Winter bike shoes keep your feet warm and toasty on long rides. Lobster gloves have been specifically designed for cyclists to provide the best balance between warmth and dexterity. Many brands have released winter bike jackets specific to the sport that also protect from the elements. Cycling apparel has evolved to make getting out on the road in the dead of February a little more tolerable, but the industry is lacking in one area. Eye wear explicitly for winter cycling has not yet hit the general market. The solution? Some Canadian cyclists have been known to throw on a pair of ski goggles during the colder months.
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Alex Cormier, noted Instagrammer and winter cyclist, wears ski goggles in many of his iconic winter cycling photos. He claims the main benefits of goggles is the wind protection they offer in the harsh Quebec winter. “When its cold I tear up from the wind.” Says Cormier, “riding in -5 to -10 C, you need eye protection, and ski goggles definitely protect on windy days.”
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Unlike most sunglasses, ski goggles provide wind protection from all angles and won’t fog up in the cold. “Sunglasses get especially foggy when you’re wearing a full face mask,” says Cormier. He notes that they also give you the ability to cover your face completely, keeping your skin entirely protected from the elements.
What should you look for when shopping for ski goggles?
When buying goggles consider whether they will fit over your bike helmet. Bring your helmet when visiting MEC or your local ski retailer, and try on the goggles before purchasing. If you already have a ski helmet and you want to stay extra warm, consider wearing it out on your cold weather rides. Most ski helmets are rated at the same safety level as bike helmets and your ski goggles will sit comfortably on them.
Before buying goggles think about where you’ll be riding with them. Alex Cormier tends to ride mostly on trails so he chooses his eye wear accordingly. “I use lenses that are very dark, because the sun reflecting off the snow can be very bright,” he says. If you plan on riding in lower light conditions, be sure to get a lighter tint, such as yellow or even a clear lens.
Some ski goggles will reduce your peripheral vision, which could be dangerous if you’re riding in an area with heavy traffic. If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of the warmth ski goggles provide, take a page from downhill mountain bikers and grab a pair of mtb specific goggles.
When it comes to whether or not you should even be wearing ski goggles on the bike, Cormier thinks it all comes down to personal preference. “It’s like the socks over or under debate” he says, “Personally, I wear them because they do the job for me.”