June 11, 2011
When looking through different types of cycling apparel, short-fingered cycling gloves for the warm season are easy to miss. For starters, the idea of wearing gloves when it is 80 degrees and sunny out doesn't seem completely intuitive. With shorter rides, you may not feel any discomfort or need for cycling gloves, so packing them up for a longer trip may not even cross your mind. Also, some people just don't find them necessary, kind of like the guy who isn't too concerned about cycling shorts, and rides across the country in cut-off jeans. Everyone has a preference that works for them. But if you're new to cycling, or just haven't given much thought to cycling gloves, be aware that they do offer benefits you may appreciate.
The most obvious benefit of cycling gloves is that they enhance the comfort of your hands. If they have enough padding on the palms, they can reduce pressure points that can cause your hands to go numb. Likewise, they reduce friction that can lead to blisters, which can really compromise your comfort on a long, hot day. If you're fairly new to riding, I would recommend getting a glove that has relatively thick padding, since your hands might not be fully broken in with calluses. Thicker padding also encourages you to grip the bars a little more loosely, which can help you relax your arms while riding.
When looking for cycling gloves, you will see that the selection can be pretty overwhelming. Since these are for warm weather riding, it is nice if the material on the back side of your hand is minimal. If you can find something with a light mesh material that will help keep your hands cool, that can be ideal (although you may wind up with some funny tan lines). You will find that most gloves run around $10 to $25, making them one of the less expensive pieces of cycling apparel.
If aesthetics are important to you, we're really excited about the Summer Glove from Rivendell, which features leather palms and crocheted cotton backs for just $15.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.