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As more people choose fitness over comfort and get more environmentally conscious, cycling becomes the more popular and trendy means of transport. Bikes have become the new ‘in thing’ for pollution-free morning rides, commute, training, and adventures.
A common thing you will notice in all urban cyclists is that they love wearing gloves. It’s one of the most popular cycle gears you will find online. Ever wondered why? Aren’t those red marks on the hands created by holding the handlebar for long a thing to be proud of (even if they leave the hands feeling numb)?
Are the cycling gloves necessary before embarking on a road trip or trail? Is that a style statement? A protective gear? What’s the reason behind covering the hands with a half or full hands gloves? If you find yourself constantly looking for the answers to these questions then we have heard you!
Today, we will discuss the key benefits of wearing cycling gloves and whether they are really something you should invest in before that cycling trip. Just grab a hot cup of coffee (it’s gonna take a while) and let us take you through the various advantages. So, let’s get started.
When you spend a considerable amount of time on the cycle seat, your palms are bound to get sweaty and warm. Whether you are riding for a short or long distance, we suggest that you wear cycling gloves to add comfort to your hands.
Besides sweat and heat, constant pressure also gives red marks on your palms. While a pro cyclist may find these marks a sign of their stamina and achievement, they are uncomfortable nevertheless. Having an extra layer of skin over your hands on a long ride adds to overall comfort.
#2. Better Grip
The amount of sweat may vary depending on the humidity levels and temperature in the area you are cycling. Even the slightest amount of sweat on your palm can make your hands slippery and make it difficult for you to get a good grip on the handlebars.
If you think wearing gloves will make your hand sweat further then let me assure you that it’s not the case. Good quality cycling gloves (see Amazon) are made of breathable materials and the wicking technology helps in keeping the hands dry.
Some people tend to have very sweaty palms and gloves are an essential gear for them. They trap the sweat inside, preventing them from trickling onto the shifters and handlebars. As preparation contains high mineral content, exposing cycling components to them also leads to deterioration over time.
If you take cycling as a sport or a means to commute longer distances then you will probably spend a lot of time riding. Most people will prefer to ride a high-end sports bike with comfortable grips but even then a constant pressure builds up on the palms.
With pressure constantly building upon the fingers and hands while shifting the gears or holding the handlebar for too long, this may lead to blisters and calluses. It also causes numbness in the hands and arms.
#4. Shock Absorption
The cycle fork does a great job of absorbing shock and preventing it from transferring to the rider’s arms. When you ride on rough and uneven terrain, the transfer of shock is even higher. Gloves for mountain bike riders come with extra cushioning in the form of foam padding, gel inserts, and so on.
This integrated padding on the palm area of gloves helps in absorbing shock and prevents it from transferring to the rider’s arms. Thus, the gloves have a much greater role in ensuring our safety during bike tours.
In hot and high humidity areas, gloves keep sweat away for a better grip while letting your hands breathe. Similarly, when riding in the colder regions, gloves help in keeping your fingers and palms warmer beside providing comfort and cushioning.
For the colder climates, you can get one of those full-fingered gloves that are available in the market to keep your hands completely covered. For those who think full finger gloves may make it hard to ride – they work just like any other normal bike gloves to give you a good grip on handlebars.
#6. Prevents injury
If you have been cycling for a long time then you probably know that professional cyclists often suffer from a condition known as handlebar palsy or carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a type of injury caused by extended compression of a nerve in the wrist.
If not taken care of earlier, the pain may get unbearable and this may even lead to severe nerve damage. By wearing the right gloves, you can reduce the pressure applied to the nerves and save yourself from this medical condition.
Let’s not ignore the style factor that makes wearing a pair of fashionable bike gloves look and feel cool. For beginners riders, it can be a motivation to go a lot faster and cover a longer distance with a pro appearance like that.
If you have not tried a pair of gloves before then it may be high time to give them a try to help with your performance and comfort. With a wide range of cool styles to match with your cycling apparel, you are certainly spoilt for choice.
