On Rule #36: Cool Shades

CharlyMottet

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.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/frank@velominati.com/Shades/”/]

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56 Replies to “On Rule #36: Cool Shades”

  1. @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).

  2. @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.

  3. @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.

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