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Monday
Jun022014

Cycling Specific Prescription Sunglasses

I have been wearing prescription glasses for 30 years now, and for whatever reason have never previously owned a pair of cycling specific prescription eye wear.

Having taken delivery just over a week ago, of a pair of Rudy Project Horus frames, (Picture Right.) with fully progressive bi-focal lenses, I am now wondering why on earth I didn’t do this sooner.

I can only put it down to ignorance, and never taking the time to research what was available. I have always made do with my regular prescription glasses with clip-on sunglasses. That seemed to be my only option when I went to my local eye wear provider.

Last month I discovered Sport RX, a company in San Diego who specialize in sport eyewear and sunglasses. It had never occurred to me that the wrap-around style of lens that cycling sunglasses have could be easily made up with prescription lenses just like any other glasses. So I ordered a pair.

I spoke on the phone with Rob Tavakoli who went over my options. They had a wide range of frames available including Oakley, Nike, and all the other popular models. I chose the Rudy Project Horus frames in Grey and Anthracite. I liked the shape of these made in Italy frames. They were available in other colors, but I felt the more conservative grey was more my style.

I explained to Rob that most of my riding in South Carolina was done in extremely bright sunlight. He suggested what he called their “Win, win” lenses. So called because they are silver coated outside and so block out a lot of glare and harmful rays, but at the same time looking from the inside, out, there a lot of color contrast and clear visibility.

Above: Win Win Lenses in Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ

This is achieved with a rose/copper tint to the lens. Rob explained that with some grey or green tints, shadows blend in with the grey asphalt, and it is not so easy to pick out wet and dry patches, and bumps and potholes in the road for example.

With these lenses the colors pop, and on many of my summertime rides, because of the heat, I set out early around 6 am. just before sunrise. With these glasses I can still see clearly even in the low light.

Rob offered to send me frames to try on, but I didn’t feel this was necessary, as I gave him my helmet size, and my head measurement. The glasses fit perfectly. With my regular glasses that I have always worn, there was a lot of glare coming in all around, especially from the side. 

My previous regular glasses tended to slip down my nose, especially when I started sweating, and I end up peering over the top of the frames. These glasses being cycling specific fit firmly but comfortably on my head and don't move.

Although the frames are quite thick and go all around the lens, because they are curved and fit closer to the face, the frames are not in my line of vision if I look up, down or sideways.

One of the biggest safety aspects I have found, with my regular glasses, when I turned my head to look behind, the edge of the glasses and the frames were always right in my line of vision.

With these new glasses, when I turn my head I am looking through the lens, where it appears the corrective prescription works right around the curve to the edge. Plus there is no glare coming in the sides.

The reason I had the glasses made in no-line progressive bi-focal lenses, is because I may occasionally need to read something, or fix a flat, or make some minor adjustment to the bike. With these being bi-focal there is no need to carry a separate pair of reading glasses.

Having the very bottom edge of the lens made for close up reading, does not affect the distance vision of the rest of the lens. Riding my bike, I am leaning forward, looking up anyway.

As I started out saying, I cannot understand why I didn’t treat myself to a pair of these glasses before. Like many other cyclists, I spend money on all the right equipment. Clothes too, shoes, helmet, my comfort is important.

And yet all these years I have neglected the vision part, which is important for my eyes, my safety, and is just one more thing to make my cycling experience just that much better.

Like many aspects in life, ignorance is bliss, and I never knew what I was missing until I tried something that is a vast improvement.

Thank you Rob, and all at SportRx.

 

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Friday
May162014

Everyone's a photographer

Everyone has a camera in their pocket, their cell phone. But just because you can take a picture of just about anything at any time, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you are in a Starbucks and you have a camera, doesn’t mean you should take a picture of your cup of coffee and post it online somewhere.