Accidents are inevitable and unforeseen, and they may happen even if you are not at fault. So, what do you do when you start to fall as a result of a crash? The first reflex is to put your hands out to stop the impact on other parts of your body as you hit the ground.
If you have ever experienced a bike crash or fall, you probably know the kind of impact it has on your hands. With a good pair of gloves, you can protect your palms and reduce the injuries caused by grit, gravel, or rocks. Tearing up your gloves is certainly a lot better than wrecking your hands.
There is a new category of cycling gloves used by cyclists in the urban areas and they known as the LED Turn Signal Gloves (see Amazon). These gloves sport a high-tech appearance and they com embedded with LED lights that can be used for signaling during a turn.
The urban cyclists love these gloves for their innovative design, purpose, and high-quality materials. According to some riders, the sheer ability to move the signal around with your hands makes it more useful and visible in the dark than mounted handlebar signals. Although slightly expensive than regular gloves, the sturdy construction and lights make them worth the price.
#10. Wipe your nose
What do you do when you are riding and your nose starts running? Rub your nose against your jersey or use a handkerchief? Well, a pair of quality gloves can help! You can wipe your nose at the back of the gloves without having to stop or take your eyes off the road.
#11. Special gloves for women
When it comes to getting cycling gloves, the perfect fit cannot be ignored. There are special women gloves sized appropriately to fit the smaller hands of female cyclists. They also differ slightly in the padding department by using a chamois-like material instead of gel inserts (eg. BOODUN’s gloves).
The gloves come in different styles for professional racers, road cyclists, and long rides. They may be fingerless or full-fingered design and made from different types of breathable and warm materials.
Benefits Of Kids Cycling Gloves
There are special cycling gloves for kids riding cycles, scooters, and balance bikes. With so many attractive colors and designs to choose from, you can even match the designs to get a bike and helmet set. While we know it’s not an easy job to make a child put on gloves in their little fingers, it’s certainly worth the trouble.
With a nice pair of gloves, you can prevent their little hands from getting grazed, improve grip on the handlebars, and add that extra cushioning. In the colder months, gloves can also provide some sort of insulation to keep the hands warm.
Different Types Of Cycling Gloves
Now that you know how important gloves are for your safety and protection, let’s take a look at the different types of cycling gloves. They may differ slightly depending on the type of bike, weather, distance and other factors.
This is perhaps one of the most aggressive adventures and people love taking the road less traveled or challenging trails for more adrenalin rush. As a rider goes through rough terrain while riding on a mountain bike, gloves are essential for providing enhanced grip and protection.
When you are going across the boulders, rocks, and rugged surface, you need to ensure that you have a better grip on the handlebars. Your arms should feel like an extension of the handlebars to have more control.
To get maximum benefits, we suggest you use gloves like this that come with a textured surface on the palm for enhanced grip. They should also have some sort of padding to protect your hands from any type of injuries in case of an accident, fall, or just due to constant pressure.
As there’s a higher risk of crashing in an aggressive sport like mountain biking, the gloves should be made of high-quality materials that can take a lot of beating. Before getting a pair, make sure you try them on or choose after carefully seeing the size chart when ordering online.
Getting the right size is extremely important. If the size is too big, your hands may slide around when you are riding. This will defeat the purpose of wearing gloves altogether.
Road biking may not be as aggressive as mountain biking, but many riders go on long-distance road tours which may take a toll on the hands. Another reason for wearing gloves is that the road bikes don’t come with superior suspension like their mountain bike counterpart. Hence, any kind of shock is directly delivered to the handlebars and then to the hands.
Thus, we suggest getting a pair of good quality gloves that can absorb the shock and give you a more comfortable ride. You may consider looking for gloves like this that have a cloth or fleece patch on the thumb. This can be handy when you need to wipe a runny nose or sweaty brow.
