Saturday, February 9, 2013

Making A Spectacle Of Myself

I'm going WAY out on a very trivial limb today, and spitting in the faces of the Cycling Fashion Police. 

Sunglasses should be worn INSIDE your helmet straps. Yes, I said it. In boldface, no less. And yes, I know that pretty much every "here's how not to look like a newbie bike dork" article says otherwise. Even the otherwise brilliant BikeSnobNYC misses the boat on this one (though the rest of that post is pretty darn solid).

Here's the thing: When I'm wearing both of these accessories together, I want to be able to take each one of them on and off independently. Maybe some clouds rolled in and I need to tuck my sunglasses away. Or maybe I'm at a rest stop and want to pop off my lid to cool my bald spot. Straps in or out doesn't make one bit of difference in the first scenario -- you can get your sunglasses on and off with ease no matter where they are in relation to your helmet straps. But let's take that second scenario. You stop the bike, hop off, undo your helmet buckle, lift the helmet off your head, and -- SONOFAB_TCH! The straps knock your glasses off. Why? Because you listened to the Fashion Police instead of common sense. And you probably scratched your glasses to boot. Sure, you could have taken your glasses off first, but then you're taking the glasses off so you can get out of your helmet only to put your glasses back on. Why?

(Now that raises an interesting question: Do people who wear prescription glasses while riding go straps-in or straps-out? Because many of those folks need their glasses on all the time, and thus would probably want to be able to remove their helmet without taking their glasses off. I'll have to study that one.)

If someone can tell me a PRACTICAL, FUNCTIONAL reason for "straps in", I'm all ears. But until then, I'm letting my dork flag fly in the form of fluttering helmet straps, unfettered by sunglasses.

(Thank goodness someone's out there tackling the big issues, right?)


Jeremy said...

Not to rain on your righteous stand or whatever, but here is one possible practical, functional consideration:

With certain helmets and certain sunglasses, if you have the chinstrap of the helmet adjusted appropriately tight enough, the extra width of passing the straps over the sunglasses makes the chin strap uncomfortably tight. Such is the case with my Bell Volt and cheapo Fay-Ban sunglasses, so I wear them on the outside.

Pondero said...

Absolutely right, Jason!

I like how the sunglasses keeps the helmet straps from rubbing the side of my face.

Anonymous said...

As a person who wears prescription glasses, the helmet straps definitely go on the outside! I don't want to have to take off my glasses just to put my helmet on and off.

As with most fashion, this thing with the helmet straps is mostly just a random preference. If it was based on keeping things looking tidy, neat, and non-floppy, then I could understand it. I haven't noticed any issue with things looking particularly untidy with my current arrangement.

Steve in Peoria

Anonymous said...

If you put the glasses inside the straps the arms can press into your head which can get painful on a long ride. That's probably where the custom comes from. I say the straps are supposed to go wherever you want them to go.

Tarik Saleh said...

Yeah, this is one of the dumbest "rules" there is. I wear prescription glasses and sunglasses and they never go over the straps. People who propagate shit like this want to make cycling less accessible. I am starting the bib shorts over the jersey rule to counter this.

Andrew said...

I wear my prescription specs under the straps, but my "fitover" sunglasses go over. I never realized I was making a fasion statment! There isn't enough room for everything under the straps.

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Wow! Five comments on a cycling-fashion-sense post! That may be my entire readership. No wonder Bicycling kept up with that dumb Style Man column for so long... ;-)

I'm happy to hear that there can actually be functional reasons for both choices, and that my discerning readership (he said, pandering) makes their choice based on what works for them, not because so-and-so says to do it a certain way (even when I'm that so-and-so).

Style-free style man, over and out!