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the story of an invisible girl
Friends and Biking
Last night I got a handful of local friends together for dinner at Mongolian BBQ. It was such fun! I've been traveling so much recently, and hibernating when not traveling, I really haven't seen many of my buddies. I've missed that.

So now it's a bit better! I had a total of twelve people show up, plus me. We chatted and laughed and ate; I caught up with everyone at least to some degree. Then when there were only two of us left, we went to Astoria for baklava and key lime pie. Altogether a delightful evening.

The night before last, I did my usual bicycle club ride. Twenty-seven miles this time. Unlike the last time I rode with them, when for whatever reason it seemed really difficult, this was a great ride. It was challenging but not overly so. I felt like I was just working, not fighting. The company was good, and weather was perfect also, which helps. It was a good ride!

The only challenge was my cycling gloves. I bought gloves around three or four years ago, which honestly I have never liked. They didn't fit right around the thumb, for one thing -- they'd cut off circulation or press oddly. It seemed a little tight, so I took scissors and cut slits at the side of the thumbs. Still they weren't entirely comfortable. My thumbs always hurt after wearing them for a long time. Also they made my hands hot when I was already warm.

The did have the advantage of easing pressure on the palms of my hands though, and they had a nice strip of terry cloth on the back of the thumb area -- perfect for wiping my face when I get sweaty. Furthermore when I ride without gloves, my thumbs often hurt anyway -- so that might not be the fault of the gloves.

Anyway I've never been altogether convinced I needed or wanted gloves. I ride with them probably only 50% of the time, and on long rides I frequently take them on and off many times. The advantages and disadvantages seem about equal, which is why I keep changing my mind. On wednesday, I decided to just leave them at home.

Okay, I have learned my lesson. On a long ride, especially one with a group where there is frequent gear shifting and braking, I definitely need gloves. Last week I noticed a mysterious blister on my hand, and last night I learned where it came from. By about three quarters through the ride, the palms of my hands hurt! It's mostly the webbing between my thumb and hand, which was getting rubbed every time I braked. Owie.

By the end of the ride, I'd decided that not only do I need to wear gloves for long rides, I should buy new ones. Part of the problem prior to this was that: (1) I wasn't sure I really needed gloves, since half the time I wasn't wearing them anyway, and (2) I already had gloves so why buy new ones?

I tend to be frugal, so although I'd looked at new gloves many times, each time I talked myself out of it. Why pay money for something I already own, and don't especially like? But wednesday night proved to me that gloves do add value to my riding. A new pair of gloves, ones that are more comfortable, might add even more value! So I made a little vow. I promised myself that I would go to the store, look at gloves, and pick out the ones that seemed like they'd be the most useful for me, without looking at the price.

Today I went for a little bike ride during my lunch break, up to the local bike store. It more-or-less worked. I looked at price tags, but I didn't let them influnce me. I picked out the nicest-seeming gloves, and some new blinkie lights to make me more visible at nighttime (my old taillight got waterlogged on my Really Wet Ride, and no longer lights up). I haven't tried riding with the new gloves, which will be the real test. The selection wasn't as wide as I'd hoped (probably because it's the end of the season), but hopefully these will work! If not, I'll browse around some more. Biking will be more fun if I can find a way to take better care of my hands.

[Editor's note: this post was written from the perspective of friday night. I started it because I woke up at 4am and couldn't fall back asleep. 4am is nighttime, especially since I still plan on going back to sleep. I have strict rules as to when the new day starts: either when I get up, or the sun comes up, whichever happens first. However given that it is now 6:37am and the sky is lighting up, I fear that makes it saturday morning. All that said, I'm not going back and switching the perspective to saturday. Too confusing. I still feel fridayish.]

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encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: August 23rd, 2008 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Hope your new gloves work out. I lost my favorite pair, I was using them as my workout gloves at the gym and I left them on the treadmill one day and they disappeared (they had my name in them written in them). I am using another pair of riding gloves at the gym, now I put my locker key on them when I take them off so I won't forget them. I've found biking gloves work best for me because of the mesh top of the glove, so my hands do not get hot during the workout. They may be the "old" style or "retro" style, but they work for me.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: August 23rd, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd ALMOST sooner ride without a helmet than without gloves. I've fallen 2 times in my life without gloves, and in each case I wound up having to pick gravel out of my hands and having to keep one hand dressed with some kind of gel for a month while the skin grew back.
I use cheap Nashbar half finger gloves with crocheted backs:

But I think next time I may try the "Nashbar Essential" glove. They make a specific women's version. I think gloves may be very individual; a make that works for some people will have a seam that bothers others.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: August 23rd, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
These are the approximate ones I came home with.

They're the ones which had the most padding in the webbing part of my hand, which is where I spend most of my time on this new bike. And they're gel, so that should prevent rubbing. We'll find out....

If not I'll search farther. At least Nashbar has a lot of choices - but I like being able to put on a pair and feel how it's going to work.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: August 23rd, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I'm really not too picky about my clothing or gear, so shopping online is OK by me. If I get something I don't like, I still use it for 3 years until it's worn out, I just don't buy another one then.

I tend to shop the clearance section of Nashbar. I got a set of tires for $4.99 each last year. It makes up for the $65 each I pay for the studded winter tires.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: August 23rd, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll have to find those, mine only have a little webbing.
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