When you are riding seriously or racing, it’s hard to stop every time to wipe the sweat with a hanky or tissue papers. Thus, the gloves have multiple purposes for your safety, comfort, and protection.
Related Article: 11 Benefits Of Wearing Cycling Gloves
Cycling In Cold Weather
Snow or chilly wind outside never stops a professional cyclist who loves to go on a ride no matter how low the temperature is outside. To stay safe and warm, it’s important to wear proper hand gloves that will keep you in good control of the bike and keep frost bites away.
Cycle gloves for winter or cold areas are specially built using high-quality fleece linings and insulating materials. For winter commutes, we prefer using lobster-claw styled gloves that keep the pinkie and ring fingers together for additional warmth. The index and middle fingers provide freedom and better handlebar controls.
Styles and Materials
There are basically two styles of gloves you will come across when looking for gloves – fingerless and full finger. When you need to feel the brakes and shifters, we recommend that you get the fingerless gloves. These styles are more commonly used in road biking. They allow more breathability when riding in hot and humid temperatures.
Full finger gloves are more suitable for mountain bikers to give them better grip and protection. Numb fingers can make it difficult to shift gears and put brakes. As these gloves provide extra coverage, they provide protection from cold weather to prevent the numbing of fingers.
Both these types of gloves are made of synthetic leather to protect the palm from getting bruised. Other materials like spandex and polyester are also used for comfort and mobility. The good quality one will have enough breathability to keep you comfortable.
Materials Used In Cycling Gloves And Their Benefits
When you are out there looking for a pair of cycling gloves, you will find that they are made of different materials. So, how to tell which one is best for you? We know that can be confusing and getting the wrong gloves means it will end up in the backpack instead of your hands. So, here is a list of some of the most commonly used materials along with their feature and benefits.
Polyester: This is a strong and hard-wearing fabric that is capable of withstanding extreme conditions. It can also resist the wear caused by regular use and repeated movements. Overall, it can take a lot of beating.
Polyurethane: A coating of polyurethane helps the fabric stay soft and well-ventilated. It also helps in improving durability and resistance capacity.
Nylon: This is a type of synthetic fiber that can be found in different types of clothing. As the material is durable and water-resistant, it’s a useful material used in making bike gloves.
Real or synthetic leather: This is a durable and gorgeous looking material that gives a better grip to your palm. They often have small holes that offer ventilation to allow airflow. Besides the breathable material, they also look very stylish when worn.
Spandex: This is another type of polyurethane fabric that can be easily stretched and get back to the original shape, without getting distorted. The material can take a lot of beating.
Mesh: This is a useful material used in the making of cycling gloves, and they can be easily woven in the structure for better airflow. They are available in two formats – micromesh and standard mesh.
Neoprene: This is a type of synthetic rubber that can take a lot of beating. This flexible material comes in a wide range of outdoor conditions and temperatures.
Primaloft: This synthetic insulator is water-resistant and it replicates the natural down fabric. You can find this material in the winter gloves.
Gel or Foam: These are protective materials used as a layer within the fabric for additional safety in case of an accident or during longer rides. They are strategically positioned in the palm area of the gloves to provide better shock absorption.
Which type of cycling gloves is best for you?
If you merely go around the blocks or commute within the city, a pair of simple fingerless gloves may be fine. However, if you go on long distances then you may need more robust and durable gloves. Choose a pair based on the distance you will be covering, outside temperature, and the terrain you will be riding on.
What are the different closure styles?
When looking for a pair of gloves, you will come across different types of closures such as pull-on, Velcro, slip-on, strap-on, hook-and-loop, and adjustable straps. They help in maximizing comfort and keeping gloves in place.
Why do you need a perfect fit?
When buying a pair of cycling gloves, you need to ensure a perfect fit because if they are loose, you will not have a good grip on the handlebars. On the other hand, if they are too tight and you stay like that for extended periods, this may hinder proper blood circulation causing conditions like arthritis, handlebar palsy or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Related Article: 18 Benefits Of Wearing Cycling Shoes