CharlyMottet

On Rule #36: Cool Shades

On Rule #36: Cool Shades

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Forget quick-release skewer, the mechanical derailleur, carbon frames, or disc wheels. Never mind clipless pedals or brake-mounted shifters. Scratch those deep-section road wheels, lightweight helmets, or miracle fabrics.

The most important innovation in Cycling had nothing to do with those incremental advances, but rather with the invention of Cycling-Specific eyewear. To begin with, they allowed the Cyclist the privilege of being able to see where they were going, and avoided the indignity of having the eyes tear up on a descent. After all, no one needs to look like they’re crying because the speeds are too high. They also protect the eyes, saving them for important things like the admiration of the opposite sex.

Most importantly, however, they look cool as hell. And, as Paul Fournel rightly pointed out in Need for the Bike, to look good is already to go fast. To go fast, you need to look fast.

Oakley is widely considered to be the pioneer of cycling-specific eyewear, but others were doing Merckx’s work in that avenue at about the same time. While Greg LeMond and Phil Anderson were leading the arms race for the American eyewear specialist, another of my childhood favorites, Charly Mottet, was also busy sporting some prototype Rudy Projects and setting an early high water mark in the art of Looking Fantastic.

Once Cyclists sorted out that shades make you cool (we’re not as clever as rock stars), the late Eighties and early Nineties saw an explosion of rad eyewear in the peloton. Here are some standouts from the period.

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// Accessories and Gear // Etiquette // Nostalgia // Technology

  1. @Optimiste

    The coolness of Mottet’s shades was necessary to offset the awesomeness of those guns. Geesh! My attempts on both accounts are comparatively negligible.

    Heh…new formula:    Guns x Shades = K (onstant)

  2. Oakley Radars with the deep Range lens in rose, with a clear lens for night riding, for me.

  3. Never a truer word written frank.

    Two coolPantani rockin' itTony looking fantasticPhil with the originals and mullet. Too much going on!

  4. Check out the handlebars on LeMan’s bike.

  5. Somehow Hesjedal’s shades weren’t as cool

  6. @Optimiste

    The coolness of Mottet’s shades was necessary to offset the awesomeness of those guns. Geesh! My attempts on both accounts are comparatively negligible.

    His guns look like they’re photoshopped for Merckx sake; those skinny ankles, calves and enviable quads.

    Whereas I have kankles.

  7. @The Pressure

    Somehow Hesjedal’s shades weren’t as cool

    If he’d been winning rather than mid-packing it, it might have been one thing but they were just awful.

    The only real memory I have of them is him climbing out of the saddle, going off the back.

  8. @HigherGround

    I had a pair of those early Rudy Projects from 1987. Unfortunately, they were lost during a foray in to the Dark Side (mountain biking). I also had a pair of the Oakley Factory Pilots. I’m not sure where they are now, but an expedition through my parents’ basement may be in order. They’d probably sell for a pretty penny on Ebay. I confess that I have spent way too much time agonizing over which pair of Oakleys to get for replacing my current Smith Optics.

    On a side note, my not-so- inner Beavis keeps chuckling at that picture of Mottet during a time trial. I am sure it provided a nice base to push against, but it looks like he’s on a miniature toilet. And did anyone notice the Scott Struts on LeMond’s bike? I recall reading that the first time he sprinted on them, they almost took his front wheel out from under him because of the direct connection and lack of flex in the bars.

    I’ve got some of that solid gold laying around too, I’ll have to see if I can rustle them up. Gianni sent me his old Pilots which I can locate – I also have Briko Shots and these, which I can’t recall the model name of.

    Stingers

    Shots.

  9. You have really done it now. This is the perfect holiday post. I never owned any brikos but they model Pantani (the stingers?) wore were so weird and awesome at the same time. I hate how sunnies hide racers eyes but they sure do amp up the stud factor.

  10. @il ciclista medio

    Never a truer word written frank.

    Two cool

    Who is this slick dude with Cipo? He looks like one of the Italians Charlie Weglius talks about: their concerns are just about how skinny they are, cars, and women. Probably in that order.

  11. Somewhere I still have some Stingers. And some Oakleys. Gonna go digging.

  12. @frank

    @The Pressure

    Somehow Hesjedal’s shades weren’t as cool

    If he’d been winning rather than mid-packing it, it might have been one thing but they were just awful.

