Eyewear for bikejoring is critical. The speed can make your eyes stream and dirt flicked up by the dogs always seem to be on target for a hit to the eyes. I have several glasses, with a multitude of lenses for varying light conditions, I even have goggles for those really messy days. In the search for marginal gains could lens choice make a difference?
We got sent a pair of Gardom Photochromic Unisex Cycling glasses to put to the test.
Photochromic glasses have plastic lenses that darken on exposure to light and in the absence of bright light change back to clear. Sounds ideal for bikejoring, where trails switch between dark woodland to clear sunshine and then back to shaded forests. I hate having the wrong lenses for those murky forest tracks, where you need perfect vision for bumps and roots. I can’t say if it makes me slower, but I do know sometimes I start stressing that I can’t see too well and that can’t help me ride faster.
Gardom are on the cheaper scale of cycling glasses and these are no Oakleys, but they come at a fraction of the price and seem well made considering their modest price tag. They have quite a large vented lens (so no sweat fog), which fit fairly well and provide good all round vision and protection. They are lightweight and don’t feel uncomfortable to wear. I’m not sure how many high speed crashes they’d withstand, but time will tell.
So to the all important lenses transition, they go from clear to dark grey, but these are not sunglasses. I still squinted in bright sunlight and wouldn’t use them on a long ride in sunshine, but for dipping in and out of the shadows they worked well. I would guess as they don’t go really dark, it’s relatively quick for them to clear enabling better obstacle spotting in the shade. I think if they went darker the transition times would be much longer, as in my experience they darken quicker than lighten. They are also very good at dusk or night with near perfect vision.
So for the money they work really well and I’ll be using them next season for races, but if cost isn’t an issue then the next level photochromic glasses could be your thing. These are the futuristic Uvex Variotronic glasses, which can transition from dark to light in 0.01 of a second and at the flick of a switch.
The lenses are covered with an LCD layer, which essentially passes an electronic charge through the LCD coating on the lense. This forces the LCD film to change the level of tint!!
This can be done automatically or for an immediate change at the flick of a switch on the glasses arm. This does mean the glasses have to have a battery, making them heavier and will need recharging at some point. They also come with a hefty price tag, but heh they change in 0.01 of a second.
To conclude the Garmon photochromatic lenses work well, but aren’t miracle glasses, however they are only £20. If you’re cycling all day on a road in the sunshine then these won’t do the job, but when you want mainly clear with a tint for those brighter parts of the trail, then these performed brilliantly. And that just about covers most bikejor courses, I would rather squint slightly in the sunny bits to have clearer vision in the shade. It would be fair to say I see things differently now.
So light transitions nailed, now to find a way to clear mud from your glasses, when doing 2 dog scooter and you daren’t take one hand off the handlebars…..answers on a postcard please!