Can We Use Gym Gloves for Cycling?
A person cycling without gym gloves.

Out of a plethora of cycling-related questions you’re able to come up with, your wish was to ask: can I use gym gloves for cycling? Okay, okay. We’re not saying we won’t take the issue, just… Enough. Let’s see whether you can use gym gloves for cycling.

Wait, do cyclists wear some special kind of gloves? If so, why? Also, can you wear gloves other than those designed for the gym when cycling? We’ll take a wild guess and say boxing gloves are out of the question. Anyway, in the text that you’re about to read, we’ll show you some basic cycling-gloves-related info, besides answering the questions of all questions: can we use gym gloves for cycling?

While wearing gym gloves instead of regular cycling gloves might prove useful on shorter routes, we suggest you obtain a pair of gloves designed for the sport. If you’re going on long-distance biking adventures, gym gloves will prove to be rather uncomfy. Also, cycling gloves aren’t expensive, if you’re worried about that. 

As always, here at Go Extreme Sports, we kindly suggest you read the whole article. Instead of just glancing over the preview, that is.

Table of Contents

Why do cyclists wear gloves anyway?

So, before we continue our little talk about all the possible substitutes for regular cycling gloves, it’s best we first consider why cyclists wear them in the first place. That being, said here are the reasons why cyclists wear special gloves!

Reason #1: Safety

Needless to say, once you’re hitting the open road, wondering if biking can help you hike better, there’s always the risk of getting into some sort of an accident. Of course, there’s no need to be pessimistic and say that an awful scenario’s bound to happen, but one can never be too careful when it comes to safety, right? Right.

Have you ever fallen off a bike? If so, you’re pretty familiar with the fact our hands tend to be the first to take some damage as we instantly put them in front of the rest of our body during a fall. Therefore, we guess there’s no reason to wonder why gloves come in handy (no pun intended). Gloves will help you by absorbing a portion of the impact and keeping your palms free from scratches and other forms of injury.

Reason #2: Grip

That’s right, cycling gloves will allow you to enjoy a firm grip while you’re riding in warm & humid conditions. That’s because your palms tend to get pretty sweary in such conditions and they can slip around the handlebars without anything stopping them to do so. Unless, of course, you’re wearing a pair of cycling gloves that will soak up the sweat and keep your hands totally dry.

Also, imagine rain starts to fall during one of your cycling adventures. Gloves will provide you with the necessary friction between your hands and the handlebar. Since we’re on the subject of hands (what a weird thing to say), here’s an article about just why cyclists have skinny arms.

Reason #3: Wiping

We’ll explain. Here’s the thing: most cycling gloves you’ll find in the shop have this soft towel section. It’s usually placed across the thumb. Wiping some sweat or saliva off your face seems like the only possible action that could include using the “towel section”.

Reason #4: Warmth

As you’re well aware, your hands (and other extremities) are pretty far away from your body’s blood supply. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that they get cold quite easily. Once they’re cold, they’ll become harder to control. Also, you’ll find it a little uncomfortable. And if you’re riding in cold weather, there’s no way you can avoid wearing gloves, trust us.

Speaking of bad weather, here’s whether trek bikes can get wet (and how to deal with bad weather).

Reason #5: Comfort

Last but not least, we’ve got comfort. It’s probably the most obvious of the reasons we’ve mentioned here. Anyway, the soft padding on your trusty cycling gloves will help you neutralize the vibrations that travel through your bike and handlebar right to your hands. Here’s what happens when you’re riding without gloves: you’ll entrap the ulnar and median nerves, thus paving the way for numbness, tingling, and sometimes – pain in your hand and especially – the fingers. Needless to say, that will affect the way you’re controlling the bike.

All in all: wear gloves. Even though some pro cyclists choose not to wear ’em.

Why do some pro cyclists not wear gloves?

Okay, so those were the reasons why most cyclists wear gloves. However, it seems that some pro cyclists (like Tom Boonen) don’t find them satisfying enough to wear the piece of cycling equipment in question. That’s because some of them want a direct, close grip without all that extra fabric. Also, keep in mind that some of them just want to look as tough as possible.

