by Mitch Trujillo, PCI #244T/EMSCI #248T
Boulder (CO) Police Department
Technology’s potential is dependent upon its exploitation.
It is well-proven that a pair of quality, UV-rated, tinted sunglasses protects against glare, harmful rays, and eye strain. The lenses act as a shield for airborne debris (e.g., shrapnel, bugs, sputum, etc.). They allow us to see more clearly in varying conditions and enable us to perform high risk tasks, like patrolling by bike.
These are but a few of the advantages. There is a company, however, that exploits eyewear technology in a unique way by adding a feature to its glasses that enhances vision in ways you wouldn’t expect. That added feature is spot magnification. That company is Dual.
You may have already heard of Dual, a small company based in Boulder, Colorado, that specializes in sunglasses with built-in spot readers. You probably have already read the product reviews by my esteemed colleagues, Kirby Beck and Mike Harris (IPMBA News, Fall 2015). Both reviews praised the flagship Dual SL2 Pro model and its spot magnification technology.
But some of you might be thinking, “My eyes are just fine”, or “I’ll just buy a pair of cheap readers”. Okay, sure, you can just take a chance with your favorite expensive sunglasses and/or carry your cheap readers in your pocket. But if your line of work is hard on your eyewear, or taking a timeout in the middle of a call to change glasses is tactically unsound, then maybe, if you read on, you might discover that the technology Dual employs will benefit the cyclist with perfect vision, combine durability with value, and enhance safe riding techniques and tactics.
Dual continues to develop new models. The TX is one of its latest. It has become my favorite pair, from their Cycling-Sport line. The model uses raw aluminum adjustable arms, black Grilamid TR-90 (thermoplastic nylon) frames, and 100% UVA, UVB, and UVC lenses. It also looks very classy on or off the bike.
Pros: The glasses have proven to be extremely durable. The frames are strong and flexible, and the aluminum arms bend to the wearer’s head dimensions. The lens curvature has just the right amount of wraparound for wind protection, and each lens has a cutout area near the temple which I’ve found promotes air flow and decreases fogging. The arm tips have rubber as do the adjustable nose pieces. At less than an ounce, I can barely discern any weight.
The clarity of the lenses rivals some of the nicest lenses around. I’ve inadvertently dropped the glasses on the ground several times, and there is nary a scratch. The lenses hold securely, but will pop off upon significant impact, which allows the glasses to collapse before breaking. So they are scratch-proof and impact-resistant.
I do have 20:15 vision, but struggle with mild farsightedness that requires me to have spot readers with a 2.0 diopter. Dual offers 1.5, 2.0, or 2.5 diopters for each of its models. Selecting a diopter is easy. Just go to Dual’s website and view any model. Skim down the menu on the right side of the screen and select “Choosing Viewing Powers” for helpful advice.
TXploited: That brings me to maybe the most overlooked feature, but one that benefits public safety cyclists. The spot reader is a small section of the bottom corner of each lens that allows the rider to keep his/her head up and facing forward, while the eyes can glance down through the spot readers at a bike computer without actually tilting the head. Close-up tasks, like writing a ticket, treating a wound, fine-tuning a bike, and focusing on a small keyboard or screen are easily accomplished in the same fashion while off the bike.
Now, why would the simple tilting of your head down to focus on what’s below be a potential safety issue? Quite simply, because if your head is held upright, only your eyes will track up and down, allowing less body movement, and ultimately, a fuller view of what’s in front of you. Subtle? Perhaps. But for public safety cyclists, every little thing counts.
Cons: I can find only one downside to the TX. While the lenses are replaceable, Dual has not introduced a clear or amber lens. I’ve been told they will come out later in the year. I’m willing to wait to broaden the TX potential.
Pricing: The Dual TX is listed at $69.95 retail. Subtract the discount of 40% off (IPMBA Product Purchase Program), and they cost a very reasonable $42. Well worth the price for me. There are other models on their website worth looking at. I can’t wait to get the ThinOptics.
I’d definitely recommend Dual Eyewear’s TX model for bike operations. Check them out at http://www.dualeyewear.com/cycling-sport/dual-tx.html, for further details, and go to Dual’s listing in IPMBA’s Product Purchase Program for ordering information.
Be safe. Ride, rest, repeat.
Mitch is a law enforcement professional in Boulder, CO, IPMBA Instructor Trainer, a member of the IPMBA Industry Relations Committee, former Education Director & Board Member, BMA Volunteer Bike Patroller, IPA connoisseur, and is the director of MTB Responder, LLC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy Dual Eyewear.
(c) 2017 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of IPMBA News.