Ian Stannard crushes gravel and pulls the mortals in his wake of Awesome. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta

White Lightning Shades

White Lightning Shades

by / / 68 posts

I like definition, to place things in a box and tightly seal the lid. It makes me feel comfortable, like another of life’s little mysteries has been stored away for safe keeping. I also love ambiguity; it is the space wherein all interesting questions are asked; the unknown is life’s greatest beauty. You might say that makes me a hypocrite but I prefer to think of it as a paradox.

The subjective choices surrounding aesthetics are an obvious target for this peculiar neurosis of mine, and therefor I am bound by blood to draw hard lines by which I judge with a harsh and heavy gavel. These are lines that may never be crossed until such time that I change my mind, in which case there will be a loudly articulated logic tree defending the change.

And so it is with the choice of sunglass frames which, obviously, should always be white.*

The first mistake the Pedalwan makes when trying their hand at Looking Fantastic is to overmatch their kit. Everything the in monochrome from tops to tails, throughout with the same dominant colors. It isn’t the worst place to start, much better than an uncoordinated hodgepodge for certain, but the eye needs some balanced variety; some disruptions to give it something cling to.

Cycling has a lot happening from an aesthetic point of view; bicycle frames, wheels, tires, shoes, socks, gloves, bar tape, saddles, bidons, helmets, jerseys, shorts, whirring guns…each offering its own shape, design, and color palette. Geometrically, we have variety covered. But when it comes to colors, the sky’s the limit (so long as the shorts are black). We are free to get creative and let different color combinations play off each other. But in the midst of all that noise, the eye needs a lightening rod, something neutral to to take the charge off all that Awesome. This is where white sunglasses come in: they offer a neutral contrast point to the technicolor delight that is the Elite Cyclist.

Looking Fantastic is an art. There is no user guide, no App for That. The choices you make are your own and are in themselves less important than your confidence in them. But never underestimate the grounding power of White Lightning Shades.

* This applies strictly to cycling-specific activities and does not include being shirtless on the beach wearing obnoxious square white shades to try to impress the babes. Also, in case you’re that guy and you’re reading this, the girls at the beach who are sunbathing with their bikini top untied are onto your plan to play frisbee right next to them in the hope of startling them and getting them to sit up quickly. Seriously, its not their first rodeo; try something else. Like not being such a dingbat.

// La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro

  1. @Ccos

    Talk about a paradox: white sunglasses while appearing fantastic when worn on the bike, open the door to douchedom off of it.

    +1

  2. @wiscot you don’t train to be a big engine, and then try to ride like a billy goat, no GC guy wins without the services of the likes of GT, now if he trained to win stage races I’m sure he would go well, but he doesn’t, he trains specifically to look after his team leader, firstly Froome then Porte who is probably the only guy who trained to be a GC contender, i.e. last man standing for Froome.

  3. @Puffy

    Interesting your article on fashion aesthetics is lead by a photo of a rider wearing black socks….

    For my tastes I agree, and nearly always stick with white socks.  However, in this instance, I think it works. The socks are Rule #28 compliant, but are pushing the limits of Rule #27.

  4. Frank, I see. Many factors working with the White Lightning too.

  5. @unversio +1. this picture just embodies “it”

  6. @Mikael Liddy

    As ever, there’s an exception that proves this rule. Step forward, Weight of a Nation.

    Did you mean exception to prove the rule or did you mean “here is a picture of a cool dude wearing white lightening shades just like you are pointing out they should”?

  7. @Mikael Liddy

    @Puffy

    Interesting your article on fashion aesthetics is lead by a photo of a rider wearing black socks….

    probably a concession to the poor swannies that have to wash the kit after that much gravel work.

    On a personal note I’m a black glasses kinda guy for two reasons. First, I’m already wearing a white helmet so it could be a little too much white up top. Second, the Keepers hadn’t released the Witte Kitte when I got these custom babies made up.

    The VMH is all about the black frames, too. Its wrong, but its not that wrong when you have the orange details rolling.