    The only real memory I have of them is him climbing out of the saddle, going off the back.

    “Weekend at Bernie’s ” audition

  13. @Gianni

    @il ciclista medio

    Never a truer word written frank.

    Two cool

    Who is this slick dude with Cipo? He looks like one of the Italians Charlie Weglius talks about: their concerns are just about how skinny they are, cars, and women. Probably in that order.

    Alessio Di Basco with some serious manscaping going on.

  14. Dug these up from waaay back in the drawer;


    Pilots, Blades and the all round versatile Frogskins.

    Still cool to roll in em?

  15. @sthilzy

    Dug these up from waaay back in the drawer;

    Pilots, Blades and the all round versatile Frogskins.

    Still cool to roll in em?

    Lachlan Morton would probably say so.

  16. I’m very sad I missed the early days of cyclospecific shades. I LOVE the Rudys on Mottet.

    I have spent a few weeks going around and around with Oakley, trying to get them to replace some lenses that delaminated. I think they’re finally going to do it, but only after many calls, emails and letters. I think their customer service is fucking terrible. I don’t care about a 1-year warranty, something is fucked with these, so replace them. Stand behind your product.

    To highlight how much they suck – I broke a Force shifter recently. Did SRAM ask when I bought it? No. Did they say it was far too old? No. Did they replace just the right shifter? No (cause they didn’t have any Force in stock.) What did they do: give me a pair of Red shifters.

  17. @Cyclops Us semi-blind folks can rock Smith Optics all day. Or Rudy Projects, but I found them less comfortable.

  18. @sthilzy Absolutely!!

  19. In slide #5, is Mottet riding with a single speed or is that straight-block so tiny my eyes can’t discern individual cogs?

  20. Oops – trouble loading the pic

  21. Don’t know if this will work or not…..

    LeMan’s Facebook post….

  22. @BaltoSteve  it was a straight block to start with. Chuck pushed that hard on the pedals and the high chair, he stripped all the teeth off!

  23. Surely you know Andy White sells a range of Briko’s on his website?

    fyxomatosis.com.au

    That guy knows cool, even if he is a ginger ninja…

  24. I want to see more of that “saddle”

  25. I always roll Rule #36 compliant. However, I’ve given up on Oakleys. While I’ve had a couple of pairs and liked them quite a bit, they have gotten entirely too spendy, especially considering that every swinging dick in town wears them. Even my LBS, who stocks them, admits they are overpriced.

    Right now my regular set are Tifosi, which I get a small discount on through my club, but even without that I could get two pair of them (with 3 lens sets each, mind you) and still have dough left over for a bagful of gels or whatever. Plus I really like them, and at the price I don’t have to freak out about how to handle them like I would if they were $120+. (I wear Ray-bans when on foot, which I’m mindful to keep good care of.)

    Sorry, Oakley, but for me, your time has passed.

  26. @BaltoSteve

    In slide #5, is Mottet riding with a single speed or is that straight-block so tiny my eyes can’t discern individual cogs?

    No, it’s a straight block. The only person who uses a derailleur on a “single speed” is Jens. And that’s just for when he burns through each subsequent 11t. But even then, his 10th cog is his escape gear –  douze.

  27. @frank

    @BaltoSteve

    In slide #5, is Mottet riding with a single speed or is that straight-block so tiny my eyes can’t discern individual cogs?

    No, it’s a straight block. The only person who uses a derailleur on a “single speed” is Jens. And that’s just for when he burns through each subsequent 11t. But even then, his 10th cog is his escape gear – douze.

    Recently determined how to build a Campy 11-20 (10s) true straight block. News on this operation to follow later on.

  28. As long as overly fashionable Assos and knockoffs keep off of riders faces, I am happy

  29. @Weldertron

    I want to see more of that “saddle”

    As do I. what is the purpose of the “high chair” he is riding with?

  30. Who could forget this..

    https://twitter.com/brianparker1710/status/363349865243222017/photo/1

  31. file://localhost/Users/brianparkerMacBook%20HD/Desktop/BQrgxv-CIAEwP6f.jpg-large.jpeg

  32. Once you have the cool shades, the universal question is: Over or under the helmet straps?

  33. @bikezen

    Once you have the cool shades, the universal question is: Over or under the helmet straps?

