The other day, I searched for cycling essentials, and I found that the items required for cycling are a helmet, bike lights, gloves, a track pump, padded cycling shorts, shoes, and pedals. And then I started wondering why cyclists wear gloves when riding.
Cyclists wear gloves when riding because gloves keep their hands warm in cooler temperatures and protect their hands from slipping on the grips and bars due to sweat in hot temperatures ( and in the rain). In general, gloves make cyclists’ hands feel better and safer on longer rides.
And additionally, wearing gloves makes cyclists safer and visible to drivers. Also, cycling gloves have extra padding at the palms, making a big difference when riding for hours.
Keep reading to find out in detail why cyclists wear gloves when riding cycling gloves, pros and cons.
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Do Most Cyclists Wear Gloves?
About 84.29 percent of cyclists wear gloves when riding, according to a survey of 369 cyclists. The data below shows that amount all the participants, only 15.72 percent said that they don’t wear cycling gloves.
Now let’s discuss why cyclists wear gloves when riding.
Why Cyclists Wear Gloves When Riding
For many cyclists, cycling gloves are as essential as running shoes for runners. Reasons for wearing gloves included:
1- Cycling Gloves Protect Your Hands in Case of a Crash
Riding on open roads involves a risk of getting into an accident, and cycling gloves provide extra protection for your hands in case of a crash.
None of us starts a ride planning to crash; however, accidents can happen, no matter how careful we are. Usually, when you crash, your reflex reaction is to stick your hands out to break the fall. Right?
And gloves can act as a valuable first layer of defense, sometimes to prevent painful cuts and abrasions.
Imagine you are taking a corner at 40 kph, your pedal clipped to the ground. Instead of rolling into a ditch, you had the good sense to put your hands and feet out under. Without cycling gloves, you would have severely injured your hands. Cycling gloves can effectively protect your hands in case of a crash.
2- Cycling Gloves Enhance Your Grip and Control on The Handlebars
When riding in humid and warm conditions, your hands can get sweaty quickly and easily slip around the handlebars until you have a good grip. Cycling gloves help to soak up the sweat, which keeps your hands dry and allows you to have a safe grip on the handlebars at all times.
In addition, gloves are handy, especially when it starts raining while you are cycling.
3- Cycling Gloves Provide Comfort
Generally, cycling gloves have padded palms, which provide you with extra comfort and cushion. The extra padding on your gloves helps cushion your hands from the vibrations coming from the bike and handlebar.
While riding, cyclists usually place pressure on their ulnar and median nerves. And then, they start to feel numbness, tingling, or even pain in their fingers by entrapping them, affecting their grip strength and how well they control their bike.
As a result, wearing gloves will help to soften the vibrations, eliminating hand discomfort.
4- Cycling Gloves Can Serve as Face Wipe
Another reason cyclists wear gloves when riding is that cycling gloves can serve as a face wipe. Most cyclists use their gloves to keep their noses clean.
The good news is that many cycling glove manufacturers include a soft towel section, typically across the thumb, useful for wiping your nose or sweaty face.
Without gloves, where do you wipe your nose drips? On your hands?? just let it run down your lip? Carry a box of tissues in your pocket?
5- Cycling Gloves Can Help Prevent Injury
Most cyclists are likely to suffer from handlebar palsy, known medically as ulnar neuropathy, joint overuse, or repetitive stress affecting cyclists.
It results from direct pressure put on the ulnar nerve at the hand and wrist, causing stretching or hyperextension of the nerve.
Padded gloves can reduce hypothenar pressure magnitudes by 10 to 28%, with slightly better pressure reduction using thin foam padding, according to a study.
The risks of injuries are too high without wearing cycling gloves. And wearing gloves can help you disperse the force applied to these nerves and reduce your chance of injury.
How To Choose Cycling Gloves
There are various cycling gloves for different weather conditions. And, choosing the right pair of gloves is crucial to enjoying a healthy and comfortable ride.