Such behavior twenty years ago would warrant incarceration in a mental institution, today it is common place. At the Giro d’Italia recently, German sprinter Marcel Kittel won a stage, and briefly collapsed at the roadside, to catch his breath. A young fan took it upon himself to take a “Selfie” with the temporarily incapacitated Kittel. (See above picture.)

I doubt he asked permission first, and even if he had, did Marcel Kittel have the breath, or fully functioning brain to even grasp what was happening? And what is the purpose of this exercise? Does taking one’s picture with a famous person, somehow cause that person’s fame to rub off on the picture taker.

The other point that seems to be missed, is while everyone is so busy filming or taking pictures they are missing out on the actual event that is taking place. We have always had a “Camera” with us, it is called a memory.

I can remember 1951, a long time ago. I was 15 years old and had my first lightweight racing bike. I rode with a friend some 40 or 50 miles to watch the first Tour of Britain bike race. The memory of waiting by the roadside for the race to come by, and seeing the actual riders in the flesh, rather than black and white pictures in a paper, is still fresh in my mind today.

A 15 year old today going out to watch a similar race, will probably whip out his cell phone and record the race as it goes by. He will miss seeing his heroes in the flesh because he will be staring at an image on a tiny screen a few inches across.

Will today’s 15 year old fan have the same vivid memory of the event 63 years from now? I doubt it, and the pictures or video he took will be long gone, lost or deleted along with all the countless other pictures of cups of coffee, and bowls of guacamole.

 

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Thursday
May082014

Sawmill Bike Path, closure at Bacons Bridge Road.

This post is for the benefit of my local area cyclists. The popular Sawmill Branch Walk and Bike Path in Summerville, South Carolina, is closed at the bridge that takes the path under Bacons Bridge Road (165.) due to road widening and bridge work. I am sure it will be closed for the rest of 2014 and may run into next year.

There is a fairly easy diversion but it is not official and consequently is not marked. If traveling east, turn left on the paved path just past the Pump house, about a quarter mile before Bacons Bridge. The path joins residential streets, turn right, and right again on Holly Street.

Holly Street emerges on Bacons Bridge just above an entrance to the bike path on the opposite side. Bacons Bridge is a busy main road, but experienced cyclists should not have a problem crossing. I am sure this diversion will not be officially marked because of the problem of crossing Bacons Bridge. I would not recommend it for the inexperienced or feint hearted.

The good thing is, in either direction you make a right onto Bacons Bridge Road, so you wait for a gap in traffic, then turn right. Oncoming traffic on the opposite side is clearly visable. Take the lane, and wait for a gap in the opposing traffic, and complete the next left turn. Make sure you use a hand signal so everyone knows what you are doing. The road works on the bridge does tend to work in our favor, as it slows traffic.

If traveling west towards Down Town Summerville, take the right fork where the trail splits, and emerge on Bacons Bridge. Turn right, and left in about 50 yards into Holly Street. In about a quarter of a mile turn left (It’s a dual entrance, with a sign that says "Arbor Oaks.") after turning go straight, and after a right hand curve, look for the path entrance on the left, to rejoin the Sawmill Trail.

The Sawmill Branch Trail Is used as a safe route to get from one end of Summerville to the other. Many cyclists on weekend rides on local rural roads use the Sawmill Trail as a means to get there. I intend to keep using the trail during these road works, I hope others will find this diversion useful. Please, stay safe and use extra care while using this alternate route.

 

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Monday
May052014

Art, and the Artist’s Ego

I had an interesting discussion the other day. I stated that without the artist’s ego, there would be no art, and who would create anything if they thought no one would look at it?

There was immediate disagreement and counter argument that the joy is in creating itself. And if the artist creates what others like rather that what he likes then is it really art? I don’t entirely disagree with either of these statements.

I am very much aware of artists who go “commercial,” and create what is popular with the masses. I see that every day in crap TV programs, movies and music. I appreciate when artists create what they believe in. Without a pioneer spirit nothing new would be created.

