There are many different types of cycling, from road cycling to mountain biking and even velodrome, and each of these different disciplines of the sport requires a lot of specialist equipment, from unique helmets to specifically configured bikes.
While there is a lot that sets the different disciplines of cycling apart, there is almost one universal constant that each discipline makes use of, and this is the use of cycling gloves.
The widespread and consistent use of cycling gloves has many potential explanations, and the benefits they provide is one of the most clear reasons for their use, however, there are several additional advantages that cycling gloves offer.
If you’re on the fence or unsure whether you should invest in quality cycling gloves or not, we’re going to explain why cycling gloves are so popular and why you should consider using them, even if you’re an experienced cyclist who has never made use of them before.
We’re going to look at the performance, safety, and comfort that good gloves provide, as well as other things which are really nice to have, regardless of the specific discipline of cycling you enjoy.
It is important to note however that different disciplines may use slightly different styles of gloves, from fingerless gloves in road or velodrome cycling for increased cooling, to carbon fiber reinforced gloves for better protection when doing downhill or all-mountain riding.
Why Do Cyclists Wear Gloves?
Cycling is a sport that places a lot of emphasis on lower body and core strength, as well as balance, but all of this strength and power generated by the legs is only possible through the control and precision of how cyclists use their hands to control the bike.
This places a lot of stress and strain on the hands, and also means that hands need to be protected and supported in this to make cycling as safe as possible.
There are tons of good reasons for cyclists to wear gloves, and in the next section, we’re going to break down some of the key reasons for their extensive use.
Reasons Why You Should Always Wear Cycling Gloves
One of the number one reasons for the widespread use of cycling gloves is safety.
It doesn’t matter which discipline of cycling you’re doing, there is always a risk of falling off the bike at speed, and whether you’re falling on gravel, asphalt, or dirt, the chances are your hands will be the first thing to touch the floor as you instinctively try to protect yourself from damaging your head or other parts of your body.
While this will help protect you from some damage, your hands will often take the brunt of the damage and this can lead to everything from friction burns to scrapes, breaks, and even puncture wounds.
Using a sturdy pair of cycling gloves will help to mitigate this initial damage your hands would usually suffer, preventing scratches, scrapes and even punctures from doing much damage.
While the level of protection will vary depending on the specific design and style of the glove, as well as its materials, even the simplest cycling glove will offer some welcome protection in situations like this.
One of the big advantages of using bike gloves is that they offer enhanced grip, due to both their construction, design, fit, and materials, which are usually all chosen to help you keep a firm hold of the handlebars even in wet conditions.
From a safety point of view, maintaining a hold on the handlebars is one of the most crucial parts of cycling, and even with very tacky grips, it’s amazing how often your hands can slip and slide off the handlebars, particularly in wet and muddy conditions or hot and sweaty conditions.
A lot of the best gloves will include rubberized or sticky pads on the inside of the fingers to add even more grip and ensure that you can hold onto the bike in almost any position or condition.
A lot of cycling gloves don’t just offer you safety, however, but also massively improved comfort.
The extra padding will help cushion your hands while they grip the handlebars and help prevent the vibrations and friction of the rubber grips from chafing your skin after a long hard ride.
The vibrations, in particular, can be particularly strong when mountain biking, which is why these gloves will often offer a little more padding to help protect from this, as well as protect the nerves and small joints in your hands from getting injured so easily by the strain this can put on you.
An injury that cyclists can often be prone to is handlebar palsy, and this is an injury caused by prolonged compression or pressure on the nerves in your wrist.
This is a problem because the nerves here are packed tightly together in a small area, and this can cause them to become irritated or injured leading to a lot of discomfort or pain, and can even lead to more severe issues such as nerve damage.
Face And Nose Wiping
When cycling, it’s quite common for sweat and mucus to build up in the nose and on the face, and this can often run down the face and be quite a distraction when you’re trying to ride.
Most gloves come with a specially designed soft towel area on the thumb of the glove to help you wipe away these wayward bodily fluids without making a mess or causing discomfort on your nose or mouth from repeated wiping.
How To Choose The Correct Glove
In this section, we’re going to look at how you find the right glove for your needs.
This will depend massively on the type of riding you’re doing. For cross country riding or road cycling, something lighter with good cooling will be key, while for downhill riding, something much heavier and protective would be required.
Use your knowledge of your own discipline and its requirements to find gloves that perfectly fit your requirements.
You also need to find gloves that fit you properly, so it’s good to measure your hands or try on multiple different pairs of gloves in various sizes and styles to find something that is a perfect fit.
There’s nothing worse than a loose pair of gloves as they can be very uncomfortable and bunch up around the joints in the fingers affecting your grip, while gloves that are too tight may affect your circulation to your hands and be really awkward to take on and off during your ride which is really annoying.