Since I started commuting to work on a bike about six years ago, I've learned to be quite adept at riding at night during the winter months.
Of course I rely on my Light & Motion high-intensity discharge light up front and a couple red flashing lights—one on my seatpost, the other behind my helmet—to make myself more visible than George Bush at an anti-war rally.
My biggest issue, however, has always been sorting out what kind of eyewear to use. In the mornings, for instance, I'm always getting a major blast of direct morning sunshine in my face, necessitating a pair of typical dark shades to reduce the glare. But at night, I need to shed the shades for a pair of clear lenses. Some would argue why not switch out lenses on one pair of frames? But I find it way more hassle than it's worth, despite the simplicity claims from manufacturers.
So in my never-ending quest to find multi-function performance eyewear, I came across Aruba Sport Eyewear at El Tour de Tucson this past November. Their claim to fame is that their frames are practically indestructible. Bend 'em, twist 'em and even sit on a pair and they'll snap right back to their original shape. Not sure I really wanted to try all that, but the Aruba Sport TR90 Nylon frames and arms are incredibly pliable and durable.
My 14-month-old got a hold of 'em and, try as he might, couldn't seem to break or bend the arms like he has to a half dozen or so of my cheap reading glasses.
Exclusive 13-layer Coating
But what I was most interested in were Aruba Sport's clear lens glasses with an exclusive 13-layer coating they call "titanium." According to founder Marc McKinney, Aruba Sport also feature an anti-reflective coating for glare caused by oncoming headlights or overhead street lights.
My pair of Wave sunglasses were especially welcome because they're designed for small- to medium-width faces. Since I have a narrow face, typical performance eye-wear is sure to give me the bug-eyed mosquito look. Not so with the Waves. They look sharp and are so incredibly light I can hardly tell they're on.
So back to my primary purpose for testing these babies: Could they serve my purposes for both my sunny morning rides and nighttime commutes?
For the morning rides, I'm happy to report that the slight tinting and anti-glare feature works very well in bright sunlight. While this wouldn't be my first choice if I were headed out for a sunny ride, the eyewear performs extremely well under low-light conditions.
So for my hour-long morning commute into work, I'm more than happy wearing these knowing I don't have to remember to tote another pair of clear lenses for my night ride later on.
As for the night riding, I'm very impressed with how well I can see even with what seems like slight tinting. I experimented with another pair of clear lens Rudy Project glasses and my Aruba Sport pair and found virtually no difference in ability to see when switching between the two.
I always wonder what motorists think as they watch me riding with no hands, at night, switching between pairs of glasses. Fortunately my wife doesn't read these articles.
No question the Aruba Sport did a better job reducing direct oncoming headlight glare than typical clear lenses. But that glare reduction comes at a slightly annoying price. I'll call it a ghosting—or doubling effect—for not so bright lights like automobile taillights.
While this ghosting effect is something that can easily be ignored, it's also slightly irritating once you know it's there. I'm assuming this probably has something to do with the 13 layers of protective coating Aruba Sport uses on its lenses.
That said, and given the choice, I still use the Aruba Sport eyewear for commuting because I love the large wrap-around shield and the convenience of just toting one pair of protective eyewear for my daily commutes.
I haven't tried any of their grey or polarized lenses, but I'd imagine they're just as good due to the excellent peripheral vision you get with the wrap-around fit and nearly indestructible frames. And at roughly half the price of other leading performance eyewear, Aruba Sport is definitely much kinder to your wallet.
The Wave retails for a very affordable $69.95 and weighs in at a scant 19 grams. Check out all the details and other models at www.arubasportsonline.com.