Reason #1

Reason #1

An Argument About Gloves

by / / 108 posts

Points-of-contact, these are three areas of scrutiny and argument for Velominati; saddles, chamois creme, shoes, socks, handlebar tape so why not gloves?

Picking grit out of your palms is bad.

Yes, it is very bad. The fear of this might be the number one reason people get into the habit of wearing gloves, and it does become a habit, like donning a helmet. And just like picking gravel out of your scalp, which is also very bad, avoiding that activity is worth it. Points of contact on the bike are one thing; points of contact once off the bike are another. So do we wear gloves only to protect our hands if we crash? Or do we wear them to stay more comfortable on the bike?

I’m regretting typing this as I type it but I don’t crash often, once every few years, and usually for stupid self-inflicted reasons. The last two times I have crashed and they were stupid and self-inflicted, both times I came away with nothing more than some light abrasions and a sore hip. I was wearing gloves. But I can’t even say if my hands got involved in either crash; all one understands is sliding across the road in a tangle of limbs, bike and embarrassment. Still, gloves are not uncomfortable to wear. There is no big downside to donning gloves as one kits up.

Racing produces crashing. One would think racing Paris-Roubaix would produce the most crashes yet the number of people racing sans gloves is remarkable. There is Boonen and most of his Quick-Step badass teammates battling over the stones without gloves. They want to feel the bike more than protect their hands. They are tough.

Riding naked feels great.

That would look very bad but it might feel very good. Riding without gloves feels a little like something is naked and it does feel great. If you always ride with gloves, try it. It makes for a very different ride. Handling the brake hoods or handlebars without gloves is so much more tactile. Recently forgot my gloves and re-remembered why I’ve spent around a third of my time bike riding without them. It just feels right. There are no Rules about glove wearing nor should there be. Does one look or feel more Pro without gloves? I do. If one feels like they have to wear gloves to protect their hands on the bike then it might be worth investigating how one’s weight is distributed on the bike. Hands should not be doing much weight bearing.

If we subscribe to the argument that we should dress for the crash not the ride we wouldn’t be wearing little more than lycra. Riding is a balancing act in many ways. If you ride you have to accept injury and accidents as parts of the deal but unless you are racing criteriums on a weekly basis, the pleasure of riding naked might outweigh the fear of crashing naked.

// Kit

  1. @pistard

    Check the serrated section of the rear rim that only exists in front of his left knee, which is completely out of scale with his right knee, and the right quads eaten away by some bilateral wasting disease.

  2. @pistard

    @pistard

    Check the serrated section of the rear rim that only exists in front of his left knee, which is completely out of scale with his right knee, and the right quads eaten away by some bilateral wasting disease.

    are you drunk?, your arrow points at his right hand bullhorn, that’s his front rim and there are no other riders it’s a TT.

  3. @piwakawaka

    Further, his legs look fine – the left is just bent hard at the knee, but you can clearly see the crease. And the “serrated section” of the (front) rim is actually just the manufacturer’s decal.

    I seem to recall this is a Colombian Postobon rider and the story of how he crashed in a TT is on the tip of my brain, I just haven’t quite located it in the old mental rolodex yet.

  4. @pistard

    Unduly remarks concerning the photo, but your reference to he should be she. The obvious was missed.

  5. @Gianni

    Riding naked feels great.

    That would look very bad but it might feel very good. Riding without gloves feels a little like something is naked and it does feel great.

    I’m sure that this is true. But riding in really fine gloves is akin to being not quite naked whilst wearing your finest frillies.

    Rapha’s Grand Tour Gloves in white says Ride Like A Leader even more so than white bar tape with the added benefit that not only won’t they darken the tape but they’ll leave you with a brand new set of tan lines.

  6. Even falling, his skinsuit and socks look tha bizness.

    After riding on ice for a few days last week, tomorrow looks like it’ll be warm enough to ride with exposed Guns. Nice!

  7. Gloves and bacteria? Good god, have you ever smelled hockey gloves?! Try telling the players on the bench to never touch their face.

