Research has shown that mountain biking is among one of the most popular outdoor activities in the UK. Few activities provide you with as much heart-pumping exercise combined with breath-taking views of Mother Nature at her best. However, this pastime is not the cheapest around considering the amount of safety gear required for one to participate. Imagine, a bike alone costs several hundred, if not thousands, and this is for a pretty basic unit.
It is very tempting for a newbie mountain biker to try and acquire cheap used gear and some go to the extent of turning a blind eye on some vital stuff. Despite this temptation, there are specific concerns that you must factor in when purchasing even the simplest of equipment, such as Mountain Bike Gloves. They are in fact among the most fundamental items to purchase and they are near the top of the list. Here’s why.
“Mountain Bike Gloves”
1. They improve your grip
We all know that any physical activity you engage in will make you sweaty, and mountain biking is no exception. After riding in any weather, your palms get so moist and slippery that even the grippiest of grips are not that grippy. This is a safety hazard especially if you are at a high point in your ride as you may slip off and bash your bonce.
Sweat aside, you may ride into a wet spot, which will splash water on your palms making them even slipperier. With such a slippery grip, there’s no telling when your hands will fly off the steering making you tumble in the jaggery rocky scape. A good pair of gloves will keep you moving forward with a confident brake, solid grip, and good shifter controls. Get a grip!
2. They protect your hands
Have you ever had blisters after a long rocky ride? Well, it was most likely because you neglected to use your Bike Gloves. When you ride, the frequent shifting of weight to your hands, braking ,and gear changes make you more prone to developing blisters and harming your palms and knuckles. This is even if the ride goes without incident.
As we know, riding in mountain ranges, dales and valleys comes with a handful of potential accidents and falls. Imagine landing on your palms without a glove to protect you. Instinctively, you try to catch yourself with your hands as your body gets tossed to the ground and after such an incident, you will end up with a bloody palm that can no longer hold the steering control in the middle of a mountain. Disaster! Ride over!
While riding, gloves might not necessarily prevent a sprain or break, but they will surely prevent palm abrasions and cuts. Falling off your bike without gloves would put you off the tracks for weeks on end whereas a good pair of gloves may help you finish the ride you were taking. You can ride on and hit more trails next week.
Additionally, mountain biking gloves don’t only protect you during crashes, but also near-crash incidents caused by the poor choice of lines. When riding in the mountains or forest, you might scrape your hands along with tree barks or even clip a tree branch of the trunk. Even worse, hook up on brambles. Good quality gloves will protect you not only from getting such scrapes, but also protect your hands from getting shredded by trees and bushes. Wear protection - always!
3. They provide adequate shock absorption
When you visit your nearest bike store or shop online, you might notice that gloves come in different sizes, styles, and colors. You may also notice that some gloves have padding on the palm and heel of each glove. This gel functions to add extra grip for the rider and to provide an extra cushion to absorb the shock transmitted from the rough trails. Such padding will greatly help with your comfortability all through your ride. No one wants to be extra tired with sore wrists and palms after a long ride.
4. They help with climate control
Mountain Bike Gloves usually can make the athlete ride comfortably in both cold and hot temperatures. Many riders have summer gloves which are usually fingerless and have a breathable mesh fabric that promotes airflow in the hot humid summer sun. They also have a moisture-wicking fabric net covering the back of the hand-making the hand comfortable and cool while cycling. A soft cloth at the thumbs makes it convenient for the biker to wipe away sweat in a second with a hook-and-loop closing system for a more secure fit.
Moreover, there are windproof gloves that make the cyclist more comfortable as he rides when the temperature begins to fall. These gloves come with a non-slip grip silicone pad on the palm and fingers that provide soft and durable use. They also increase friction and abrasion resistance and can hold things safely and firmly. Many of these gloves also have reflection patterns at the back of the gloves to reflect light at night in case you get caught up with time while cycling.
5. They are great in showcasing your style
One of the benefits of putting on mountain bike gloves is that they are very stylish and they will add to your look in that evening ride with mates or a downhill tournament. You could decide to go with gloves that match your outfit to make you look more professional. These gloves are usually available in many colors and designs that fit most athletic outfit designs. Or, you could always purchase gloves that match your bike. Either way, you can look at the business wearing a neat pair of mountain bike gloves.
6. They provide warmth during night rides
Cycling early in the morning, late at night, or downhill could expose you to substantial amounts of cold temperature which would make your pincers freeze up, which is not helpful when you go to grab a handful of brakes. Cold thumbs are not so sensitive when it comes to gear shifting.
7. They are great face wipes
Many gloves today come with a soft pad at the back to help cyclists wipe away their sweat instead of packing an extra towel for the purpose. This will help you to avoid distractions as you ride or prevent any unnecessary stops to wipe away your sweat which could get into your eyes and prevent clear vision. Getting gloves with one of these would greatly help you ride more comfortably with minimal destruction.
Caring for your gloves
Whether your gloves are made of manmade fibers, they soak up your sweat and within no time, they start stinking like a well-worn pair of socks, and who wants that smell on their palms? When you put on your gloves, you should make a point of washing them after each use to keep your hands free of infectious microbes from previous sweat. Yes, you can wash your gloves.
To wash them, put your gloves in warm water and some powder detergent and let them soak. Adding half a cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener can help with the disinfection process. The vinegar will help eliminate the smell. After this, you need to hand rinse the gloves with warm clean water and air dry them in the shade so that the direct sunlight might not destroy the gloves.
When comparing whether or not to put on mountain bike gloves during your ride, the latter always loses because it is common sense to protect yourself as you hit the trails. The cost might be high. There have been pro-cyclists who ended their careers before they began because of neglecting personal safety precautions such as putting on a pair of gloves.
You need to be extra keen when purchasing them as the market today is flooded with counterfeit gloves and total rubbish, which will only serve you for a few weeks before they become unsafe to use. Buy those gloves that are thick enough and padded enough for a rough ride to avoid injuries, but are comfortable. Additionally, get several pairs for every climate as using winter gloves during the summer or vice versa could have detrimental effects on your goals as a cyclist. Pick the breathable gloves during the hot season and winter gloves for the colder seasons and you will be well on your way to safe cycling.
Gloves meant for endurance riders or those aimed at downhill often come with a thicker layer on the back and fingers to protect the rider from accidental scratches and bruises from tree trunks and branches while riding. Gloves also soak up your sweaty hands making them dry enough to grip the handlebars well for better control at all times. Next time you want to go riding with your friends on the mountain slopes or you want to take part in a competition, remember that your hands matter the most and if you miss putting on safety gloves, you might just end up with sore wrists and a bruised palm that will take weeks to heal properly. Stay safe by making the right choice.