Friday, February 18, 2011

Wear Kevlar Gloves!

Yeah, this blog is a shot in the dark, but it seems like the best way to record some random thoughts about bicycling, and commuting, and maybe its something actually worth reading. So here goes.

Three weeks ago, I was riding home not exactly going easy, but then there was this guy behind me, and well being a competitive sort of person and bored with my regular routine/ride, I picked up the pace. So naturally when I rounded the corner out of his sight, not that he had any idea I was working hard to keep ahead of him, I put the foot to the pedal and started to mash up this little rise. (maybe 50 ft.) That's when I had one of those moments that lasts a second but goes on in your mind for hours.

My chain broke. Now normally this is no big deal, chains break occasionally that's why I bought a Park C2 chain checker, so that I could replace them before it happens. And this was a nearly new wipperman Conex 10sp chain, the basic sort for commuting because why pay top dollar  for plating when all of them seem to wear out every 1,500 miles or so? So I as I was saying, normally the broken chain just keeps spinning around, and drops onto the road. You notice it because the pedals get very free and you start slowing down. I have spd's and I would just un-clip and walk back and get it, and using a spare pin or master link put it back on and ride home, replacing it the next day. (I carry parts & tools for just this sort of emergency. Commuting year round does that to normally sane people.)

This time the demon chain wrapped itself around the sprockets in back, and up into the spokes, that caused my rear wheel to lock up, throwing the bike into a skid. I hung on trying to control it which was a mistake as I fell to the side sliding sideways with my left hand pinned to the road by my handlebars. It was about a 5ft slide which was plenty before I got my hand free. That shredded my glove and some of the skin on my knuckles and put two gaping holes in two fingers. My knee also scraped and my wool tights tore but are repairable. Bike is ok, except for the handlebar tape. Probably need to re-tune the front wheel as the brakes are rubbing.

Having a cell phone, I called my wife to come get me and she did. Then off to the ER for a through scrubbing and stitches. And three weeks later I'm still off the bike as it hurts in the cold and I can't fully bend my index finger which is required for braking.

My next pair of gloves is a kevlar lined glove with crush protection.
 Youngstown Reflective Gloves with Kevlar I hope to never find out if they are indeed better but I figure the extra $20 is worth it as the ER trip is over $1,200. And as I've always said, if you were in the ER what would you pay to not be there?

So this is my plug that you pick your gloves as carefully as you pick a helmet. Reflectivity is good, Visibility is good, padding is good, but cut resistance is key.

I'm still looking for what to wear during the summer but at least for 3/4th of the year here in Seattle, I'm going with something that does more than look good. I'll report back with how well they last. I will say this for those Ironclad gloves, they did wash well, they are very reflective and visible and they have enough padding for my commute which is only an hour on decent roads. And they did try to save me, it's just that the back is probably some polyester lycra mix and it wasn't up to the task.

As for wipperman chains, I no longer have one on my bike and it will be a long time before I ever buy one again.

1 comment:

  1. These look really good too! I agree with your recommendation. I ride motorcycles and I always wear gloves for the same reasons. I will be switching my leather gloves for a pair of these that I will be using quite a bit between both vehicles. Thanks for the excellent advice!