  8. This article photo is a woman taking a hit — not a man.

  9. @frank

    Bacteria, smackteria. Seriously people, this is what we have immune systems for.

    Also, get any fi’zi:k tape, and you don’t need to worry about it getting dirty.

    And, no gloves is how I’ve been riding. If I could find ones I really liked, I’d wear them but I don’t unless it is too cold.

    +1 on the fi’zi:k tape as long as it is the thin 2mm stuff wrapped tight as shit. All the padded garbage around these days looks fucking terrible.

  10. @emerson

    You may be right, but I’m not sure…the chesticles aren’t conclusive, IMO.

  11. @EBruner

    @frank

    Bacteria, smackteria. Seriously people, this is what we have immune systems for.

    Also, get any fi’zi:k tape, and you don’t need to worry about it getting dirty.

    And, no gloves is how I’ve been riding. If I could find ones I really liked, I’d wear them but I don’t unless it is too cold.

    +1 on the fi’zi:k tape as long as it is the thin 2mm stuff wrapped tight as shit. All the padded garbage around these days looks fucking terrible.

    In my quest for something like perfection or at least acceptability I was forced to remove the fi'zi:k finishing tape to rewrap my bars. It didn’t survive the re-wrap so now I have plain black electrical tape instead, although I do also have a thin under-layer of red tape showing like Frank’s orange here.

    I’d agree that the tape just stays clean – my wife has some soft touch 3T stuff and it looks dirty as anything, and is uncleanable. My fi'zi:k tape wipes clean.

    And as for gloves – always. It’s rarely dry or warm enough to go without, and I’ve had too many mini-offs where my gloves have saved my skin. Mind you, I wouldn’t wear gloves for a TT (unless like the last one I did, it was pouring and I was a bit worried about my grip on the aerobars).

  12. I always wear and wore gloves. Just because it looked and looks the thing. Secondly, protects when crashing (fortunately rarely) and when I took up cycling again a couple of years ago, I needed the padding. I do wash them regularly, since I use the inside to rub my tires from debris, not my fingertips. When I was still at university and rowing, I’d use my cyclinggloves to avoid blisters from the oars. They had leather insides and could not be washed, hence they’re long gone.

  13. @Puffy

    @Stephen Schwartz

    A couple guys I rode with in the Pyrenees last summer rode without gloves. They said that the gloves just soak up sweat (I thought that was a good thing) and cultivate bacteria (eww) which you risk getting into your eyes when you wipe the sweat off of your forehead & eyes (major eww).

    So now I’m torn. Kind of like the gloves I was wearing during that crash.

    Your hands are forever covered in bacteria. That’s why we wash them before eating and other convenient times and avoid touching your face. We also wash gloves for the same reason. A quick wash with hand soap in the basin is all that is required, then once a week throw them into the washing machine.

    Do these same guys worry about the bacteria growing in their helmet which also collects sweat? Have they ever washed their helmet? The forehead band in particular which them proceeds to drip that sweat onto the face/eyes hence the need to wipe with gloves?

    During post ride shower, I wash my removed gloves with shampoo. Helmet with shampoo in a bucket.

  14. @wiscot

    Note to self: More rides (more than zero) in 2016 sans gloves. Second note to self (and others) – do not forget to apply suntan lotion to backs of hands.

    Finally giving this article the time it deserves at work. Not enough time at home on the weekends to read it well.

    Agreed wiscot. I will try this once it warms up as well. I’ve ridden with gloves every since I started riding. Need to try this out.

  15. @Gianni

    @Stephen Schwartz

    My last crash I was wearing gloves. I wish I’d also been wearing a chin-guard. But the hands were fine. Chin, not so much.

    A couple guys I rode with in the Pyrenees last summer rode without gloves. They said that the gloves just soak up sweat (I thought that was a good thing) and cultivate bacteria (eww) which you risk getting into your eyes when you wipe the sweat off of your forehead & eyes (major eww).

    So now I’m torn. Kind of like the gloves I was wearing during that crash.

    I restarted to wear gloves when I moved to Hawaii because the gloves did soak up the sweat and kept the sunscreen off the handlebar tape. Slippery handlebars…bad. But they do get funky fast and when I wash the gloves in the sink, whoa momma, dirty, dirty, water. Uncool.

