Cycling gloves are a useful item for those who do a lot of heavy cycling, or in extremes of temperature, particularly winter. However, they are equally valuable for those who clock up a lot of miles, those who want to keep their hands dry in warmer weather and those who generally value the protection and comfort of an outer ‘skin’ in the event of a fall.
Cycling gloves come in various styles and forms, depending on preference and the time of year. Options include full fingered gloves for both winter and summer and half finger ‘mitts’ which are favoured particularly by touring cyclists and road racing enthusiastics. All gloves are available in a range of prices and will have different technical specifications, such as being made from advanced technical fabrics to wick away sweat or regulate hand temperature. They are also available in specific fits and sizes for men, women and children and should be bought accordingly in order to get the most out of the protection offered.
Cycling gloves are an important piece of kit. They keep a cyclist’s hands protected and assist with a strong grip. In cold temperatures, they insulate hands and fingers and are particularly valuable for cyclists who cycle long-distance, where pressure and pain from bike vibrations can suddenly become very painful or uncomfortable. Specialist gloves are available for distance riding with gel inserts that reduce the strain of repetitive vibration on the hands and the risk of injury.
Hands and fingers will get colder than other parts of the body when cycling, as they aren’t moved as regularly in comparison. They are also the first part of a cyclist to feel the full effect of rain and wind and this can be dangerous as cold hands will be less responsive and braking capacity will be reduced. Gore-Tex wind protecting fabrics can provide additional protection. Cold and unresponsive hands will also find it more difficult to change gears, or to stop and use a mobile phone in an emergency. For this reason, cycling gloves can be recommended on safety, as well as comfort grounds. They will also protect a cyclist’s hands in the instance of a road fall since a rough and gravelled road can otherwise cause serious injury to unprotected body parts.
For down-hill bike enthusiasts, gloves with knuckle protection can be valuable. This is often provided in the form of plastic protector inserts, although most down-hill cyclists use long fingered cycling gloves for safety protection, even in summer. To keep hands comfortable in warmer temperatures, look for sweat wicking fabrics and natural fibres.
There are a variety of cycling glove brands to choose from and enthusiasts will all have their personal favourites. However good brands to look for include Gore Tex, Altura, Nike, Fox, Pearl Izumi, Scott, Seal Skinz, Protec and Cannondale. Savvy shoppers can get good prices online, but beginner buyers may prefer to visit a specialist kit shop for the first time, to get advice on the best style, fabrics and brand to choose for their own biking requirements.