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  1. #1
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    Winter Cycling Eyewear?

    I have been commuting completely by bike (car-free) for about 5 months and am loving it. The mercury is starting to drop and I plan on continuing my commuting adventure through the cold, snowy mid-western winter.

    My winter bike is built up as well as my clothing arsenal. The one thing I can't seem to get right is eye wear. I wear prescription glasses, but they are definitely not enough for fast downhills at 40 degrees or colder. My eyes tear up and it's hard to see. I've considered ski goggles, but they seem like they wouldn't work very well with a bike helmet.

    Any suggestions from the world of seasoned winter commuters?

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    I've heard of people using the ski goggles before. I wear my Oakley half jackets for just about everything without issue and I wear contacts. Without the glasses on my eyes tear up at >20mph.

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    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    I wear shooting glasses with a slight yellow tint (it brings out contrast in low light conditions). They are like safety glasses only form fitting with a bit of padding on the inside that would help cushion minor impacts. Have had plenty of pebbles and stuff bounce off them and been glad I had them on.
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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Ski goggles on the coldest days. Sleet or snow is a good time for them too. I've had no problems with them and helmets.

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    This is relevant to my interests. My eyes water like crazy whenever it's less than 50 degrees and windy, and it borders on dangerous.

    Not to mention, annoying as hell since it gets my nose running like a faucet, too.
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    Senior Member KD5NRH's Avatar
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    I've thought about using either a BMX or paintball facemask with some of the vent holes covered with fabric. They usually include more-or-less sealed goggles, while the rest of the mask sits out a bit in front of the face.

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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    regular clear cycling glasses or I used racquetball glasses. gotta keep some air space behind them to avoid fogging. take them off at stops too. without straps they are easy to wipe and take on and off. never tried ski goggles but the way I sweat I can't imagine anything not fogging so I went minimal. so long as something is protecting the front of the eyes. on coldest days I kept my nose and cheeks covered too. my sinuses couldn't take the cold
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    Many ski goggles fit with a helmet, some don't, and it also depends on your face shape. I wear clear cycling glasses down to 25F, then switch out to goggles. I don't have the glasses issue, but I have read of a number of people with glasses who use goggles. Do some searching; this type of thread pops up every yer, often on the winter forum.

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    I'm used to wearing contacts so maybe my eyes aren't as sensitive as everyone else's, I had some minor discomfort commuting in Kansas City when the mercury hit about 10F. Over that the cold never really bothered me. It's regularly below 10F in KC during the winter, so I wound up trying a several different things...I tried glasses, I didn't really like them. I tried goggles, and I couldn't stand them.

    The only thing that I tried that I thought was acceptable were Kroops goggles (http://kroopsgoggles.com/). I guess they were traditionally used by horse jockeys, but gained traction with cyclists some years ago. I saw the recommendation for Kroops years back in the winter cycling forum (if I remember correctly), and I bought a pair. They're inexpensive and performed admirably without feeling super bulky or awkward.

    The winter cycling forum would be a good place to look, they've got lots of threads about cold weather eyewear.

  10. #10
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    +1 Ski goggles. My eyes tear up in the cold and then the tears freeze in my eyes quickly and that just sucks. Goggles are awesome. They fit under my bike helmet fine and perfectly with the ski helmet I wear when it's really cold.

    The only downside to goggles is no matter which model you choose they limit peripheral vision a bit. I wear Oakley A frames they seemed to me to be little better in this department and they vent well so they have never fogged on me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neurocyclist View Post
    ...The one thing I can't seem to get right is eye wear. I wear prescription glasses, but they are definitely not enough for fast downhills at 40 degrees or colder. My eyes tear up and it's hard to see. I've considered ski goggles, but they seem like they wouldn't work very well with a bike helmet.

    Any suggestions from the world of seasoned winter commuters?
    As a prescription eyeglass wearer, I perennially post my solution using cheap plastic safety glasses as you can buy at Home Depot or such stores:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    As an eyeglass wearer, Im one who has had excellent success with safety glasses and never noticed any distortion. Besides the combined wind protection and wide-open ventilation, I like the clear plastic lenses for riding in darkness, and the rigid earpieces which allow me to wear a Take-a-Look rearview mirror on the safety glasses. I virtually never fog, and my worst case, as shown below, was the frosting that occurred from about miles 10 to 14 on my commute starting out at at 0 degrees F and finishing at minus 8. I still had enough clear vision to ride. Note that the frosting happened on the right hand curb side, allowing me to still use the rearview mirror.