We shouldn’t forget about that unnecessary peer pressure. Cycling without gloves is like riding a skateboard without a helmet because it simply ain’t cool. Speaking of which, here’s the difference between skateboarding and biking helmets.

Alright, now that we’ve seen exactly why cyclists need to wear gloves, it’s about time we consider our main topic and find out whether you’re able to use gym gloves instead of cycling gloves. Stick around!

A person cycling, with hands on the handlebar, wearing gym gloves.

Can we use gym gloves for cycling?

Okay, here we’ll consider the idea of wearing gym (weightlifting gloves) instead of regular cycling gloves. Keep in mind that this isn’t a YES or NO kind of thing (although our answer won’t be as ambivalent as you might assume). It’s not that easy to say since it all comes down to personal preference and above all – context. So, shall we begin?

Here’s what experienced cyclists have to say about this subject: you’re able to ride your bicycle wearing just about any type of gloves (except, of course, the aforementioned boxing gloves). However, we didn’t put the whole riding-your-bicycle into context. The thing is that most of these alternatives to regular cycling gloves are good enough to wear on short-distance bicycle rides, but can’t really match gloves designed for the sport once you decide to take on a heavier, longer route.

After some time on the road with gym gloves, you’ll start to feel a bit uncomfy. That’s something that can’t happen with regular cycling gloves. A 200-mile cycling adventure isn’t the type of ordeal you’d want to plan sporting only a pair of gym gloves. Also, you should keep in mind that cycling gloves aren’t so expensive. Therefore, there’s nothing stopping you from obtaining a pair.

All in all: use gym gloves if you’re currently unable to obtain a pair of regular cycling gloves. Still, you should remember that going on longer cycling trips wearing only gym gloves might turn out to be an unpleasant experience. Okay, let’s see if there’s anything else we’d like to mention in this text.

How to care for your cycling gloves?

Once you buy cycling gloves, it’s best you get informed about how to take good care of the new piece of cycling equipment you’ve recently bought. Therefore, we’ve gathered some tips on how to maintain cycling gloves and prolong their lifespan. Just so you don’t have to buy a new pair at the beginning of each season. Now, let’s see those tips!

#1 Clean them as soon as you get home

In other words: don’t let your new gloves “marinate” in sweat, together with other pieces of your gear in the bag. Just like any product that contains lycra, your gloves won’t enjoy “hanging out” for too long at the back of your truck, or alongside your sweaty gear in the back of your truck. Here’s why that’s so: body sweat has plenty of salt inside it, and, as we’re sure some of you know, salt doesn’t do any good to fabrics, it destroys them. So, yeah, as soon as you’re back home, make sure you clean your gloves (and other pieces of your cycling equipment).

Lastly, here’s a weird tip that will work (contrary to what you may think): if you, for this or that reason, don’t have plenty of time to wash your trusty gloves, simply jump in the shower wearing all your gear. Afterward, just rinse the kit and leave it to air dry, and do a proper wash once you find the time.

#2 Hand-wash your cycling gloves

Since washing machines can be a bit rough on your gloves, our suggestion is that you hand-wash them. Use some mild detergent and warm water. How to know the correct warmth? Well, if it’s too hot for your hands, your gloves won’t like that too. Rub the gloves together in a gentle manner to do away with the stains you’ll stumble upon. Once you’re done, you’ll want to rinse your cycling gloves and squeeze out the water (don’t wring them).

When the whole cleaning process is over, leave your cycling gloves to hang dry.

#3 Don’t use dryers

The heat you’ll get with dryers isn’t exactly the best thing for your gloves. Here’s why: the excess heat will dry out the leather. Therefore, it will become stiff and fragile, something you’ll notice once you put them back on. Elastane (in other words: the thing that gives your spandex stretchiness) ain’t a fan of dryers too. It will most probably break after you’ve used a dryer on it.

The bottom line

Alright, folks, that’s about it when it comes to using gym gloves for cycling instead of gloves that were designed for the sport. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading this one as much as any other article you’ve found here. For more cycling tips, we suggest you visit this page.

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