A couple of years ago Cycling Weekly conducted a survey of its readership which revealed that the average cyclist is 43 years old, 5 foot 10 inches in height and 12 stone. At the time I fitted the profile almost exactly and could identify with the many challenges facing such a typical rider: young whipper snappers tearing past me up hills, struggling to find the time to ride with work and family commitments and the occasional creaking bones.
However, there is another problem for this age bracket, and one that I find myself increasingly suffering from: long sightedness which makes it impossible to read a Garmin, Strava data or Google map without fishing around in the back pocket for a pair of reading glasses.
This has resulted in some rather undignified fumbling in front of younger riders who have the impudence to chuckle at their seniors as sunglasses are removed to be replaced with the rather less sporty half moon specs.
So it was that I was delighted to receive a pair of polarized sunglasses from BZ Optics that include the ingenious feature of bi focal lenses so that I can check my bike computer without veering all over the road while I dig around for +2.00 reading glasses.
The glasses have full UV protection but are clear for cloudy conditions then darken as and when the sun decides to put in an appearance. They have high impact lenses that protect the wearer from projectiles and road litter, have a lightweight frame, dual moulded non slip temples and an adjustable non slip nose piece for optimum fit. BZ Optics is a company hailing from down under where, apparently, 6 out of every 10 Australians has had a broken nose so one of the first considerations in their design was that it should be adjustable! The frame has a clip system enabling lenses to be replaced simply and quickly if needs be.
Apparently these are the “World first photocromatic bi focal reader lens”. The pair behind the company are Scott Birdsall, a keen cyclist, triathlete, sailor and reading lens wearer and Kevin Barr, a surfer sailor and owner of Barz Optics the Australian Award winning polarized glass manufacturer.
I trialled my pair on a beautifully sunny day for a ride over the South Downs up to Devil’s Dyke, through the shady country lanes around Hurstpierpoint and up the lung busting Ditchling Beacon. I found the lens darkness ideal: in the bright sunshine they adjusted quickly but weren’t too dark. Descending Devil’s Dyke, through the shady tree-lined lane, they adjusted quickly and vision was excellent through the dappled sunshine piercing through gaps in the overhead foliage. And checking Google maps for the easily missed and tricky right hand turn down New Way Lane was a revelation: perfect vision! I’m told they look very good too and are an improvement on my tortoiseshells. Hell I can even use these for reading a book by the pool on holiday!
I don’t think it’ll be long before MAMILs all over the country are ordering a pair of these to avoid further humiliation and reminders of middle age. Nice work, BZ Optics. They come in white, graphite and, for those of you in full denial of your ageing defects, bright yellow. RRP is £99.99 from Ison Distribution.