more under-stated and subtle — that way I might wear them just as much off the bike as I do on the bike.
Where can you buy a pair?
You can buy Contender P7121B sunglasses for £89 direct from Polaroidsunglasses.co.uk and other leading retailers.
My sunglasses were supplied to me for review purposes by Polaroid. This is the second set I tried. The first were faulty, but the firm were efficient in ensuring a replacement was dispatched to me promptly.