Why wearing Bike Gloves is important

Do you wear bike gloves when you ride?

When riding our hands make contact with the handlebars. Being comfortable at this contact point contributes to your safety and comfort when you ride. Lets understand why bike gloves may be important to you?

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
What safety and protection do gloves provide the rider.
  • Protection from any abrasion/impact from falling
  • Vibration/shock absorption from the terrain you are riding
  • Padding to reduce compression/ pressure on your palms
  • Temperature control

Lets have a look at each of these in more detail

Recreation gloves with less padding compared to endurance glove that has more padding to provide protection from compression/pressure when you ride for long periods

Riding in the A  position  reduces the amount of compression/pressure on your palms. Learn more about your A riding position.

Abrasion/Impact Protection
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!

All bike gloves offer this protection however a full finger glove will offer more protection than a fingerless glove.

Vibration/Shock Absorption
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 the nerves that run through the palm of your hand.
Pressure on your Palms

Your comfort can be more compormised the longer you spend on the bike. The position we ride in (with our wrists extended) means that there is stretch on nerves that feed into your palm. The longer on the bike the longer these nerves are on stretch.  The combination of this stretch of nerves as well as the  compression from the pressure on the palm can cause problems such as pins and needles and numbness if you spend a lot of time on your bike. Gloves provides cushioning which relieves the pressure/compression through your palms.  This can protect some important nerves (ulnar, median) from compression type injury. Gloves also protect from the onset of any blisters or rubbing on the hands. 

Don’t rely totally on ‘protecting’ your hands with gloves.  You need to also think about your grip on the handlebar. This grip should be light and relaxed.  This can be acheived by maintaining an ‘A’ position when you ride . This position encourages  core control through a good low back and mid back position providing you with the control you need to not lean heavy on your arms and grip hard. Also 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.  Be aware that downhill riding for prolonged periods of time puts more weight and therefore pressure into your hands.

Temperature Control
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.

 

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