Cyclists like us usually neglect our hands. It’s very easy for us to pedal through hot and even wet conditions. We find time to take care of our precious bikes and make sure that every single part is working as it should. Unfortunately, we rarely take care of our hands the same way. Most of the time, we just realize this when we find our hands numb, and very sore.
Does it have to be that way? Not at all! Here are some tips for that can help keep your hands in the best condition:
You should start by getting yourself a nice pair of gloves. Gloves have padding that can help soften the force of your hands against the handlebars and brake hoods. The padding can help prevent serious injury like pinched nerves that can lead to carpal tunnel. Full fingered gloves are recommended for off-road and mountain biking to prevent scratches and scrapes on the skin. Half-fingered gloves a nice and cool when riding in warm weather. Protective gloves are also useful for when you have to work on your bike. Wearing a pair will keep you from having to scrub your hands’ skin hard whenever you’ve gotten greasy by fixing your chain or dirty changing your tube.
You can also consider bar end extenders or aerobars. When you ride for more than 30 minutes at a time you need to give your hands a rest by changing positions. Drop bars on road bikes give you three positions, but you can attach extra bars to your handlebars to give you even more flexibility. Those are called aerobars. They come in several different styles, and you can even get extra brake levers attached to give yourself quick stopping power when in that alternate hand position. On flat handlebars, you can add bar extenders. They come long or short and fit anywhere along the bar you wish. They also give your hands a much needed break.
Give your hands some extra TLC. Treating your hands to a nice soak is not something you need to do on a daily basis. You can do this once a week or even just twice a month. Prepare a homemade scrub with olive oil, sugar, and lemon juice. Before scrubbing your hands, soak them for ten minutes or so in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of almond oil. Scrub your hands and fingers gently and let it sit for at least five minutes. If callouses are already starting, you can rub the area softly with a pumice stone. Once you’re done, rinse everything with warm water and pat your hands dry. You can also rub almond oil into your cuticles and let it sit overnight!
Make it a habit to clean and moisturize your hands before you go to bed. Incorporating this into your nightly routine won’t eat up five minutes of your time. Simply wash your hands thoroughly and massage your favourite hand cream all over, paying special attention to those parts of your fingers that are prone to growing callouses.
We always pay special attention to our feet and legs when we’re biking, but we sometimes forget that our hands are just as important. Make sure that you take care of your hands so you can avoid scrapes, blisters and pinched nerves that would make biking and other activities uncomfortable if not painful.