What’s the point of cycling gloves? Somebody asked me that recently in that tone of voice that implied bike gloves are one of those accessories that are more about image than substance. I mean, c’mon. Do you really need gloves for riding a bike?
Actually, many cyclists find that gloves are an important part of their gear and wouldn’t be found on the bike without them. Let’s take a look at the seven main functions that bike gloves perform.
1. Improved Grip and Control
You know that being out on a bike can make you pretty sweaty – especially if it is one of those warm and humid days. And that means your hands are wet, too. Like clothes with wicking technology, a good pair of gloves will help keep your hands dry, which means that you can maintain a better grip on the handlebars.
The gloves also serve to trap the sweat that would otherwise be likely to drip into your shifters. And over time, moisture – and especially perspiration because of its high mineral content – can cause those components to deteriorate.
2. Comfort and Protection for Your Skin
If you’ve ever spent a couple of hours or more on a bike, you probably realized that, somewhat surprisingly, cycling can be pretty hard on your hands. From the constant pressure on your palms, to the wear on your fingers from running your shifters through the range of gears, it doesn’t take long for calluses or blisters to develop. A pair of bike gloves can give your skin the extra layer of protection you need to be comfortable, even on the longest ride.
3. Shock Absorption
You’ll notice that many pairs of gloves on the market today have some type of cushioning, such as gel padding, etc., built into the palms. The reason is that gloves with this padding serve a very useful function in absorbing shock from the road that would otherwise be transferred to the rider.
Think about it this way. When you’re riding, whether on a road or mountain bike, and you hit some bumps in the road, the shock and impact from that carries straight up from the front fork through your arms and into your shoulders. That’s why you may be achy in that area or your neck and back after a longer ride. When wearing bike gloves, the cushions in the palms act as shock absorbers, helping to dampen some of the energy being transmitted up from the bike before it gets into your body. Not only will this help the ride feel smoother as you go, but it will also help reduce those aches you feel when you are done.