So in 2012 Emma and myself attempted to get kinda serious about biking. We were pretty successful, becoming regular bike commuters, running many of our errands around the city by bike, going on several bike trips, etc. Of course, it is much easier to be a consistent biker in the summertime and into the early days of autumn. But as temperatures begin to dip from highs in the 60′s to 50′s to the 40′s…well, it begins to get a little tougher. One of the things that makes it really tough is cold fingers, so we both decided to invest in full-fingered bicycle gloves.
We weren’t sure if we were committed to biking into the depths of winter, so we didn’t get anything super insulated or anything — just enough cold weather protection to keep us going and to see how far into the winter we could go before we either 1) gave up biking for the season, or 2) decided we were going to keep biking but needed better gloves. We decided if we were still riding on a regular basis as temps dipped into the 30′s consistently, then we would plunk down some money for some winter bike gloves.
And option #2 was the one that came to be — we were still biking well into December but longing for a little more protection for the fingers. So one day while down Xmas shopping on the Southside, we procured some new gloves at the REI. It seems that most of the time people recommend the use of “lobster claws” — a type of split-fingered mittens that puts your pointer and middle fingers in one part of the mitten and your ring finger and pinky in the other section. REI had one pair of normal lobster style gloves by Pearl Izumi, which were nice, but had velcro’d cuffs that we weren’t sure would do a good job of keeping out the cold air.
Then they had some Novara gloves that featured a four finger design. The thumb, pointer and middle finger are all separate like a regular glove and then the ring finger and pinky are the only two fingers doubled up. We were a little less sold on this aspect of the design, but they had larger cuffs that would go up and over your jacket cuff and could be pulled tight with a quick pull of a tab. Also they were the cheaper option (by about $30), so we went with them.
Having the 4 finger design, it didn’t seem right to call them “lobster claws”. After looking at them one day, it hit me, they are “Simpson’s gloves.” This was reinforced when I caught Emma staring at her hands as she wore her gloves in a manner reminiscent of Otto (in the episode “Weekend at Burnsies”) at the pro-pot rally — “They call them fingers but I never see them fing. Oh, there they go.”
Anyway, they are warm gloves. Emma has said they are perhaps a bit too warm. The warmth comes at a bit of a cost in the nimbleness of your fingers, which is to be expected from any winter glove really. Mainly we’ve noticed this mostly in our ability to get full braking power with our hands positioned on the brake hoods. I’ve found it best to drop down to the drops if i’m concerned about needing full brake power. Otherwise, these things have been treating me pretty great.
After taking a week off from riding around the Xmas travels, Emma and I have both been biking for the last three days straight, including some rides in the snow. It’s been a great adventure and hopefully it’ll keep us active during these gloomy winter months. More tales of winter cycling to come, I’m sure. Stay tuned.