However, the original statement was concerned with the artist’s ego and one has to look closely at the word “Ego.” We are often taught that to have an ego is a bad thing, but I look at the dictionary definition and it means “Self-esteem,” a person’s sense of worth.

On the other hand there is the word “Egotist,” which means “Self Centered,” is definitely not a good thing. Initially, artists create for their own gratification, the joy of looking at what they have done.

Does this joy not come from the boost to their self-esteem or ego? Who does not step back and look at their work and say to themselves, “Look at what I have done here, I am a pretty cleaver fellow.”

There comes a point however, where one must move on from this self-gratification and seek validation from others. This validation may not be immediately forthcoming, and this is where it is important for the artist to continue with what he truly believes in.

This is not always easy for the performing artist, musician, singer/songwriter, actor or comedian. By nature of their art, they must have an audience, validation from others. And ultimately so must every other artist, be they painter, sculptor, or writer. What would be to point in my writing here, if no one read it?

The artist always treads a fine line between pleasing themselves and pleasing others. Sometimes originality is so original that no one but the artist understands. They can carry on, hoping their audience will eventually “Get it.” Or they can tweak their art so others do understand and see value in it, without completely “Selling out.”  

There are many people who create for no other reason than their own relaxation. They draw or paint, or write in private journals with no intention of sharing. No one is obligated to share what they create.

However, just as the old question, does a tree falling in a forest make a sound if there is no one there to hear it? If an artist creates something and no one else sees it, is it really art?

And is it not the validation of an artist’s work by others, and especially input from his peers that enables an artist to grow, and create even better things?

What are your views?

 

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Thursday
Apr242014

Marketing

Marketing is always a tough nut for the artist. All he wants to do is create, but then there comes a point where he must market what he creates in order to survive and continue creating.

It is tough when you have a product that you know is superior, but lose sales because some large corporation has more marketing clout.

This happened many times with me in the 1980s when customers would be on the brink of buying one of my bikes, then at the last moment opt for a Japanese Nishiki, on Centurion. Both good bicycles of that era, but could never compare to a hand built frame made by an individual craftsman.

The only reason they did this was marketing. These large manufacturers could place full page color ads in Bicycling Magazine. But at $10,000 a pop for a such an ad there was no way I could compete.

I had to rely on bicycle dealers to sell to a small group of hard core cyclists who could appreciate the difference between a limited production hand built frame, and a factory mass produced item.

Today the Internet levels the playing field somewhat but only slightly. It still takes time and effort for an individual to build a following with social media, websites, etc. Does the individual artist have the time or inclination to do that?

I also feel it is a big mistake to be too pushy. I don’t know about you, but it turns me off when the only message people have is buy, buy, buy, whatever it is that I’m selling. I am a strong believer that it is better to give than receive, and if a person keeps writing stuff that people want to read, his needs will always be met. Of course marketing professionals will cringe at this.

I remember back in the 1980s having a conversation with neighboring business owner about the way all our manufacturing jobs were starting to go overseas. He stated, “We will eventually become a nation of people selling insurance to each other.”

I remember his prophesy because it is fast becoming true, we are becoming a nation of marketers. Look at the ads on TV, Big Pharma and Insurance Companies. The only hope insurance companies have of getting new customers, is to steal them from another company. The cost of all this advertising is eventually passed on to the consumer.

With no one is creating or manufacturing anything. (At least not here.) We have an awful lot of people at this moment selling ideas on how we should all market ourselves. We have all manner of consultants, life coaches, and investment coaches. It is like a homeless man on the street begging for change, and being told, “Give me ten dollars and I’ll show you how to monetize your homelessness.”

The old cliché of “The rat race,” is never as true as it is now in these tough economic times, as people scramble over each other to get ahead. A certain amount of marketing is necessary to sell a product, but it saddens me to see worthless brands and ideas that serve no other purpose but to take people’s money. Don’t push your fellow man down to get ahead, help him over the obstacle first, and he in turn will help you over.

 

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