An Argument About Gloves

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.

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108 Replies to “An Argument About Gloves”

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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