Re: [CR] Gloves and finger numbness

(Example: Framebuilding)

Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2009 22:04:07 -0700
From: "verktyg" <>
To: Anthony Taylor <>, <>
References: <> <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Gloves and finger numbness

Back in the day, I frequently suffered from numbness in my ring and pinky fingers. It was diagnosed as compression of the ulnar nerves in my hands. That's the nerves that run from the elbows down to the small fingers. Compression of that nerve can happen in the elbow and wrist too.

I experienced numbness in my other fingers on long rides but it wasn't as bad.

I did two things to help the problem back then (mid 70s). Fancy padded bar tape was unknown then; I taped some dense foam padding on the top surfaces of the bars and also the drops. Then I covered it with two layers of cloth tape.

I also stuffed a less dense foam material into the palm areas of my mesh backed riding gloves. They may have looked funny with the big bulges in the palm areas but in combination with the bar padding, it worked to relieve most of my hand numbness problems.

Back then I rode 54cm road bikes with the seat up high and all the way back. I was also using medium toe clips. I rode on the tops or drops most of the time, rarely on the hoods.

The last few years since I've been back riding again, I noticed that I haven't had much numbness problems in my hands even though most of my bikes have unpadded cloth tape and I use old fashioned mesh backed gloves without any additional padding.

I think that most of the reduction has to do with changes in my riding position and how I have my bikes set up. For starters I'm riding larger frames, 55cm, 56cm or 57cm frames so the bars are a little higher plus I have the seats lower and moved all the way forward. I'm also using long or extra long toeclips. Most of the time I ride on the hoods instead of the tops or drops. That plus the more upright position are probably the biggest reasons for the reduced numbness.

One other thing I found was when I switched to wider bars, 42, 43 or 44cm wide, I felt much more comfortable. I found that riding several older all original bikes with 38cm wide bars caused numbness in my hands again, even on the hoods.

Chas. Colerich Oakland, CA USA

Anthony Taylor wrote:
> One technique we used to use "back in the day" was to cut an inner tube into a long tube, then slice it lengthways. Wrap the 'bars with this, then cover with cloth tape. Voila, vintage look, but with cushioning. No more numb hands.
> Failing this, I bought gell padded gloves from Nashbar.
> Tony Taylor
> Manchester, NH
> ________________________________
> From: Jack Gabus
> Gang:
> Ok since most of us "goof balls" out there ride either on benotto,
> leather or cloth tape, what company exists that makes PADDED gloves that are
> worth a (bleep). My hands are numb and yeah I know I can hear it
> already....get tougher hands.
> Inquiring minds really want to know!


> Regards,


> Jack