    @RossArmstrong2014

    My white lightning shades are oakley fast jackets. A mate recommended them as he used to wear them for mountain biking. They look incredibly pro and they are the best eyewear I’ve ever owned, including my RayBans which, of course, have never been worn on the bike

    Strong work, Pedalwan. I agree that Oakleys are the bomb-diggity; nothing else comes close to the quality.

  8. @Ron

    Heavy gavel? He come tha judge, he come tha judge…

    I have been spending too much money on nice shades since I was 12 and put about twenty lawns towards a pair of Oakley SubZeroes. Those things were odd, but lovable.

    We might be twins.

    As I write, I’m contemplating another pair of shades. Do I need them? Nah, I have some White Lightnings, I have some Black Thunders, I have some Overcast Oranges, just so I don’t have to swap lenses, though the whole point of some models is…swapping lenses. But, the right shades for the job, plus either matching or contrasting shades to helmet/kit (all black, all white, white/black) keeps me young at heart. Oh, and Looking Fantastic!

    Overcast Oranges! Black Thunders! White Lightenings! All these need to go into the Lexi!

    Strong work, Frank! Especially after wrasslin’ the site this week, then putting it in a fackin’ DDT so we all could get back to shoutin’ about Le Tour!

    Ooooooh, there was some serious cursing going on! 72 hours of nonstop hacking, when the answer was so simple: upgrade the servers!

  9. @wiscot

    Love my white Serfas shades. Great size and shape for the face and good lenses. Not the best in helmet vents, but oh well . . . I have other pairs (including a vintage pair of Bolle Razor Edge) ones which are still serviceable. First pair of cycling specific sunnies? Knockoff Rudy Projects like Charley Mottet’s. Bought in southern France in 89. Long gone.

    CHARLEY’S SHADES WERE THE COOLEST!!!! I too spent my money first on cheap knockoffs and then I saved all my money to buy Oakleys; Eyeshades first, then Razor Blades…the addiction had not let up even now, although I’m currently going through a little helmet obsession.

  10. @VeloVita

    Was it not more than a year or two ago when Frank was stressing over multiple variations of Velominati color-matched custom Oakley Jawbones in hues of orange and grey?

    Yes, we all must stray from the path to reinforce our commitment to it.

    @freddy

    Good post Frank. As usual, lot’s of life-lesson nuggets: Definition/Ambiguity. Disruption/Grounding. Paradox. “The choices you make are your own and are in themselves less important than your confidence in them.” A-Merckx.

    Thanks mate, I can never be sure if I’m crazy, drunk, or brilliant. Or all, or none. Also note you can be very confident and still wrong. It is often referred to as being “Dutch”.

  11. @RedRanger Did you read the footnote?

    @wiscot

    @Chris

    @RedRanger There are many cyclist who can pull it off either

    Win

    Fail

    It’s appropriate that Froome has a bug-eyed look with the white shades as he is the spider-humping-the-lightbulb.

    Geraint Thomas needs to be let off the Sky leash – why do I always feel that he’s too often put “in service” rather than getting it. Stage 5 for example. I know he’s Froomedog’s dog, but imagine if he was riding for himself. I mean flats he does, hills he does and mountains not too shabby. Seems to recover well and stays out of trouble.

    Sounds a bit like an English George Hincapie? Or Welsh? No matter, I wish I had his accent.

    @unversio,  @mpalazzi92

    @unversio +1. this picture just embodies “it”

    Spot the fuck on.

  12. @frank read? Ha!

  13. @frank

    Definitely Welsh, if you don’t mind. He is from Cardiff though, so marginal in terms of accent.

  14. @frank

    Thanks mate, I can never be sure if I’m crazy, drunk, or brilliant. Or all, or none. Also note you can be very confident and still wrong. It is often referred to as being “Dutch”.

    or speaking Double Dutch?

  15. @Geraint

    @frank

    Definitely Welsh, if you don’t mind. He is from Cardiff though, so marginal in terms of accent.

    or Mission Control as a certain Mr Boyce would have it.

  16. or for those not familiar…………..

  17. @Puffy

    Interesting your article on fashion aesthetics is lead by a photo of a rider wearing black socks….

    Rule #28….

