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Best Gloves Ever, 1983

When it comes to summer cycling gloves—and appropriate weather has finally arrived to forego winter gloves—I’m a big fan of traditional fingerless leather and cotton crochet hand armour.

I’ve sought out this style for more decades than I care to ponder, stocking them at many of the bike shops where I worked. The pair illustrated above (with Mamiyaflex 6X6 camera and Ilford Pan F Plus developed in Perceptol) were the best specimen I have ever owned.

The best examples (over the decades) seem to be made in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the quality of the leather and padding seem to have declined—at least in the ones I’m seeing  in local shops—in recent years.

I’m holding on to the last “bombproof” pair I own, though they have acquired a certain ripe nose.

As you can see in the illustration below, the palm leather is real and substantial. I can guarantee, from selfless personal stress testing, that such material will save your hide in case of spills.

Though I suffered a badly bruised palm from a 70 kp/h “endo” on a logging road some years back, I hate to think what my hand would have looked like were it not for the protection of similar gloves.

The very gloves pictured here saved my palms during a 50kp/h wipeout that saw me slide the width of the road, into the gravel shoulder. Only one fingertip wore through to the meaty bits. Oh, and my favourite bibs were shredded, along with my hip.

They are also survivors of my worst cycling debacle. But for some lost stitching, they remain intact—which is more than can be said for this grizzled senior cyclist.

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Second Best Gloves Ever

I know some people don’t like a lot of padding in their gloves and some cyclists forego the use of gloves completely. This article is not for them.

On long brevets and bumpy roads, my ulnar nerves signal their appreciation for the extra insulation. As above, should my skills or fate fail me, I have a second skin between me and the road.

The palms of these gloves can be cared for in a similar manner to leather saddles. I hand wash them occasionally (to combat the aforementioned odour), use saddle soap and Brooks Proofide. Most recently, I tried out some products bought to care for my leather jacket.

The cotton back is, to my mind, more comfy on hot days than synthetics, though you may find yourself with a spotty tan.

Poking around the Interwebs I notice there are a few interesting examples on offer (e.g. Bike Nashbar) that look somewhat more serviceable than what I’m seeing locally.

What kind of summer cycling gloves do you love?

Remembering Earth Day

by Raymond Parker on April 22, 2013

in Environment, Events


In my haste and diversion, I almost forgot today is Earth Day. How easily we are distracted, by our troubles and our fancies, from our duty to tend our garden.

Perhaps that is the best place to start, close to home. This morning—a glorious blast of spring—I noticed the riot of colour outside my city front door (recorded above) and the birds singing their courtship songs. All this is, as it is every day if we pay attention, a clarion call to defend the sacred thread of life, to which we are ultimately attached and dependant upon.

How can we play our part in that duty? We can get our hands dirty in the back yard, making beauty and habitat without chemicals and water-wasting choices. We can join local or international efforts towards conservation. We can become politically active in the fight against destruction of the ecosphere, write a letter, an essay, take a photograph, protest, vote. You can choose to live nearer to work. You can ride a bicycle. Each one of us can play a part in defending the Earth, however modest.

Ultimately, I can say no more than I did in these pages 3-years-ago. In whatever small way, I try to pass on the wisdom imparted to me by the defenders of nature that I have been so lucky to meet in my travels on this incredible planet.

Handling bad weather with winter cycling gloves

April 18, 2013

Even as we transit spring, towards summer, it’s not too late to discuss winter cycling wear. Local weather over the last few weeks has prompted the question Do I carry sunblock, or sou’wester? The “Wet Coast” climate is arguably harder to dress for than colder, drier areas, doubly for exposed extremities, especially hands. Dry cold, […]

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Thoughts on the bike

March 25, 2013

The sky was dark at noon, hidden by roiling charcoal clouds. Thunder rumbled, it seemed, from the depths of the shadowy forest. I battled an angry headwind, laced with stinging rain.

Nineteen years ago now, on a solo 2-month tour, I found myself, or rather had ridden myself onto, a winding, unpaved section of the Alaska Highway, between Teslin and Swift Current. […]

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More bikes about town

February 28, 2013

Indeed, it seems there are more bikes around Victoria, British Columbia, every day. Even in the dead of what goes for winter here—and it can be miserably wet—the bike racks are rarely empty. So it is no great accomplishment, as I ride or walk around the city, to pull my iPhone from my pocket and […]

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Unsaddled and bedridden

February 21, 2013

I hear riding weather has been wonderful on the Left Coast these past few days, and I’ve caught a few stray rays through the blinds as I stumbled towards the loo. Unfortunately, I’ve caught something less enjoyable than sunlight—a flu virus that has sidelined many poor sods the last few weeks. Now I’m sodded too. […]

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