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  • 26.06.15

    Desire: Oakley Jawbreaker

    CFD modelling, eye-tracking technology, and responsibility to the past: Ryan Calilung on Cavendish's new glasses

“There is a responsibility not to screw it up. It’s a huge legacy that you’re trusted with.”

Close your eyes and picture Andy Hampsten. What does he have on his face? If you don’t see a pair of Eyeshades, it’s likely that you’re picturing a different Andy Hampsten to the winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia.

Racing cyclist, large red sunglasses, blonde hair, Mondrian jersey, Andy Hampsten, Tour de France, stage five, 1986, pic: Offside L'Equipe

Oakley’s eyewear has become deeply entwined with the fabric of professional cycling. The connection to certain riders and events is so strong that it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

Imagine now that you have grown up treasuring the pivotal moments of cycling’s recent history; that your desire to emulate the local pro led you to work in bike shops, simply to gain the discount that might at last allow you to afford the same glasses. Imagine that later you are entrusted with creating a new design for the same manufacturer, working with a champion whose accomplishments far outstrip those of the rider you grew up idolising. Pressure?

“When I got here, among all these people that had invented these things that I had enjoyed for so many years, the realisation was that there was a big responsibility to not screw it up. It’s a huge legacy that your trusted with.

“I’m standing on the shoulders of the Jim Jannards, but at the same time there’s a huge responsibility to my people: to the cyclists, the people that I grew up with, that kid that I was, using every bit of money he has to buy a piece of eyewear. It’s definitely a responsibility.”

Ryan Calilung tells a good story. And if you ask Mark Cavendish, he’ll tell you Calilung makes a good set of glasses, too.

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