  18. @frank

    @wiscot

    Love my white Serfas shades. Great size and shape for the face and good lenses. Not the best in helmet vents, but oh well . . . I have other pairs (including a vintage pair of Bolle Razor Edge) ones which are still serviceable. First pair of cycling specific sunnies? Knockoff Rudy Projects like Charley Mottet’s. Bought in southern France in 89. Long gone.

    CHARLEY’S SHADES WERE THE COOLEST!!!! I too spent my money first on cheap knockoffs and then I saved all my money to buy Oakleys; Eyeshades first, then Razor Blades…the addiction had not let up even now, although I’m currently going through a little helmet obsession.

    Not just the shades, but the Rivat shoes too. One of the top 5 most stylish riders of all time.

  19. @RedRanger

    White sun glasses are very hard to pull off and most people cant. Also, outside of the cycling word, have you seen the kind of people who wear white glasses?

    About his look, you know this dude’s thinking: “yep, nailed it.”

  20. @PBo

    @Puffy

    Interesting your article on fashion aesthetics is lead by a photo of a rider wearing black socks….

    Rule #28….

    Yes, I loves me a white sock but I like black ones too and wear them quite a bit.

  21. @frank

    @wiscot

    Love my white Serfas shades. Great size and shape for the face and good lenses. Not the best in helmet vents, but oh well . . . I have other pairs (including a vintage pair of Bolle Razor Edge) ones which are still serviceable. First pair of cycling specific sunnies? Knockoff Rudy Projects like Charley Mottet’s. Bought in southern France in 89. Long gone.

    CHARLEY’S SHADES WERE THE COOLEST!!!! I too spent my money first on cheap knockoffs and then I saved all my money to buy Oakleys; Eyeshades first, then Razor Blades…the addiction had not let up even now, although I’m currently going through a little helmet obsession.

    Absolutely! He was an early idol of mine, and in fact it took me until about 5 years ago to get rid of the body flop in my style which I had adopted early on because he looked so cool doing that.

  22. @Ccos

    @RedRanger

    White sun glasses are very hard to pull off and most people cant. Also, outside of the cycling word, have you seen the kind of people who wear white glasses?

    About his look, you know this dude’s thinking: “yep, nailed it.”

    In fairness, that ice cream cone looks mighty tasty.

  23. @frank  Yes true, but thanks to  some inter web shenanigans, I was only privy to Doucheboy #1 (on the left) in my initial viewing. Ice cream dude only showed up in my view when I responded. I just hope he’s not staring at Db #1 while doing that.

  24. @Ccos

    @frank Yes true, but thanks to some inter web shenanigans, I was only privy to Doucheboy #1 (on the left) in my initial viewing. Ice cream dude only showed up in my view when I responded. I just hope he’s not staring at Db #1 while doing that.

    Given the apparent camelbacks on both and trendy trainers I suspect they are mates, no sorry I mean I suspect they are together er no I mean…..errr…….

  25. Whenever I see Vangarderen interviewed before a stage all I can think is ‘your sunglasses are the wrong color’

    To me white shades are the best choice. Or possibly something to match the kit, depending on the kit. The Cannondale guys with lime green frames look good. The Sky guys wearing black frames do not. God forbid Europcar gets dark green shades.

  26. @frank

    @Ccos

    @RedRanger

    White sun glasses are very hard to pull off and most people cant. Also, outside of the cycling word, have you seen the kind of people who wear white glasses?

    About his look, you know this dude’s thinking: “yep, nailed it.”

    In fairness, that ice cream cone looks mighty tasty.

    The nerd with no ice cream looks like he’s wearing a pair of “X-Ray Vision” glasses he got off a Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrapper and is saying “Hey! These things don’t work! The Chicks are still wearing clothes. What gives, bro?”

    Ice cream boy spent his hard earned cash on a cone and looks pleased with his choice.

  27. @wiscot that nearly caused a beer/screen moment. Ok, I have had a few.

  28. @wiscot

    @frank

    @Ccos

    @RedRanger

    White sun glasses are very hard to pull off and most people cant. Also, outside of the cycling word, have you seen the kind of people who wear white glasses?

    About his look, you know this dude’s thinking: “yep, nailed it.”

    In fairness, that ice cream cone looks mighty tasty.