There are two types of gloves: full and half-finger.
- Half-finger gloves are ideal for road cyclists because of their breathability, and they allow you to feel your brake levers. And they are suitable for mountain bikers as they can protect your hands from thorns.
- Fingerless gloves are ideal for chilly days and long rides. Fingerless leather gloves in summer and normal leather gloves in winter.
Choosing The Right Size
When shopping, ensure you choose the right size for yourself. If your gloves are too big, the gel padding might not fit your hand comfortably.
If your cycling gloves are too tight, then holding the bar will intensify the pressure on the ulnar nerve, giving you more pain and discomfort.
The key is to find a well-fitting pair of gloves.
Padded gloves can alleviate hypothenar pressure magnitudes by 10 to 28%, found a study.
Should you choose foam or gel padding?
- If you are riding on the road, choose foam padding because foam padding allows for a better connection to the bike’s handlebar. Foam padding provides slightly better pressure reduction using thin, showed the same study.
- If you are riding on the trails, choose gel padding because it is thicker and heavier; however, it provides greater protection from intense surface vibration.
Most cycling gloves are synthetic leather on the palms and spandex on the top.
Choose breathable and flexible materials for easy mobility and efficient sweat absorption.
Why Are Cycling Gloves Fingerless?
Cycling gloves are fingerless because they provide comfort and protection without sacrificing your ability to operate the shifting and brake levers. And the big advantage of fingerless gloves is that they are generally lighter and way more breathable.
In addition, bike gloves have padding to improve impact absorption and are made of moisture-wicking material that keeps your grip secure.
Plus, as an added bonus, many brands of cycling gloves have a convenient patch on the back of the glove for those moments when your nose might get a bit runny and you need a quick wipe, which happens to most cyclists when the weather starts getting cooler.
Like anything in life, wearing cycling gloves has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore all cycling gloves’ pros and cons.
Cycling Gloves Pros and Cons
The table below contains the advantages and disadvantages of cycling gloves:
|Cycling Gloves Pros||Cycling Gloves Cons|
|– Provide safety (your hands stay in place with gloves to avoid slippery as sweaty hands can be slippery)|
– Protection from falls or cacti or rocks, or poison oak.
– Helps keep your feet stay in place with clipless pedals.
– Keep you warm in the wintertime.
– Protect yourself from fracturing your scaphoid when you fall.
– Help prevent numbness from handlebar vibrations and for protection in the event of a crash.
– Wearing bright gloves helps draw attention to your hand signals and can help you signal to drivers and fellow riders better.
– Can prevent hand sunburn in extreme weather conditions.
– Increase grip on the bars and controls, especially if conditions get bad.
– keep calluses from forming on your hands.
– Padded gloves may help you with tendinitis in your wrist.
– You can use gloves to clean grit off his wheel more safely while riding.
|– Wearing cycling gloves makes some people sweat a lot during the hot season.|
– It may feel unnatural to wear gloves because the handlebar and hands feel empty
– Costly – cycling gloves can be expensive
– Cycling gloves are easy to lose or hard to find when needed.
– Some people think that gloves can distract them from some tricks.
– Gloves can be too hot, especially in the summertime
– Riding gloveless offers more liberty and sensation on the grip. As you are not disturbed by a fold or a glove moving because it is badly attached.
Wearing gloves when riding is a personal decision. But, I strongly recommend you wear gloves when riding because gloves are those things that you are not worth until you crash, then you would be glad you wore them. In addition, the perceived loss of feeling is insignificant compared to the healing time factors. I believe wearing gloves will save you healing time with no riding
If you are an avid cyclist practicing in an area with lots of road and mountain bikers. When you crash, and if you ride a lot it is a matter of when not if, you need gloves on to protect your hands.
When choosing cycling gloves, pick the ones with comfort, protection, grip, and nose wipe.
Wearing cycling gloves can help you with:
- Crash protection
- Sweat removal
- Sunblock protection
- Better grip and control
- Vibration control