    My number one, two and three reason for wearing gloves (outside of the fact that it has never really crossed my mind not to) is to wipe the left over snot off my face with the chamois-portion of the back of the thumb area after blowing the contents of each nostril all over the road (and usually my lower face and shoulder) while riding.

    The most important factor in buying gloves for me, (after aethestics) is the soft, chamois portion on the back of the gloves. Same with Nordic ski gloves. THAT factor I’ll miss if I start riding regularly sans gloves.

  16. @universo

    Boonen is not consistent either, so his non-glove wearing is not gaining him any points. Knowing when to wear gloves [ especially if they’re conditioned with superstition ] is badass and clever.

    First off, BRILLIANT photo of Le Professeur that needs no justification for sharing but I am curious as to where you are going with this? Because he won sans gloves? Just curious. LOVE the photo!

  17. @Oli

    @emerson

    You may be right, but I’m not sure…the chesticles aren’t conclusive, IMO.

    Agreed. Who was it that was so good at figuring out men’s legs and asses from women’s around here? Was it Ron? Minion? I have forgotten after being gone for so long? Anyways, we need them to weigh in and tell us!

  18. I don’t NEED to wear gloves to ride my bike, i.e., for padding (love my Lizard Skins bar tape). But I do wear gloves because I’ve crashed before when I wasn’t wearing gloves (thinking it was all pro cool) and the result was not fun or pretty … unless, of course, you like blood on white bar tape.

  19. As a microbiologist by education and training, I’m having actual laughs over the sudden interest in bacteria. We aren’t talking about flesh eating bacteria or the ones that cause gas gangrene here. They’re the same on your gloves as on your hands and face, right now. Wash the gloves after riding, have a dose of Rule #5, and/or stop worrying about it.

    Oh, and @Frank: How you keep your fi'zi:k tape sparkling clean is beyond me. One ride in and mine looks like I store the bike in mud.

  20. @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    @emerson

    You may be right, but I’m not sure…the chesticles aren’t conclusive, IMO.

    Agreed. Who was it that was so good at figuring out men’s legs and asses from women’s around here? Was it Ron? Minion? I have forgotten after being gone for so long? Anyways, we need them to weigh in and tell us!

    Good god, I hope one of my formerly used skills was not THAT skill. Please let it be minion, please let it be minion, please!!

  21. Bar tape. As much as I love Leader’s Tape, I decided I needed one bike that was purely for riding and not worrying about. Just put some of the glossy fi'zi:k tape on there, in black. Goes well with the glossy carbon finish. Can’t have white tape on every bike, at least for me.

    Also, unless someone else is cleaning your bike, I cannot believe anyone puts white tape on a cross bike. You’re just asking for trouble. Cross bikes are not the pristine, cherished tools we ride on the road. Ride em, crash em, beat them up, spray off with a hose at home, back on the peg. Cross bikes see too much abuse for me to keep it as clean as my road machines.

  22. @Owen

    Oh, and @Frank: How you keep your fi’zi:k tape sparkling clean is beyond me. One ride in and mine looks like I store the bike in mud.

    Can’t speak for Frank (or fi’zi:k tape), but when I had white Shimano PRO bar tape on my Hollands I cleaned it with Simple Green and then toothpaste to make it nice and white (the latter is a trick I learned for white golf shoes).

  23. @Ron

    @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    @emerson

    You may be right, but I’m not sure…the chesticles aren’t conclusive, IMO.

    Agreed. Who was it that was so good at figuring out men’s legs and asses from women’s around here? Was it Ron? Minion? I have forgotten after being gone for so long? Anyways, we need them to weigh in and tell us!

    Good god, I hope one of my formerly used skills was not THAT skill. Please let it be minion, please let it be minion, please!!

    Minion? Doesn’t he get confused between women and sheep or was that Marcus? (Oh, and being from Scotland, albeit not the northern part) I’m allowed to make that joke. To wit: Why do Scotsmen wear kilts? Because sheep can hear zippers.

