Plenty of cyclists ride without gloves. We like to call these kind and well-meaning people “risk-takers”.
Along with a helmet, a good pair of riding gloves can save you from an E.R. visit and worse. Gloves protect against road-rash on the hands, sunburn, and of course, cuts. Wearing gloves certainly is preferable to picking glass or debris from your palms!
So how does one choose the right pair of gloves?
Most riders want gloves that offer maximum protection while permitting the greatest amount of flexibility without introducing too much perspiration. For road-riders, this means fingerless cycling gloves, particularly in warm weather. Bare fingers can still be used to operate gears, modulate the brakes, and feel the road vibrations–without excess sweat.
For BMX and mountain bike riders, the choice of gloves is a bit more complicated. Fingerless gloves may not be enough protection, particularly in BMX racing. In fact, most team events require full-finger gloves. The same level of finger and knuckle protection is a great idea for trail riders and mountain bikers too.
Some gloves offer features such as palm padding or suede palm, for riders with hands that are sensitive to the regular pressure of resting on the handlebars. The Aramus GC gloves from Lizard Skins, for instance, offer a suede palm and built-in gel pads to improve rider comfort.