Cycling gloves are one of those accessories that may not seem to make much sense until you try them out. After all, isn’t it possible to ride a bike without gloves? Of course. Millions of people each year ride bicycles without giving a second thought to their hands or to gloves, and they turn out fine. However, a pair of cycling gloves can offer many benefits to health-conscious cyclists, and it’s worth becoming aware of the advantages they contain before writing them off. The following guide will give you some of the functions and benefits of wearing cycling gloves.
First of all, wearing cycling gloves is a good way to gain a bit of control and grip over your bicycle. If you’ve ever ridden up a sweat, or ridden on a hot or humid day, you know that it’s possible to get wet, sweaty hands while riding. A good set of cycling gloves can keep your hands dry, or at least less wet, allowing you to keep a better grip on the handlebars, which contributes to better control and steering, which is something most cyclists can never have enough of.
Next, cycling gloves are like a second layer of skin over your natural skin. Whenever you ride for an extended period of time, your palms will take a considerable amount of pressure, as will individual fingers. It’s easy to develop calluses or blisters on your hands and fingers after several such rides; cycling gloves give you another element of protection between your hands and the bicycle, contributing to comfort over long and hard rides.
Speaking of riding, another substantial health and comfort benefit of wearing cycling gloves involves the shock absorption they provide. Many cycling gloves will come with a type of cushioning, including gel or other fabric padding inside the palms. This keeps the shocks that come from riding over bumps and other obstacles from transmitting through the tires into the fork of the bicycle and into your arms and shoulders or neck at full strength. The cushioning of the gloves reduces the energy of each impact, which not only contributes to a smoother ride, but lessens the risks and severity of aches and pains in a variety of body parts after the ride. This is one of the single best reasons to wear cycling gloves whenever you ride; it’s like having a small amount of built in suspension on any bicycle you use.
Of course, if you are in a northern climate, or even if you aren’t, you will likely find yourself riding not just in hot weather, but in cold weather. Many cyclists wear cycling gloves simply to keep their hands from getting cold. After all, a cycling glove is still a kind of glove. You can buy typical bike gloves to help break wind, all the way to full fingered gloves with layers of insulation to protect your hands from frostbite and temperature extremes during even the coldest rides. Some gloves even have mitten overlays that allow you to continue to use the brakes and shift and grip the handlebars without issue, yet offer increased warmth and protection from the cold.
Finally, a basic reason to wear cycling gloves is to increase hand and finger protection in the event of a crash. Skin takes a surprisingly long time to grow back; gloves are cheaper to replace!
As you can see, there are many practical reasons to wear cycling gloves if you ride a bike. And while you absolutely don’t need to wear gloves to have a good ride, wearing them can offer numerous benefits to the health-conscious cyclist. A decent pair of cycling gloves can be had for under $20, and many cyclists even choose to use weightlifting gloves as a basic set of cycling gloves, particularly since such gloves often include wicking material to keep sweat at bay and also offer cushioning to increase comfort.