ANYBODY SEEN MY MATE? Never ride your motorcycle without putting on your gloves – if you can remember where you left them! Image: Dave Fall
You’d have thought I’d lost something important such as my wallet, along with every credit card and my last bit of cash. Yes, I was miserable. (All that'd really happened was I’d lost one of my motorcycle gloves – and any biker will tell you that’s really bad news.)
I was gutted. I’m normally quite careful with my bike gear but to this day I still haven’t a clue where the errant glove made its dash for freedom.
Bought about 10 years ago on the Isle of Man during TT week where bikers can find the very best motorcycling merchandise and having paying paid an awful lot of pounds (think holiday spending money in rands); I’d bought the very best waterproof gloves I could afford, thinking they would last a lifetime.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE GLOVES?
Gloves are a really important bit of bike kit; you might be amazed to learn that in each hand you have 27 bones, 40 muscles and a bunch of tendons, along with dozens of nerves and blood vessels. Feeding each hand with vital amounts of blood are two arteries. So it follows that one’s hands and wrists needmaximum protection should one be unlucky enough to take a spill down the road.
A recent survey about motorcycle crashes in the UK (and this shouldn’t really come as a surprise to South African motorcyclists) revealed that 98% of bikers sustain arm injuries because it's usually your hands that reach out to protect your body.
In other words they (your hands) are the most vulnerable part of you. You wouldn’t forget to venture out on our roads without a crash helmet, would you?
Hands and arms act like springs, attempting to save the rest of the body from impact. For leather to be effective it must be at least 1.2mm thick. Mine certainly were but most of the lightweight variety of gloves are most certainly not and, in truth, offer very little protection.
While we're on the subject gloves must also be well secured, preferably with a wide Velcro strap that wraps around the underside of the wrist to offer maximum protection from impact, abrasion and, of course, cold and rain.
That above-mentioned survey also deduced there was far too much stitching in most gloves, meaning they can rip open all too easily. Stitching should be buried so it does not come apart on impact; ideally, a second layer of leather should be sewn inside the palm.
So this week I’ll be trawling around the aftermarket motorcycle supply stores for a new pair of gloves.
To sum up: They must be waterproof, well-stitched, have a strong retaining strap; this time around I’ll look for gloves that offer stylish and practical Kevlar-reinforced knuckle guards… just in case.
• We’re nearing summer and, as the glorious weather proved down here in the Cape at the weekend, there’s still a fair percentage of bikers out there who persist in riding in shorts* and flip-flops. If they were to come off, even at a low speed… it doesn’t really bear thinking about, does it?
*These riders need to remember that simple but succinct acronym ATGATT: All The Gear All The Time. Most of my generation do!