Friday, March 15, 2013

Handling the Cold

It may seem paradoxical to talk about gloves and cold weather as Spring arrives and even moreover because here in NorthCentral Florida the cold times are neither as cold nor as lengthy as much of the rest of the U.S. experiences. Yesterday, though, I did not wear my cold weather gloves thinking I could easily tolerate 40 degrees. Tolerate I did, but comfortable would have been much better.

When I began riding the Schwinn I saw quickly the value of good gloves and my first pair were Rhode Gear crocheted back and my experience with that first pair has kept me wearing crocheted back gloves. I’ve never found anything better. They were more padded than modern gloves and the leather was either superior or the chrome tanning made them so. Nonetheless, I still prefer crocheted gloves to more modern designs. I like the feel of cotton backs better than stretchy fabric, I guess, especially when I wipe my sweaty brow.

Currently, I alternate among four pairs; three Nashbar and one PlanetBike. I have used and abused gloves from both Avenir (which I managed to lose somehow) and AeroTech Designs, but find Nashbar’s most durable. As documented previously, PlanetBike’s Kevlar gloves suffered from a manufacturing flaw which has been resolved. AeroTech’s offering, while comfortable, came apart where the velcor fastener connects to the gloves proper. A local clothing repair place fixed them, but they came apart a second time. The Avenir’s were a good fit, though they were longer and fastened higher on the wrist more like a cuff. Unlike many black gloves they did not discolor my hands when they got sweaty the first time. Maybe I will purchase another pair eventually.

Nashbar and PlanetBike Crochet Back Gloves
The one pair of non-crocheted gloves also came from AeroTech. I chose XLs and the fit proved to be bad around the thumb. I suspect Ls would fit much better. Why I chose purple is a mystery? Since neither of the AeroTechs are unusable I tucked them away as possible back-up. Yeah, I know, with four pair in use what’s the chance I will need a back-up pair?!
Aero Tech Designs and Avenir Gloves
A Large Thumb in an XL Thumb Hole

So, What about cold weather? It took time to find the right equipment, but for two years I have done quite well with a set of outer gloves and inner liner. Actual cycling gloves were more costly that seemed reasonable for the amount of time I would actually wear gloves. Harbor Freight provided a satisfactory outer shell; Goatskin Riding Work Gloves (WesternSafety - item #99583). Costing less than $10, they are durable and adequately padded in the right places. Adding a pair of inserts for sub freezing temperatures took care of all my cold weather needs; Smartwool Liner Gloves. As with many people, wool had never been a favorite fabric. Smartwool’s merino eliminated any problems. Cold fingers a never a problem, unless I am too foolish to see the need for full finger protection.
Harbor Freight and Smartwool; Not So Odd Couple

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