    Still working up to Rule #37 then?

  34. @DCR

    @Weldertron

    I want to see more of that “saddle”

    As do I. what is the purpose of the “high chair” he is riding with?

    I believe it was to give him something to push against, for better leverage.  If I remember correctly, the Italian national team used another approach in the TTT at the Worlds one year, when they wore belts that had them tethered by a cable to the top tube of their bikes.  The idea was that they could pull against the cable to help stabilize the core and give them more leverage.  I think Assos actually was involved, but I could be wrong.  I only saw it one year.

  35. @ToeOverlap

    I always roll Rule #36 compliant. However, I’ve given up on Oakleys. While I’ve had a couple of pairs and liked them quite a bit, they have gotten entirely too spendy, especially considering that every swinging dick in town wears them. Even my LBS, who stocks them, admits they are overpriced.

    Right now my regular set are Tifosi, which I get a small discount on through my club, but even without that I could get two pair of them (with 3 lens sets each, mind you) and still have dough left over for a bagful of gels or whatever. Plus I really like them, and at the price I don’t have to freak out about how to handle them like I would if they were $120+. (I wear Ray-bans when on foot, which I’m mindful to keep good care of.)

    Sorry, Oakley, but for me, your time has passed.

    Do you notice any significant difference in quality or comfort?

  36. @HigherGround

    @DCR

    @Weldertron

    I want to see more of that “saddle”

    As do I. what is the purpose of the “high chair” he is riding with?

    I believe it was to give him something to push against, for better leverage. If I remember correctly, the Italian national team used another approach in the TTT at the Worlds one year, when they wore belts that had them tethered by a cable to the top tube of their bikes. The idea was that they could pull against the cable to help stabilize the core and give them more leverage. I think Assos actually was involved, but I could be wrong. I only saw it one year.

    Thought it was the Spanish in the ’92 Olympics….

  37. @Teocalli

    @bikezen

    Once you have the cool shades, the universal question is: Over or under the helmet straps?

    Still working up to Rule #37 then?

    Oh I live Rule #37 but it was also pointed out to me that Sven Nys does not.

  38. @bikezen

    @Teocalli

    @bikezen

    Once you have the cool shades, the universal question is: Over or under the helmet straps?

    Still working up to Rule #37 then?

    Oh I live Rule #37 but it was also pointed out to me that Sven Nys does not.

    Check out the photos of all the pros in their preseason training toting around Rule #29 breaking EPMSs.  Just because the pros do it, it doesn’t make it ok.  As much as I love and respect Sven, eyewear temples go outside the straps, period.

     

  39. Late to the party here, but picture 8 is the killer shot: the shades, the backwards cap, the RMO jersey and, of course, those red Rivat shoes – the finest looking shoes ever produced.

  40. @VeloVita

    @bikezen

    @Teocalli

    @bikezen

    Once you have the cool shades, the universal question is: Over or under the helmet straps?

    Still working up to Rule #37 then?

    Oh I live Rule #37 but it was also pointed out to me that Sven Nys does not.

    Check out the photos of all the pros in their preseason training toting around Rule #29 breaking EPMSs. Just because the pros do it, it doesn’t make it ok. As much as I love and respect Sven, eyewear temples go outside the straps, period.

    Well, that clears things up very nicely, like a lens polishing of the 29th…

  41. @VeloVita

    @bikezen

    @Teocalli

    @bikezen

    Once you have the cool shades, the universal question is: Over or under the helmet straps?

    Still working up to Rule #37 then?

    Oh I live Rule #37 but it was also pointed out to me that Sven Nys does not.

    Check out the photos of all the pros in their preseason training toting around Rule #29 breaking EPMSs. Just because the pros do it, it doesn’t make it ok. As much as I love and respect Sven, eyewear temples go outside the straps, period.

    To see this, this justifies every effort The Keepers have made here at Velominati. It brings a tear to my eye and renews my focus to continue the quest.

