Glasses in the Rain

I was really looking forward to the end-of-semester break. My riding has fallen off in recent weeks, and the coming down time would give me the opportunity to rack up some miles on the bike.

My wife and I rode a whopping nine miles yesterday, amid spatters of rain.

Today, I am confined to the house, as waves of showers move north across Central Texas. After our rainless spring and summer, we need the moisture. But it sure interferes with my ride plans.

I’ve indicated before that if I’m out on a ride and get caught in a shower, it’s no big deal — I’ll soldier on home and not make much of it. But if it’s raining and I’m still in the house, I won’t be heading out to do a ride.

And my reason for not wanting to ride in the rain might not be what you expect. It’s not because I’m concerned about falling on wet pavement. I’ve done that before, so I’m extra cautious when I ride out there. It’s because of my glasses.

It doesn’t matter if they’re clear eyeglasses or dark sunglasses, they’re going to get spotted with raindrops. And that makes visibility an issue. I don’t like to be in a situation where I run the risk of hitting something that I couldn’t clearly see, because my glasses are covered with water.

These glasses have enough spotting after a couple of minutes in the rain to limit one's ability to see.

Maybe that’s a stupid reason not to ride. I know plenty of cyclists do go out and brave the rain. So here’s a question for them: How do you keep your glasses clear of water?

I use a method that kind of works: I use my index finger like a windshield wiper, and rub it across the lens a time or two. Sure, it’ll smear the lens a bit, but it also clears off the droplets, and I can see again. The glasses will need attention once the ride is over, but that’s no dig deal — they’d probably get cleaned anyway.

One old trick I’ve heard of is to smear some spit over your lenses. It sounds disgusting, but there apparently is some merit to it. However, I’ve also heard that the spit trick is really to be used when the lenses fog over. Up to now, I’ve only used my finger in those cases, too.

So how about it, veteran riders? What do you do to keep your glasses clear on a rainy day ride?


  1. pat says

    Hey Ray, I just went out tonight for a short 10 miler in the rain and used
    the baseball cap trick that i saw on your blog.. It worked
    a lot better than just the helmet visor. I had to stop to clear my
    glasses a few times. I have read that some folks use
    rainx on their lenses.

  2. Tomas says

    I, too, won’t ride if I can’t see. I always use a baseball cap under the helmet, pushing down until the bill rests on my glasses. As long as the rain isn’t horizontal, this works very well. I keep a cap with my rain gear for just this purpose.

  3. says

    I’m lucky enough to still be able to wear contacts, tho I swear the print on anything I try to read is continually shrinking… However, I always wear sunglasses when I ride so I’m really in the same boat as you. My bike helmet has a visor which helps a lot, but I too usually resort to the “finger wiper” method. At least I do have the option of removing the sunglasses if it becomes too much of a problem. Every now and then I’ll blink out a contact but since I carry spare lenses it’s usually little more than an annoyance.

  4. says

    Rain on the glasses is a problem. My distance presription is pretty light, so it’s not a big deal to just take them off and put them in my pocket if I choose. I also use the one finger wipe, and I’ve noticed lately that I catch myself looking over the top of the lenses quite a bit.

    I’ve tried the baseball cap under the helmet trick and just couldn’t pull it off because of the bulk. I’ve got a new running hat that is quite a bit less bulky, so I may try that one of these days to see if it might work.

  5. Don says

    I wear contact lenses but always ride in cycling glasses to protect my eyes from wind, bugs and the occasional rock that comes my way. In rain I wear a cycling cap. It is less bulky than a baseball cap, so it fits better under a helmet. Also the cap’s bill easily bends up and out of the way when not needed and also adds to one’s cycling style.

  6. says

    Before my Lasik surgery in 2001, I had 20/700 vision – bad enough to be legally blind if it wasn’t correctable – so I GREATLY sympathize with your problem. The only solution I would offer is the hat mentioned earlier, but even then that will not stop the worst rain storms. In those situations, I would recommend taking a rain check. Seeing things are kinda important when you cycle.

  7. says

    I had my eyes lasered 5 years ago after wearing glasses since I was 4 years old. Best thing I ever had done and something I wished I had had done years earlier. I used to wear contacts for anything active, rugby/military/cycling but unfortunately my eyes could only stand about 4 hours max of contact use.

    When the rain/hail or snow comes I know how it can sting your eyes, so this is where my peaked MTB helmet comes into play, push it forward on your head a tad and look slightly down and hey presto no more weather in your eyes!

  8. Ronnie Bolling says

    They make gloves with the right index finger having a rubber “sweegie” molded to the finger. I bought mine at a local BMW motorcycle shop

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