    A modification that allows the safety glasses to sit comfortably on my face is to wrap Velcro around the nose bridge and attach the Velcro on the glasses to a vertical strip of Velco sewn onto my woolen skull cap. The safety glasses are thus suspended rather than pressing down on my nose. The exhaled warm moist air is directed over my exposed cheeks to keep them warm, but is adequately vented away by the large gap of the open safety goggles. Though the picture shows full face covering, that's only at the beginning of the ride, and I do need to lower the facemask and uncover my nose, but my face is still kept warm by the exhalations. I can easily adjust the position of the mask for various situations to minimize fog and keep warm.
    I usually wear them for 35* F and below.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Seior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Prescription goggles from Zenni Optical are in the $30 range. Pick your level or dorkiness. I've ordered many pair of glasses from them with no problems, though the goggles that I have are from before I discovered them and I paid about $100 for mine.
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    Buy a skiing/snowboarding helmet and wear ski goggles with them. I bought a Bern multipurpose cold weather ski/skate/cycle helmet for $50 at REI last year. Other ski/snowboard helmets should be designed for impacts similar to a cycling helmet, I would presume, but you'll want to check on that. I wear oversized ski goggles designed to fit prescription eyewear over the helmet (the helmet has a clip at the back for the goggle strap). You can get goggles like this for $25-50. Mine are polarized and look darkened for the outside (Smith brand goggles) but I had no problem seeing out of them in my pre-dawn ride.

    I used this once last winter to commute when it was about 15F out and it worked great. The helmet has ear warmers built in and I was very comfortable. I don't usually commute a lot in the winter, and already had bought the goggles and helmet specifically for skiing.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about getting a pair of these to help with my night vision; not sure how they'll handle the fogging issue.
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  15. #15
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Tifosi Roubaix Glasses with a prescription insert.

    Clear lenses for riding when it's dark; gray for daylight, and orange (they call them 'AC Red') for overcast days and twilight commutes.

    Great RX field of vision; wind tears are a thing of the past. Add a balaclava, and my entire face is warm.
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    You may want to check out WileyX.com. It's what I wear. I had a rude awakening about 10 years ago. I developed a pterygium in my left eye that went south. In other words, not only was it a pteryguim, but it would have become cancerous had I not had eye surgery to remove it. I'm fairly certain it was caused by riding without proper eye protection. Check out this random site for a description:

    http://www.pterygium.us/

    Protect your eyes!!!

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    I believe my Scott ski goggles were around $40.00 with shipping. They are (otg) over the glasses style. I have two lense styles. One is for night use and one to cut snow glare. Best investment in eye care I made for my cycle commute. they usually don't fog and my eyes dont water with them. YMMV I should add, I use them with my helmet. I don't ride without.
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    I've been thinking about getting a pair of these to help with my night vision; not sure how they'll handle the fogging issue.
    I have a pair of no-tint ones. They give good coverage. I noticed some light reflection, i.e. some lights appear to be several, but this hasn't been a problem. It didn't fog up much.
    People can also get anti-fogging spray, which has worked on my swimming goggles, prescription glasses, etc.

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    For the frugal, it is also worth considering that one can find military surplus German motorcycle goggles for all of $5.

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    OP did say they wore prescription glasses ... all the time..

    A safety goggle over the prescription glasses may be OK, and cheaper.
    But I expect Ski Goggles take cold weather fogging into consideration..

    there are Ski/bike helmets that offer warmer liners.
    and a clip on the back for goggle straps.

    a winter and a summer helmet is a reasonable thing, is it not?
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-31-11 at 11:11 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ZManT's Avatar
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    eyewear

    Quote Originally Posted by Hangtownmatt View Post
    You may want to check out WileyX.com. It's what I wear. I had a rude awakening about 10 years ago. I developed a pterygium in my left eye that went south. In other words, not only was it a pteryguim, but it would have become cancerous had I not had eye surgery to remove it. I'm fairly certain it was caused by riding without proper eye protection. Check out this random site for a description:

    http://www.pterygium.us/
    +1 for Wiley X - but mine are dark tinted, so for dawn/dusk/night riding, I have Native Eyewear glasses and I put the amber lenses in them, or I use ski goggles when it's below 32F

    Protect your eyes!!!

  22. #22
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    A standard set of ski goggles work when things are really cold/windy, but they are a bit bulky when all you need is to keep out snow blowing in your eyes. There are several versions of glacier glasses that are made to wear over normal presciption eyewear and Campmor and surplus stores have plenty of cheaper, but effective ones as well:


    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___81752
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    You have a few options---

    single lens RX bike glasses such as from sports optical in Denver;
    bike glasses with RX inserts (I find this is terrible in conditions where the lenses fog) numerous sources
    contact lenses with non-RX bike glasses (my preference now...if the glasses fog or get rain smeared I can push them down on my nose and have clear vision....not so with the first two options....)

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    Thanks for all the great responses everybody.

    The prescription bike glasses/goggles intrigue me, but so does just getting a winter ski/bike helmet and goggles. If only I had a local store that carried some of the products listed above. Not that I'm against buying off the internet, I just like to try things on in person that I have to wear.

    One of my LBS's has Bern brand helmets and I've heard decent things about them. I just feel like fog may be my greatest enemy with goggles. Thanks again for all the ideas and happy ice-biking!

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