    We are not about Looking Pro. We are about Looking Fantastic. In most cases the Pros have a leg up, but just because a Pro (or many of them) do it, does not mean it Looks Fantastic. Looking Pro is a good place to start, but Looking Fantastic is to transcend the narrow scope of the people getting paid to ride their bikes and applying their lessons to our individual style to achieve Magnificence.

    Man, I should write that down somewhere.

  42. @frank

    @VeloVita

    @bikezen

    @Teocalli

    @bikezen

    Once you have the cool shades, the universal question is: Over or under the helmet straps?

    Still working up to Rule #37 then?

    Oh I live Rule #37 but it was also pointed out to me that Sven Nys does not.

    Check out the photos of all the pros in their preseason training toting around Rule #29 breaking EPMSs. Just because the pros do it, it doesn’t make it ok. As much as I love and respect Sven, eyewear temples go outside the straps, period.

    To see this, this justifies every effort The Keepers have made here at Velominati. It brings a tear to my eye and renews my focus to continue the quest.

    We are not about Looking Pro. We are about Looking Fantastic. In most cases the Pros have a leg up, but just because a Pro (or many of them) do it, does not mean it Looks Fantastic. Looking Pro is a good place to start, but Looking Fantastic is to transcend the narrow scope of the people getting paid to ride their bikes and applying their lessons to our individual style to achieve Magnificence.

    Man, I should write that down somewhere.

    Another example of why you @Frank are the instructor, and I am the student…..

  43. Spent the week at my house up in Michigan, and pulled out some oldies. First up, a pair of Mapei team issue Briko Bolds.  I remember getting these from Mick at Prendas Ciclismo, back before the time of the internet. I think I ordered them off an ad at the back of CycleSport magazine. While the Italians get it right on style, their optic tech is a bit off. When riding in these, you get the feeling you are sitting roughly 6-8 inches higher than you actually are.
    Next, we have an early rendition from Rudy Project, as rocked by Moreno Argentine at Ariostea and Fondriest at Del Tongo.

  44. @Mikael Liddy

    @HigherGround

    @DCR

    @Weldertron

    I want to see more of that “saddle”

    As do I. what is the purpose of the “high chair” he is riding with?

    I believe it was to give him something to push against, for better leverage. If I remember correctly, the Italian national team used another approach in the TTT at the Worlds one year, when they wore belts that had them tethered by a cable to the top tube of their bikes. The idea was that they could pull against the cable to help stabilize the core and give them more leverage. I think Assos actually was involved, but I could be wrong. I only saw it one year.

    Thought it was the Spanish in the ’92 Olympics….

    Definately the Italians, 1987 in Austria. My recollectino is that is was banned immediately after. If not, and the Spanish used it in ’92, it didn’t help (they came in 5th).

  45. On the subject of shades, anyone have a recommendation for prescription versions. Have tried the goggles with inserts when snowboarding and they were hellishly crap. Don’t get on with contacts either. At the moment just ride with rayban prescription aviators a la badger , although I don’t think he sported them for long!

    http://rouleur.cc/journal/bicycles/glazed-over-sunglasses-20th-century-peloton

  46. @the-farmer

    On the subject of shades, anyone have a recommendation for prescription versions. Have tried the goggles with inserts when snowboarding and they were hellishly crap. Don’t get on with contacts either. At the moment just ride with rayban prescription aviators a la badger , although I don’t think he sported them for long!

    http://rouleur.cc/journal/bicycles/glazed-over-sunglasses-20th-century-peloton

    I’ve ridden with prescription Oakleys for the last 4 years.  They’ve been excellent.

  47. @Mike_P

    I’ve ridden with prescription Oakleys for the last 4 years. They’ve been excellent.

    The VMH just got some and loves them. Not cheap but apparently worth the investment.

  48. @the-farmer

    On the subject of shades, anyone have a recommendation for prescription versions. Have tried the goggles with inserts when snowboarding and they were hellishly crap. Don’t get on with contacts either. At the moment just ride with rayban prescription aviators a la badger , although I don’t think he sported them for long!

    http://rouleur.cc/journal/bicycles/glazed-over-sunglasses-20th-century-peloton

    Rudy Project do some that take a prescription insert that work well.

  49. Me, Ventoux. Salice 005s with the green lenses.

    doctornige. Ventoux legs, baby.

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