sometimes you have to stop and smell the chamois butter

Sunday, June 5, 2011

taking the gloves off

Since I'm getting up there in my years, I find it hard to embrace certain forms of change.  Most of those incur in my world of pedaling a bicycle.  Habits get ingrained over years of repetition.  Miles and miles and miles of rolling along comfortably in my bubble of what works for me.  Merckx would measure his saddle and stem positions fanatically.  He also won a boatload of races.  There are many others out there with the "princess and the pea" haunting their riding position and gear choices. 
I've ridden with glove since I can remember.  The boss at the my first bike shop job pounded in our heads that gloves can save your hands in a crash and clean debris off of your tires.  When I graduated to mountain riding I began to wear long-fingered gloves for protection.  Then I started riding in long-fingered gloves all the time, no matter which discipline. 
This winter I sprung for some Brooks leather handlebar wrap.  It is an elegant touch to a road/touring/cross bike.  I spent a great deal of time this winter in the saddle of the cross bike.  The Brooks wrap looked sassy on my ride, but grip was a bit on the sketchy side with winter gloves.  Meanwhile a friend and I were having a debate on what the best glove for leather wrap would be.  He was also unnerved in the drops for lack of gription.  I continued to run full fingered gloves and recently re-wrapped my bars so the lower half is a grippy cork tape wrapped over the Brooks.  It feels good and looks kinda cool being all two colored and what-not. 
So the other day I decided to pedal on the road on a day off and for some reason I didn't need gloves.  Partly because it was getting hot and also because I just was curious how it would feel.  I'll have to say I was still comfy riding and had plenty of grip, even on the leather section. 
I just finished my second ride today sans gloves and I'll have to say for warm weather drop-bar riding I am a convert. 
I'm not gonna go giving up my gloves on the mountain bike though.  Not just yet.