    The nerd with no ice cream looks like he’s wearing a pair of “X-Ray Vision” glasses he got off a Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrapper and is saying “Hey! These things don’t work! The Chicks are still wearing clothes. What gives, bro?”

    Ice cream boy spent his hard earned cash on a cone and looks pleased with his choice.

    Actually it’s a picture from the future of a fat Mark Cavendish and a less fat Bernie Eisel.

  29. @Frank, great article….the advice at the bottom has just finally dashed all hope of me ever achieving success with the frisbee trick!

  30. I have these

    too cool for school

    Also they go very well with white Kask helmet.

  31. @frank

    @Ron

    Heavy gavel? He come tha judge, he come tha judge…

    I have been spending too much money on nice shades since I was 12 and put about twenty lawns towards a pair of Oakley SubZeroes. Those things were odd, but lovable.

    We might be twins.

    Straight out of Twins casting. The 171 cm Italian guy and the 197 cm (?) Dutch guy. Perfect pair of twins.

    Well, the article has done it. Picked up a new pair of White Lightnings. Decided to give the Rudy Project photochromics a try. I wonder if they’ll be as adaptable as you’ve found the Oakley’s, Frank. Seems like they are pretty nice shades and well. And, if not, well…there is always another pair of shades to be had. Can’t just have an entire drawer full of just Oakleys, need some variety!

  32. meursault – I’m also intrigued at trying out shades from new/different manufacturers. Have a few pairs of Oakleys, those Salice’s look pretty darn cool for on-bike wearing. I’ve been digging some of the Uvex shades on the Giant-Shimano team and the (is it) R+ ones of Saxo-T, though not in yellow/blue.

    And hey, if you’ve got the Italian tricolor on your shades, then on your feet (if you are sporting Sidis), well what is cooler than head/toe Italian flags?

  33. @Ron

    @frank

    @Ron

    Heavy gavel? He come tha judge, he come tha judge…

    I have been spending too much money on nice shades since I was 12 and put about twenty lawns towards a pair of Oakley SubZeroes. Those things were odd, but lovable.

    We might be twins.

    Straight out of Twins casting. The 171 cm Italian guy and the 197 cm (?) Dutch guy. Perfect pair of twins.

    Well, the article has done it. Picked up a new pair of White Lightnings. Decided to give the Rudy Project photochromics a try. I wonder if they’ll be as adaptable as you’ve found the Oakley’s, Frank. Seems like they are pretty nice shades and well. And, if not, well…there is always another pair of shades to be had. Can’t just have an entire drawer full of just Oakleys, need some variety!

    I have been eyeing up the Rudy Photochromics for some time and wanting to pull the trigger on a pair.  Anyone been sporting a  pair of these recently and have any thoughts?

  34. @Deakus

    I have been eyeing up the Rudy Photochromics for some time and wanting to pull the trigger on a pair. Anyone been sporting a pair of these recently and have any thoughts?

    Yup I use Rudy Photochromics and like them.   Mine are a model from some 5 years or so ago similar to the Rydon.

  35. I know it’s just the angle of the shot, but doesn’t Stannard look like he’s riding a bike that more than a tad too small?

  36. @Deakus

    I have been eyeing up the Rudy Photochromics for some time and wanting to pull the trigger on a pair. Anyone been sporting a pair of these recently and have any thoughts?

    My Rudys were my first set of proper shades, but these days they’re chucked in the spares bin. The rubber on the nose-piece and ears is itchy – I much prefer my Smith Optics, or the RH+ and Oakleys.

  37. @Deakus

    I have the Rudy Photochromic lenses (both clear and red) and love them. White Noyz frames, not that it matters.

  38. I used Rudy Rydon photochromatics – White/ orange and a Crystal/red  – 2-pairs.  Lots of colour combos available.

    No probs, except I use the RX insert (prescription clip) and these are a bastard on cold/ wet mornings with fogging.  Gets in between the two lenses. Anyone got a solution for that?

  39. @asyax

    I used Rudy Rydon photochromatics – White/ orange and a Crystal/red – 2-pairs. Lots of colour combos available.

