Q:

Does Lance Armstrong race with MP3-rigged shades?

I thought I saw during the Tour de France that Lance Armstrong was wearing the latest Oakley glasses with an MP3 player built into them. I right, and did Lance actually wear them during the race? Susan New York City

Dec 21, 2004
Outside
Outside Magazine

Thump

A: Indeed, photos circulated during the race showing Armstrong—off the bike at the time, but in his Postie uniform—wearing an odd pair of Oakley sunglasses that had ear buds and a little bulge on the frame. Word got out that these were indeed a prototype MP3 device. Did Armstrong wear them during the race? Um, no. He's pretty much all business on the bike, plus he's already wired to talk with his team director about strategy and who's doing what in the peloton.

Still, you can pretend you're Lance and are too cool to care about the competition while riding, preferring instead to jam to a little U2 or 50 Cent. That's because Oakley is now selling the glasses spotted on Armstrong last summer. They're called the Thump, and combine a typically cool pair of Oakley glasses with an MP3 player. The Thump is available in 128- and 256-megabyte versions (the 256-megabyte edition also has polarized lenses) for $395 or $495, respectively (www.oakley.com). Storage capacity is about 30 tracks on the 128-megabyte version, and double that on the higher-priced pair.

Gear Guy does not know what to make of these. They are of course outrageously expensive, and lack either a large storage capacity or a decent system for flipping through your tunes (functions only include play, forward/rewind, plus voume controls). Plus, they're butt-ugly. I also would never recommend listening to loud music when biking, running, or skiing, as you might miss hearing, A) a siren, B) someone yelling "Lookout! Runaway skier!" or C) a freight train. But naturally I understand people already ignore that advice.

Find more shades that Lance wouldn't be ashamed to sport in Outside's 2004 Buyer's Guide .

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