An eye for marginal gains

Cycling has enjoyed a revival in recent years thanks to GB’s cycling team who put in legendary performances in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and every major competition since. Before Beijing, medals and accolades were somewhat sporadic. GB cyclists could rarely be picked out from the sea of lycra and Oakley Sunglasses. When David Brailsford was appointed coach everything seemed to change.

In 2010 most people were sceptical when GB Cycling Coach David Brailsford introduced the concept of marginal gains to the sport. He claimed that by embedding this theory into his coaching style, the GB cycling team would win the Tour de France in just 5 years. Even when the GB team won seven out of ten medals in the Beijing Olympics many overlooked the coaches’ minimal changes that he had introduced.

However, when the cycling team matched their Beijing achievements in the 2012 London Olympics, people began questioning Brailsford about his marginal gains tactic.

“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

Some of the changes made by Brailsford were obvious. He analyses the nutrition of riders with a view to optimise their diet for training and competitions. He sought to improve their weekly training programme to increase fitness and stamina. Brailsford even turned his attending to the quality of the bikes themselves; the ergonomics of the bike seat and the weight of the tires.

But Brailsford didn’t stop there. Those kinds of changes wouldn’t be enough to allow the team to successfully beat the competition and dominated every race. He insisted that each member of his team discovered which pillow offered the most comfortable night’s sleep. He tested for the most effective massage gel and ensured that every member of the team knew how to wash their hands properly in order to avoid infection. Brailsford believed that small, seemingly insignificant changes would spell victory, no matter how close the photo finish was.

One aspect of cycling that didn’t need addressing by Brailsford in the outdoor competitions was the choice of eyewear. Wearing a high quality pair of shades is a necessity in competitions like the Tour de France. Getting rain water or grit in your eye could be the difference between first and second place. For years, Oakley Sunglasses have been the undoubtable favourites.

All of the GB greats, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome have been spotted wearing eyewear brand. But what makes the designs so effective in cycling?

UV protection

Of course, UV protection is important whether you’re a cyclist or not. However, if you are exposed to blistering heat for hours on end and have no option of sitting in the shade then you’ll need more protection than normal. Oakley sunglasses provide a high UVA/UVB rating, offering cyclists all the protection they need. Using Plutonite lens material, Oakley lenses stops every bit of UV radiation.

Polarized lenses

Polarized lenses filter out most of the glare from the sun. Using a unique molding process Oakley produces one, single layered lens that is free from glue and sandwiching. Polarised lenses were developed for elite sports champions in order to minimise distraction. Switchlock adapts vision so that athletes can elevate their performance.

Impact protection

Rain water and grit have already been mentioned- it’s essential that when cyclists are competing their eyes are safe from various impacts. Oakley employs the use of Plutonite, durable and pure lens material. Oakley lenses are also curved and can wrap- around the face. Their unique shape means that they consistently shield cyclists from wind, rain and dirt.

Switchlock technology

Cyclists need to have optimum focus. Oakley’s Switchlock technology makes lens changing fast and hassle free. The result? Sunglasses that can adapt to any light change or weather conditions with immediate effect.

Oakley is renowned for their ability to combine the latest technology with the best designs and the best materials. Their latest snow goggles offer GPS integration, a navigation system, buddy tracking and smart phone connectivity.

There’s no doubt that the major eyewear brand constantly looks for ways to improve their products. This is perhaps why cyclists remain loyal to Oakley Glasses; they’ve always helped them to achieve those marginal gains.


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