    No probs, except I use the RX insert (prescription clip) and these are a bastard on cold/ wet mornings with fogging. Gets in between the two lenses. Anyone got a solution for that?

    Have you tried one of those anti fog sprays?

  40. Lads – glad to read that you like the photochromic lenses from Rudy. I’m guessing that if you like them you get quick contrast changes and a pretty good range of light conditions? Some of the spring/autumn rides I do have made me wish I could carry two sets of lenses, due to the changing light conditions between start and finish. I’m hoping this will be useful for those days in the saddle.

    Frank has said that his Oakley photos. were useful from high sun in HI to low-light commuting. That sounds awesome! Hope the Rudy’s are similar.

    RX cycling glasses. My holy grail. I don’t want to get corrective surgery, can’t see without glasses/contacts, and the worst part of my ride is putting in my contacts and struggling to seat them for generally the first twenty minutes of every ride. (I have an astigmatism so they are some special lenses, meant to help, but are a major goddamn pain to get oriented.)

    Eager to see how the Rudy’s are on lens swaps as well. With my Radars I fear I’m gonna break them anytime I swap the lenses, therefore, I don’t like swapping the lenses. Defeats the purpose.

  41. @wiscot

    Geraint Thomas needs to be let off the Sky leash – why do I always feel that he’s too often put “in service” rather than getting it. Stage 5 for example. I know he’s Froomedog’s dog, but imagine if he was riding for himself. I mean flats he does, hills he does and mountains not too shabby. Seems to recover well and stays out of trouble.

    I’d love to see him targeting a race like Liege; I realize its been completely taken over by the specialists like every other event in the sport has been the last 10 years or so, but a rider like him should be able to make a cheeky move from farther out and handle himself nicely.

  42. @Ron, my contacts have a little line that is supposed to be at the top when the lenses are oriented correctly on the eye. I wore them for years before I knew about that, and only found out when I mentioned to my optometrist that sometimes it takes a lot of mad blinking before I can actually see out of them. He asked me if I was orienting them properly on my finger first, and told me about the line – which of course I had never noticed, being virtually blind without contacts. Now a few seconds of one-eyed squinting is all it takes to insert the lens in the correct orientation.

  43. @frank

    @wiscot

    Geraint Thomas needs to be let off the Sky leash – why do I always feel that he’s too often put “in service” rather than getting it. Stage 5 for example. I know he’s Froomedog’s dog, but imagine if he was riding for himself. I mean flats he does, hills he does and mountains not too shabby. Seems to recover well and stays out of trouble.

    I’d love to see him targeting a race like Liege; I realize its been completely taken over by the specialists like every other event in the sport has been the last 10 years or so, but a rider like him should be able to make a cheeky move from farther out and handle himself nicely.

    With the right training and focus, I could really see GT take on a Kelly-esque career. Maybe not the GT’s (yes, I know SK won the Vuelta) but one/two week stage races. He’s smart, aggressive and physically adaptable. No reason that he shouldn’t be looking at Roubaix, Leige, Lombardy, Flanders.

    I’m excited to see what Tony Panzerwagen can do in the new few years. Another that could go far.

  44. @wiscot

    @frank

    @Ccos

    @RedRanger

    White sun glasses are very hard to pull off and most people cant. Also, outside of the cycling word, have you seen the kind of people who wear white glasses?

    About his look, you know this dude’s thinking: “yep, nailed it.”

    In fairness, that ice cream cone looks mighty tasty.

    The nerd with no ice cream looks like he’s wearing a pair of “X-Ray Vision” glasses he got off a Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrapper and is saying “Hey! These things don’t work! The Chicks are still wearing clothes. What gives, bro?”

    Ice cream boy spent his hard earned cash on a cone and looks pleased with his choice.

    @Ccos

    @wiscot

    @frank

    @Ccos

    @RedRanger

    White sun glasses are very hard to pull off and most people cant. Also, outside of the cycling word, have you seen the kind of people who wear white glasses?

    About his look, you know this dude’s thinking: “yep, nailed it.”

    In fairness, that ice cream cone looks mighty tasty.

    The nerd with no ice cream looks like he’s wearing a pair of “X-Ray Vision” glasses he got off a Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrapper and is saying “Hey! These things don’t work! The Chicks are still wearing clothes. What gives, bro?”

