Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Old Man And The See

It's been a troubling year here at The Cycle World Headquarters in the "Coming to Grips With Geezerhood" category. Your humble narrator has owned a pair of no-line bifocals ("progressive lenses" is the euphemism for those who can't stomach the B-word) for years, but I've treated them as very expensive reading glasses, something I need for looking at words on screens and paper, nothing more.

This year, I can no longer deny that those "progressive lenses" are needed beyond the screen. The ol' eyeballs have been triggering more migraines than they should, all because I've been too proud to just put on my damn glasses (truth be told, pride has nothing to do with it -- I'm just a creature of habit, and "putting on my glasses" isn't one of my habits).

How does this intersect with a blog that's (arguably) about biking? Well, I also decided that it's time to bite the (potentially very expensive) bullet and pop for some prescription sunglasses. Since I have very odd eyeballs and a well-established relationship with my local eye-checking professional (Dr. Jason "Excellent First Name and Last Initial" Nesheim at Eye Care of Iowa, just to sneak in a gratuitous plug for the local audience), I limited myself to the "sporty" specs they carry, which means -- for better or worse -- Oakley.

I have a long and checkered past with the Big O, dating back to the halcyon days of the 1980s when I was a mere youth trying (in vain) to avoid being uncool, whatever that meant. And if you remember coolness in the 1980s, you probably remember Oakleys, from the Ray-Ban ripoff Frogskins to the ski-goggle-lite Eyeshades. All the cool kids had Oakleys. Even if your parents wouldn't buy you Oakley sunglasses, you could spend $4 for a 3x5" sticker to prove that you were in the know (and remember, minimum wage was $3.40 per hour at the time -- good grief, I'm old -- so $4 was kinda steep for a friggin' sticker). 

Being a bike nerd even then, I made sad eyes at my parents until they bought me an absolutely ridiculous looking pair of Eyeshades with vented, rainbow-mirrored lenses, because Greg LeMond wore them. And since we live in the age of the internets, evidence of these glasses' stupidity is just a click away. Everybody remembers this shot, right?

Well, those abominations were too subtle for teenage me, so I went with this instead:

It hurts me to even admit how much time those things spent on my face. Guess that explains my lack of dates in high school.

These days, I gotta pay for my own specs, and let's just say that Oakleys still ain't cheap (once you get those "progressive" lenses in there, the price will damn near stop your heart). Plus, I'm a little nonplussed about how Oakley the Brand dealt with (or didn't deal with) the stink around their cash cow Lance. But those bastards keep making glasses that fit my fat head beautifully, and my trusted eye doc carries them, so I now own a pair of Twenty frames (apparently, a discontinued model -- perhaps because the logos were too small?) with old-man lenses. Too soon to review them, but once I have a few more miles behind those old-man lenses, I'll report back.


Anonymous said...

At the risk of incurring heart damage, what's the cost of the Oakleys plus progressive lenses?? And do the lenses end up positioned such that they still work okay?

It was around 5 years or so that I had to admit that I wasn't a kid, and got progressive lenses. However, I never did put progressive lenses in my bike sunglasses. The optician said that progressives might not work well with the Bolle glasses, and I didn't feel like gambling on it. Plus... how often do I need to see small stuff while riding? I do bring my regular glasses with me, so I can always see stuff if I really need to.

My Bolle glasses are getting old and falling apart, so I began looking for a replacement. A person on the Randon list mentioned the Uvex Genesis safety glasses as being a low cost option. The glasses themselves are only $10 or so, which is incredible for a decent looking pair of sunglasses. The insert for prescription lenses is about $25, which is still quite reasonable. I just got single vision lenses for the Uvex Genesis and have used them for a few hours. They seem to work just fine. They won't be as stylish as the Oakleys, I'm sure, but at least there's not much risk of looking back 20 years from now and regretting spending a lot on a cheesy fashion item. :-)

Let us know how the Oakleys work out.

Steve in Peoria, where I need to use my glasses all of the time

Steve Fuller said...

I'm interested in this as well. I was just about ready to pull the plug on a set of progressive, prescription lenses myself. Getting sick of not being able to see things clearly while I ride out in the countryside