    I’ll get me coat.

  24. @Owen

    As a microbiologist by education and training, I’m having actual laughs over the sudden interest in bacteria. We aren’t talking about flesh eating bacteria or the ones that cause gas gangrene here. They’re the same on your gloves as on your hands and face, right now. Wash the gloves after riding, have a dose of Rule #5, and/or stop worrying about it.

    Oh, and @Frank: How you keep your fi’zi:k tape sparkling clean is beyond me. One ride in and mine looks like I store the bike in mud.

    Thank fuck for some common sense, I was a bit worried that the off season was taking too much of a toll.

  25. @wiscot

    @Ron

    @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    @emerson

    You may be right, but I’m not sure…the chesticles aren’t conclusive, IMO.

    Agreed. Who was it that was so good at figuring out men’s legs and asses from women’s around here? Was it Ron? Minion? I have forgotten after being gone for so long? Anyways, we need them to weigh in and tell us!

    Good god, I hope one of my formerly used skills was not THAT skill. Please let it be minion, please let it be minion, please!!

    Minion? Doesn’t he get confused between women and sheep or was that Marcus? (Oh, and being from Scotland, albeit not the northern part) I’m allowed to make that joke. To wit: Why do Scotsmen wear kilts? Because sheep can hear zippers.

    I’ll get me coat.

    I was pretty sure it was Marcus that struggled with gender differentiation but I’ve a nagging feeling it was Scaler. Marcus is a triathlete and both he and Minion had a thing for sheep.

  26. @chris

    RIGHT! Scaler sounds right to my fading memory. Thanks! Okay, where is Scaler these days?

    Is it a Mate or a Lass going hands over Ass there in the lead photo???

  27. @Owen

    Oh, and @Frank: How you keep your fi’zi:k tape sparkling clean is beyond me. One ride in and mine looks like I store the bike in mud.

    My white fi’zi:k tape looked good for exactly one day. Then I went for a ride. It’s been dirty and crappy looking ever since. Scrubbing helps a little, but it’s more of a gray now. I don’t understand why everyone says it cleans up so well. Maybe I got the wrong type? I sure as hell don’t want some slippery gloss tape. Makes me want to go back to good old fashioned basic black.

  28. @Buck Rogers

    @universo

    Boonen is not consistent either, so his non-glove wearing is not gaining him any points. Knowing when to wear gloves [ especially if they’re conditioned with superstition ] is badass and clever.

    First off, BRILLIANT photo of Le Professeur that needs no justification for sharing but I am curious as to where you are going with this? Because he won sans gloves? Just curious. LOVE the photo!

    Fignon is captured here winning with p*nache wearing his winning, white p*ttards.

  29. @universo

    Ah, got it. Not sure what the hell I was thinking when I wrote “because he won sans gloves” as he obviously has beautiful white gloves on. Tracking now!

  30. @MangoDave

    Haha! Yep, you got the wrong kind.

    Try a wet rag and some dish-washing liquid (or clothes-washing). Rub the solution in then use the damp rag and scrub.

  31. @Oli

    I’ve tried just about everything except for laundry detergent. Dish soap and scrubbing with a clean nylon brush worked the best so far.

  32. Great stuff G-dog… and a strange thing, the wearing of gloves for me. Mountain bike, always, full finger, coz you need the crash protection but have never felt right without them.

    Road, in summer I never wear gloves, started that because of hideous hand tan lines mainly, but now it just feels too hot and not connected to the bars. Which is even stranger because weraing thertmal gloves in winter doesn’t worry me one bit.

    For the cobbles in Spring, usually a pair of warm uns with a pair of padded fingerless over the top. You ain’t feeling nothin anyway!

  33. Dressing for impact isn’t why I started wearing gloves…it had more to do with how slippery those hoods would get on those hot summer rides.

    But flash forward about a year to when I found myself sliding across the tarmac after attempting a turn with a deflated front tire. While my shoulders, arms, legs, and buttocks were well tore up, my gloves had spared me the ultimate pain of skinned palms. In those moments after the crash, while picking gravel out of my other wounds, I realized how half full my glass really was.