    Ice cream boy spent his hard earned cash on a cone and looks pleased with his choice.

    Actually it’s a picture from the future of a fat Mark Cavendish and a less fat Bernie Eisel.

    Between these two posts, the internet has peaked. All downhill from here folks.

    @Ron

    meursault – I’m also intrigued at trying out shades from new/different manufacturers. Have a few pairs of Oakleys, those Salice’s look pretty darn cool for on-bike wearing. I’ve been digging some of the Uvex shades on the Giant-Shimano team and the (is it) R+ ones of Saxo-T, though not in yellow/blue.

    And hey, if you’ve got the Italian tricolor on your shades, then on your feet (if you are sporting Sidis), well what is cooler than head/toe Italian flags?

    Dutch flags, lions of flanders flags, v-cog flags, v-lion flags…

    @wiscot

    I know it’s just the angle of the shot, but doesn’t Stannard look like he’s riding a bike that more than a tad too small?

    Don’t get me started on frame sizing, mate.

  45. @wiscot

    @frank

    @wiscot

    Geraint Thomas needs to be let off the Sky leash – why do I always feel that he’s too often put “in service” rather than getting it. Stage 5 for example. I know he’s Froomedog’s dog, but imagine if he was riding for himself. I mean flats he does, hills he does and mountains not too shabby. Seems to recover well and stays out of trouble.

    I’d love to see him targeting a race like Liege; I realize its been completely taken over by the specialists like every other event in the sport has been the last 10 years or so, but a rider like him should be able to make a cheeky move from farther out and handle himself nicely.

    With the right training and focus, I could really see GT take on a Kelly-esque career. Maybe not the GT’s (yes, I know SK won the Vuelta) but one/two week stage races. He’s smart, aggressive and physically adaptable. No reason that he shouldn’t be looking at Roubaix, Leige, Lombardy, Flanders.

    I’m excited to see what Tony Panzerwagen can do in the new few years. Another that could go far.

    I’m amazed to see him climbing so well.

    Why are these big guys getting over mountains again? Is it because the bunch is cleaner and the climbers not as as astronomical or is it because the big boys are juiced? I prefer option A.

  46. @frank

    @wiscot

    @frank

    @wiscot

    Geraint Thomas needs to be let off the Sky leash – why do I always feel that he’s too often put “in service” rather than getting it. Stage 5 for example. I know he’s Froomedog’s dog, but imagine if he was riding for himself. I mean flats he does, hills he does and mountains not too shabby. Seems to recover well and stays out of trouble.

    I’d love to see him targeting a race like Liege; I realize its been completely taken over by the specialists like every other event in the sport has been the last 10 years or so, but a rider like him should be able to make a cheeky move from farther out and handle himself nicely.

    With the right training and focus, I could really see GT take on a Kelly-esque career. Maybe not the GT’s (yes, I know SK won the Vuelta) but one/two week stage races. He’s smart, aggressive and physically adaptable. No reason that he shouldn’t be looking at Roubaix, Leige, Lombardy, Flanders.

    I’m excited to see what Tony Panzerwagen can do in the new few years. Another that could go far.

    I’m amazed to see him climbing so well.

    Why are these big guys getting over mountains again? Is it because the bunch is cleaner and the climbers not as as astronomical or is it because the big boys are juiced? I prefer option A.

    Martin has jumped up a bunch places on my list of favorite riders in this Tour. Some really incredible riding. I already mentioned his heroic towing of Kwiatkowski in the mountains the day after his solo stage win. I really thought for a moment he might win Stage 15 the other day. He was riding away from everyone while trying to lead out the sprint! As far as pure power goes, there aren’t many who can match him right now.

    He had a really nice Casually Deliberate moment there too–hammering away, and very nonchalantly reaches up and pulls his shades down, like he wasn’t doing 50+kph.

  47. Thibaut been rocking them too.

  48. @meursault

    Thibaut been rocking them too.

    Negated by the all-white kit.

  49. Frank I always knew you were wrong with the silver V-shades.

  50. By that I mean white Jawbones with black lowers are awesome.

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