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Do Triathletes Wear Cycling Gloves?

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Swimming, cycling, and running – it sounds simple, but there are lots of things one needs to pay attention to when preparing for a triathlon. There’s a lot of equipment available, but not all you find on the market is necessary to have when competing.

That’s why today we’ll specifically focus on the cycling part and answer an interesting question – do triathletes (need to) wear cycling gloves?

What Is The Purpose of Cycling Gloves?

While cycling, your hands may become sweaty – especially if you’re on the bike during a warmer day. If you have grippy bar tape, you’re good because your hands probably won’t slide around the handlebars that easily.

However, if that’s not the case, gloves can certainly be helpful. They will soak up the sweat and keep your hands dry. That will allow you to keep a firm and safe grip as well as maintain better control.

Another reason for wearing gloves is to protect your hands. No one goes for a ride planning to fall down and crash, but accidents happen. Even if you’re extra careful, there are plenty of things that you simply can’t predict.

cyclist wearing cycling gloves

With that in mind, gloves are the first layer of defense. If you fall down, they’re likely to prevent painful grazes and cuts. That’s why high-quality gloves have padded parts on the palm areas.

Palm padding gives your hands some extra comfort you’ll certainly be grateful for when riding over rougher areas. Rough roads produce vibrations that pass through the bike and handlebars.

The amount and type of padding will vary among different brands. For instance, gel padding has been rather popular lately. Some people, on the other hand, don’t quite like padding, so they usually go for a simple, unpadded pair.

Also, when the temperature goes down or it starts raining during the race, you’ll want to wear gloves because of the insulation and protection they provide to your hands.

This next thing may not be the primary reason to wear gloves, but it’s worth mentioning – with the right pair, you can easily wipe your nose or sweat.

Many gloves have a soft towel section across the thumb. That section can certainly be useful when you don’t have enough time to stop but feel the urge to deal with your nose or sweaty face.

female cyclist wearing cycling gloves

Do Triathletes Wear Cycling Gloves?

The answer here is pretty simple – some do, and some don’t.

A triathlon is not actually a race that consists of three disciplines. There’s a fourth part that is just as important as the rest – the transitions. Fast, smooth transitions make the difference and boost your performance.

Professional athletes are well-prepared for this part and they measure it in seconds. Taking gloves out and putting them on your hands will certainly take some time, which is why plenty of competitors don’t wear them.

Also, you want to optimize your equipment and be as light as possible in order to get better results.

That’s exactly why most athletes remove most of the additions and take essentials only. Leaving the gloves out may not seem like it makes a big difference, but removing a couple of such things with similar weight certainly might.

Some triathletes do have gloves while training, though. You will spend most of your triathlon cycling time while training for the race, which is why it’s important to keep your hands safe and unharmed before the big day comes.

If you’re experienced in preparations for triathlon, you already know many unpredictable things can happen while training – which is why you may want to protect your hands to stay unharmed for the race.

Meanwhile, others don’t use them in the training stage and end up ditching them later in the race itself. Why’s that? They don’t want to get used to it and then ride under slightly different circumstances when the big day arrives.

Some athletes, on the other hand, prefer it the opposite way—they don’t have gloves while training, but put them on later when the competition comes.

Likewise, some find gloves to be one of the essentials they’re taking on the race. They especially find them useful during colder days, rain, or other harsh conditions they may experience during a triathlon.


Some Final Words

So, should you wear cycling gloves for a triathlon? Well, they’re not an essential part of the equipment so it’s totally up to you.

If you want your hands to be protected during the race, you should definitely dig through various brands to find the ones that suit you best.

Having gloves won’t really hurt your transition time that much, since it will take you approximately 10 seconds to put them on. However, sometimes even that amount of time is crucial for you to get to the podium.

Gloves are both a matter of personal preference and your body’s needs. For instance, some people sweat more than others, which is why they might end up struggling with hands slipping on the handlebars.

How do you feel about wearing gloves? Do you find them unnecessary or prefer to keep your hands safer?