Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Better Gloves for Bike Messengers? UPDATED!!!

I have found the solution to my problem!

While browsing through the Instructables website, I found this nifty article about how to make your gloves "indestructible" or, at least, make them last a lot longer. Now, all I need to do is buy a new pair of cycling gloves and a can of Plasti Dip, as well as finding some way to mount the gloves so they can dry properly.

Once I've finished, I should be able to use gloves longer than a month.

Here's the old article - which, for reason unknown has received quite a lot of hits over the past couple of weeks - for your reading pleasure:

I am sick and tired of going through gloves faster than I go through socks. I really am. I tried buying several pairs at the same time, but I had the same problems with gloves wearing-out, except that they'd simply fall apart more slowly and the company that made the brand I liked stopped selling them a long time ago.

I long ago gave-up on the cheap ones  that are made mainly of cotton and have a fishnet-like appearance. These last for awhile, but using them can result in a really weird tan on your hands that makes you look like you have a severe case of liver spots. Typical price: $10.

I've tried lycra gloves that are supposedly better, but they are far too delicate for daily use. It doesn't take long for the stitching to break and the gloves begin to fall apart. Typical price: $20+.

I've tried all-leather weightlifting gloves, but these are meant for occasional use - a couple of hours at a time for maybe three days a week - and aren't suitable for being worn five days a week for eight hours a day. Stitching began to give way within two weeks. Typical price: $25.

Some guy I know suggested that I could get a cheap pair of durable gloves by purchasing a pair of gardening gloves and simply cutting the fingers off. I was stupid enough to try this and the gloves gave-out completely in less than two weeks.

Some of the other couriers in town have given-up on cycling gloves altogether, preferring to ride barehanded. The types of gloves I've mentioned don't really seem to offer much protection when you look at them. But, I think that it's always a good idea to have something between your hands and the ground when you crash and I'd rather spend the money on bad gloves, rather than have to spend hundreds or thousands on medical bills resulting from a crash that could leave my hands all fucked-up.

Basically, I'm looking for the following qualities in cycling gloves:
  • the gloves should cover the entirety of the hands between the wrist and the middle of my fingers, leaving no openings for tanning spots;
  • the stitching should be durable enough that it won't fall apart in less than two weeks from being worn everyday;
  • a leather or faux leather palm to protect my hands from impacting the ground;
  • the material for the rest of the glove should be something durable such as cotton, canvas or leather;
  • I really don't care if the gloves breathe well, since it doesn't get hot enough in Honolulu and I think having them breathe too much actually becomes a problem on rainy days. I'd rather have hot hands than cold ones;
I used to have issues with the brands of cycling shoes I was buying, too. They weren't meant for daily use and the stitching would begin to give-out in less than two months. A few of them had soles which would start to crack and I'd have to buy a new pair. Shoes suitable for clipless pedals can cost more than $60 a pair and I'd like to be able to use them longer than four months. Those problem were solved when Chrome began selling their own line of cycling shoes. I bought a pair of Kursks and haven't had serious issues with them. Before I found-out about Chrome's cycling shoes, I was ready to give-up on clipless pedals entirely and just use pedal with toe clips, like most of the other couriers in town. It would be really cool if Chrome began marketing cycling gloves meant for use by bike messengers.

I'm going to give Mechanix Wear M-Pact Fingerless Gloves a shot. They seem to be a durable brand of glove meant for daily usage and I'm hoping that the stitching will hold up to being worn for eight to ten hours at a time. They cost about as much as a regular pair of cycling gloves, so it's not out-of-line with what I have already been spending.

UPDATE: My gloves  arrived on August 17th and I will keep this post updated on how long it takes before the gloves begin to fall apart. If they last for an appreciable amount of time, I may stick with this brand as my choice for cycling gloves, even though these were originally designed and marketed as mechanics' gloves.

UPDATE: On their first full day of use, the stitching came undone over the right index finger. I was able to mend it with ordinary thread, but this didn't bode well.

UPDATE: After about two months, a small hole appeared in the palm of the left hand glove. Attempts to patch the hole were unsuccessful. This does demonstrate that these gloves are no better than others I've owned before. Given that these gloves are supposedly made for mechanics to use on the job, I would have assumed that they'd be more durable. I've never had this happen to me with other gloves I've tried in the past.

FINAL UPDATE: I've decided that buying a new set of cycling gloves every month or every other month is something I'm just to have to do from now on. There are no brands of cycling gloves that can stand-up to daily use and being worn in all kinds of weather for eight to ten hours at a time, which will not begin to fall apart within a few weeks or even days. Buying the Mechanix Wear M-Pact Fingerless Gloves to use as cycling gloves was a mistake. If I order a set of gloves over the Internet, I have to wait for them to arrive in the mail, as opposed to simply walking into a store and buying a pair.

Duane Browning
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