    I experienced the same results this past weekend when I found myself in strict observance of Rule #49 while still attached to the bike…shoulders took a beating but the hands came out just fine.

    Rule or no rule, as long as I’m swinging a leg over a top tube I’ll have gloves on my hands.

  34. @Vince

    Had I only summoned enough judgement to register here as Vince. Vince is my name. Anyways, Vince, I’ve turned up irrefutable photographic evidence that Velominati Frank not only shares a Salvarani, Italian bloodline, but that the style of mitts is just the way it is.

  35. @universo

    @Vince

    Had I only summoned enough judgement to register here as Vince. Vince is my name. Anyways, Vince, I’ve turned up irrefutable photographic evidence that Velominati Frank not only shares a Salvarani, Italian bloodline, but that the style of mitts is just the way it is.

    Are gents #1 and #3 riding modern cross bikes?

  36. I don’t know about anyone else but whenever I go without gloves particularly in the heat, my hoods often feel “gummy”. Anyone got a reason for that?

  37. I don’t know about that. I do know that Luca Paolini prefers thin gloves to keep a little separation.

    Giro LTZ

    pedale forchetta has captured his foto wearing the white

  38. Red Beard 2014 Giro d’Italia

  39. Gloves, gloves, gloves! I work with my hands… If your a lawyer, Portland/Seattle techno business nerd, etc., no gloves, fine.

    Only the thinnest and least padding. My all time favorites were paper thin fine Italian leather.

    @wiscot

    Thanks for making me clean the iPad screen I have never looked at a kilt as a tactical tool…

    @Buck Rogers

    So good to see you back in the fold. All good with the growing bike team and are you keeping your uncle happy over there in the Rip Van Winkle hills??

  40. Gloves are……..like onions on my pizza. When I go with (onions) or without (gloves), I hope mostly to avoid some sort of unexpected jam, like close quarters with my squeeze or close quarters with a Buick on a gravelly road.

    On balance, I’m a fan of wearing mitts, but I prefer old school gloves, the sort with the Velcro closure and the opening on top of your hand, not those geeky-assed, oversized, aerodynamic(WTF?) slip-on affairs that look like something worn by a villain in a bad 1980’s sci-fi flick. Best combo for me is gloves with leather bottoms and cloth tops – the better for wiping around your eyes.

  41. @Owen

    @universo

    @Vince

    Had I only summoned enough judgement to register here as Vince. Vince is my name. Anyways, Vince, I’ve turned up irrefutable photographic evidence that Velominati Frank not only shares a Salvarani, Italian bloodline, but that the style of mitts is just the way it is.

    Are gents #1 and #3 riding modern cross bikes?

    Nope, they are riding old school Mafac centerpull brakes my friend. They robably weighed about a pound each and were used quite commonly through the mid 70s. Even in 1977 Bernard Thevenet (Peugeot) used then in his second Tour victory (the one where he crushed the Prophet on Pra Loup.)

  42. @wiscot

    I think he’s talking about the bottom photo. :wink:

  43. @Oli

    @wiscot

    I think he’s talking about the bottom photo. :wink:

    So true :) something something motors something something…

  44. @Oli

    @wiscot

    I think he’s talking about the bottom photo. :wink:

    Too soon! Too soon!!

  45. Wait, you want me to engage my brain before I post? Where’s the fun in that?

  46. @wiscot

    Don’t listen to these bullies. You’re perfect just as you are.

  47. You smell like wees!

  48. No gloves until the temps drop to single digits, then the DeFeet merino long fingered gloves come out for descents. Not sure why, but when my hands are covered I always feel like I’m overheating. Can’t stand the palm padding.

  49. One big issue with not wearing gloves is what the sweat does to rubber on my hoods. Maybe I have especially toxic sweat but those things disintegrate quickly when I don’t wear gloves. Nothing like shredding rubber on your hands.

  50. Right. I just rode outside the last two days without gloves and LOVED the feeling but how does one deal with the snot???

    I am not Erik Breukink or anything but I always have snot running or dripping down and usually I just use the back of my glove but for the last two days it was just a mess!!!

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