We talk quite a bit about points of contact with the bike…There are 3 of them and the relationship between you & the bike at these points determines part of your comfort on the bike. Your hands are protected by womens bike gloves and contact your handlebar grips. Your butt is protected by womens padded bike pants and contact a womens specific bike saddle. Lastly your feet are protected by shoes/socks and contact your pedals.
Let’s take a closer look at the protection of your hands achieved by wearing a pair of womens bike gloves that fit well and don’t interfere with your grip.
Different types of protection from womens bike gloves
- abrasion/impact from falling
- vibration/shock absorption
- pressure on your palms
No one wants to fall off but when you do having a pair of bike gloves on your hands will save you a lot of damage. Gravel, grit, tearing from whatever surface you land on can be avoided with a pair of gloves. Padding will help to absorp some of the impact as your hands try to break your fall. Lets hope that your gloves won’t be put to the test in this way too often!
This is one of the most important aspects of wearing bike gloves. Over multiple days or even on just a long day ride your body will be dealing with the effect of energy being transferred from the wheels. Bumpy, uneven surfaces mean you will be dealing with a lot of vibrations and impacts. The pads in the palm of your gloves absorb some of this energy. Which is really important over time to protect your nerves.
PRESSURE ON YOUR PALMS
Comfort is a huge thing as you spend more time on the bike. Most cyclists will grip the handlebars with an extended wrist. Combining this stretch of nerves with compression can cause problems if you spend a lot of time on your bike – big day rides, multi-day rides. Gloves provide you with an element of cushioning which relieves pressure through your palms. This can protect some important nerves (ulnar, median) from compression type injury.
Fig. 1 Source: Physiopedia – Cylists Palsy
Damage to the ulnar nerve through compression and vibration can cause “handlebar palsy” in cyclists. This is a weakening & clumsiness of the hands and thumb. This damage can occur for any type of cyclist not just road cyclists in dropbars as shown above. It is strongly related to time – long distance, multi day riding.
Don’t rely totally on ‘protecting’ your hands with gloves. Think about your grip on the handlebar which should be light and relaxed. Maintaining an ‘A’ position will help (see photo below). Good core control means you can maintain your low back and mid back position without using your arms to prop you. You should be able to let go of the handlebars at any time and maintain this shape (see photo below). When you spend a lot of time on your bike – big day rides, multi-day rides – it is important to regularly adjust your grip and be aware that as you get tired you may “lean” more heavily on your handlebars. Also be aware that downhill riding for prolonged periods of time puts more weight and therefore pressure into your hands.
Womens bike gloves not only provide warmth in cold weather but help deal with warmth in hot conditions.
Lets deal with the cold first. Long fingered gloves insulate your hands providing warmth. Depending on the severity of the conditions you can find varying degrees of warmth to match. Remember you still need to maintain good control on your handlebars which means being able to grip them correctly. This is when having the correct glove size is important and not too much bulk.If your long fingered winter gloves also need to control sweat look for mesh inserts and wicking fabrics.
In the heat, or if you tend to sweat quite a lot while riding, gloves should keep your hands dry. Dry hands are safe hands that can maintain a good grip and control on your handlebar. Gloves should be made from wicking fabric that absorbs and pulls mositure away from the skin. During the warmer riding months fingerless gloves provide all the benefits of protection and comfort but allow for some airflow around the fingers.
So there’s lots of good reasons to wear womens bike gloves. Get comfort & protection and you will choose to ride more places, more often with a SMILE.
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