I’m standing in my kitchen, looking out at the steady rain pelting the streets and listening to the fleeting car tyres as they make a sound like a sheet of paper tearing. But I’m thinking of another rainy morning at a Tacoma race course over a month ago, in the middle of the cyclocross season. Up till that point the races had been pretty dry, but as my group stood in the starting grid the sky cut loose and hosed down everything. The race ended up being a cold, muddy, and slow grind. Halfway through the race, my sports glasses were fogging so bad I couldn’t see through them at all, so I handed them off to a friend on the sideline. I spent the second half of the race collecting grit on my contact lenses. I can vividly remember my eyelids dragging sand across my eyeballs.
It’s December now and cyclocross season is over for me, but I mainly commute by bicycle. Depending on the errand, there are plenty of opportunities for my eyewear to fog up, and most of the time I’m wearing my prescription glasses rather than contacts. That means that when my glasses fog up, I can’t simply take them off or push them down my nose; I’m too nearsighted. This is where I had hopes that Muc-Off’s Premium Anti-Fog Treatmenrt could make a difference.
The Muc-Off product comes in a dainty 35ml spray bottle. The directions specify that you should clean the lens first, spray on, and then wipe with a clean dry tissue. And that’s where I’m going to say DON’T USE JUST ANY TISSUE. The cellulose fibres in common tissue can scratch polycarbonate lenses; use a tissue designed for eyewear. If not that, then use a soft, lint-free cloth. Muc-Off’s directions specifically say not to use microfibre cloth with their product; I’m guessing because the microfibre cloth might wipe off too much of the treatment. But my prescription Oakleys cost way too much to risk damaging with regular tissue.
I clean my glasses and then apply the Muc-Off Anti-Fog to just the left lens. Over the next three days, I ride to work, errands all over town, and a three-hour road ride. I learned two things. First, it actually works, but it wouldn’t be accurate to say that it eliminates fog on your lenses. More that it retards the formation of fog and somewhat limits its severity. On a race course where there’s a slow section that prevents you from going fast enough for your glasses to vent off moisture, the Muc-Off Anti-Fog may slow the fogging enough for you to complete the section without impairing your vision. But it doesn’t make your glasses entirely fog free. The second thing I learned is that for maximum effect you have to reapply the treatment every ride. I sort of imagined that Muc-Off’s Anti-Fog would be semi-permanent, or at least only needing occasional application. No, for maximum performance you would need to clean your glasses and apply the Anti-Fog right before the event. Which means that in the future I will be performing another layer of ritualized pre-race preparations on autumn Saturday nights, but I have no intention of using this stuff in my day-to-day activities. Life is already too complex for me to worry if I remembered to apply Anti-Fog to my glasses before I left the house.
Muc-Off is a UK brand that is distributed in the US by Hawley. Their Premium Anti-Fog Treament retails for $14.99.