I promise you I’m not a glove fetishist, although if you went through the gear bins in my basement you might reasonably come to that conclusion. For a time, I was deeply preoccupied by winter riding gloves. How to maintain dexterity AND warmth when the mercury swerved south? I have many pairs of this particular accessory that almost work to my level of expectation, but also not quite.
Back when I thought of myself as a roadie, I kept about a half dozen pairs of fingerless gloves in rotation. I ought to have had one of those germicidal disinfectant jars like the barber keeps their combs in, so I could avoid the constant washing, drying and subsequent desiccation of these fingerless gloves. You know what this looks like, no doubt, a curled up Lycra/leather puck you can just about force your hand into if you mean business.
I seldom really mean business.
Maybe that’s why I abandoned fingerless gloves and committed myself to bare hand riding through most of the summer months, at least on the road. On gravel and mountain bikes, I almost always wear a glove, and those gloves are full-fingered. There is some current, conventional wisdom that hand protection is good when you ride in the woods, because twigs and branches and rocks and stuff. Perhaps there is some element of grip enhancement too. Sweaty hands are not grippy hands.
I have recently taken all my useful gloves and strung them up on a line (a trick shown to me by my friend Chapman) in order of their weight, so when I’m walking out the door, I can match the glove to the ride without dumping a bin full of hats and gloves and warmers onto the floor and sifting through it like prospector panning for gold. It’s tempting to say this is game changing.
This week’s TCI Friday wonders if I’m the only one who thinks this much about gloves. Do you wear gloves every time you ride? At what point in the warmer days do you begin to go gloveless? Do you still wear fingerless gloves? Is it because Kevin Bacon made them look so good in Quicksilver?
When it comes to fingers and gloves, I have issues. I ride full fingered year round, and mittens below 40F. I tried just about every possible glove; bike, football, batting, golf, motorcycle, driving, you name it. For above 50F I found golf gloves from Finger10 are perfect; inexpensive, great fit, grippy when soaking wet, keep their shape in the wash, last for years.
Above 60F, I’m wearing fingerless gloves, no matter what I’m riding. Full-finger gloves can take me down into the high 40’s, then I start looking for insulated gloves. For the 20-40F range, I find XC ski gloves to be the best bet for warmth, wind blocking, and dexterity. Under 20, it’s usually lobster claws on bare bars, but I usually mount bar mitts, which let me use 5-finger gloves year round.
I always have found fingerless gloves to be pointless (no pun intended). Coming from the mountain side of things (and skateboarding) I wanted hand protection first. As such, I have worn full finger gloves to ride everywhere as long as I’ve known about them. Additionally for more than twenty years, I’ve worn Triple 8 wrist guards over my full-fingered gloves. My hands are my job and going through several pairs of these per year is far less costly than banged up paws.
Speaking of threes, seasonally I keep three sets of the same gloves/wrist guards in rotation on my drying rack. When one gets worn out I replace it, but doing so far less than constantly sticking with just one set. I’m in warm temp mode currently and recently switched to G-form Sorata 2 gloves. They have flex armor on the ring and pinky fingers which is something I was looking for. I run 800mm bars and having that armor makes the occasional meeting b/t my distal digits and trees less unpleasant.
Gloves every ride. They are helmets for my hands. But (and this is big butt), UNPADDED. I have meaty paws and I find that thickly padded gloves are uncomfortable. I wear Giro full fingered gloves and lizard skins fingerless gloves with zero padding. Last summer, I also bought some traditionally crocheted fingerless leather gloves from Rivendell (G.O.A.T.) and then a pair I like better from PDW. When it’s cold and dank here, my hands gripe enough to discourage me from riding. This is a fairly recent development, and I don’t have a good answer for it. I’m also a sweaty Betty, and well-insulated sweaty hands in the cold eventually suck ass. Needless to say, I own many many pairs of gloves. I use a sharpie to number identical pairs to keep the wear/funk consistent. The clothesline trick is happening tomorrow! Here’s a hack: I used Sugru to make a small triangular glasses sqeegee on the pointer finger of a full fingered glove. It rains here, and I used to ride in the rain before I became a giant weather weenie.
Full fingered everywhere up to 60 degrees. Then bare hands on road – gloves off road.
BTW- When the HELL is Stevil gonna get more gloves?
For New England CX, no gloves until temps merit gloves (full-fingered). For everything else (which is mostly mixed terrain w/ some MTB), always full-fingered