Friday, August 03, 2007

Gloves - the good, the bad & the smelly

I've owned a pair of Cannondale full fingered gloves for as long as I can remember - more than 6 years. I use them for all my riding including the heat of summer. I get strange looks from folks who obviously think they are overkill for road biking and my strange hand tan is always good for a laugh. However, the odd time I've gone down or the weather has turned to shit my digits were glad for the extra protection. One downside though is they have become quite smelly. I have thought about washing them, but I'm afraid it will ruin the leather. So far these gloves have held up really well. They look a bit worn, but in an even sort of way and they give the impression they'll be with me for many more years - I hope so!

My vanity got the best of me a year or so ago and I purchased a pair of Descente full fingered bike gloves. I figured it would give me a nicer pair to wear for those more formal biking I could leave a helmet and set of gloves at work to ride with when I felt like it. I have to admit these gloves fit great and looked like they belonged to someone who bathed regularly - both pluses in my book. However, I still used my Cannondale gloves most of the time - old habits... In the last year or so I only used the Descente gloves 10 times. Sadly they wore through in the thumb in those few uses....=-( The rest of the gloves looked mint, but the thumbs had gaping holes in them - I'm guessing from grip shifting on my bents.

I felt a bit ripped off as I paid $50 for them and hardly had them broken in. Luckily I bought them at MEC. I took them back and explained my situation. They didn't care that the warranty had expired and that I didn't have my receipt. They were bummed the Descente gloves failed so early and sent me home with a new pair of Pearl Izumi full fingered gloves.

Thanks for the awesome service MEC. It is comforting to know you've got my back when it comes to gear...=-) Cannondale - thanks for making sweet bikes and gear - everything I have bought from you has withstood the test of time.

Hopefully the Pearl Izumi gloves can match up a bit better and give the Cannondale gloves a run for their money.


runawayscreaming said...

Hi Vik,

I share your Descente glove pain. I have to wonder about the buyers at MEC. I bought a pair of Chinese-made full-finger Descente gloves at MEC last winter and the black dye ran out of them the first time it rained. The worst part was that the dye ran into my good flourescent Pearl Izumi cycling jacket and made the arms black!

I think those crappy Descente gloves were intentionally designed to attack good Pearl Izumi products!

You will like your Pearl Izumi gloves. I have tons of Pearl Izumi stuff and it all works fine.

David Cambon

Vik said...

Hey David,

I read about your gloves problems - crazy so many bad experiences with MEC gear. I have to say that although I still get exemplary service at MEC the quality of teh stuff the stock has deteriorated in the last 20 years. It used to be that if MEC sold it you could trust it to be a great product....these days you really have to do your research before you buy at MEC.

The good news is MEC will take the crap stuff back and apologize sheepishly.

Hey good luck on PBP. I'll be thinking about you come the end of August...=-)

runawayscreaming said...

I think one of the problems at MEC is that there is very little input into buying decisions from expert floor staff who already work at MEC. Some MEC buyers are apparently making decisions on their own, with very little product knowledge. It also appears that some MEC buyers may be unfamiliar with Chinese suppliers and subcontracting practices in China. Pearl Izumi, for instance, seems to have much greater control over its Chinese suppliers.

I recently wrote a bad review of a new MEC cycling jacket and submitted it to MEC. I had problems with the material the jacket was made of. I even took the jacket to a Chinese garment manufacturer for examination. The fabric expert confirmed the permeability of the fabric was not up to spec. MEC refused to publish the review on their website (the product reviews are screened). I have a low membership number and there will be some noise made by me about a few products that are causing a lot of returns at MEC.

Anyway, I live 4 blocks from an MEC and I buy 95% of my bike stuff from my friendly local bike shops (and Peter White Cycles and The Hostel Shoppe, etc). I was never in favour of MEC carrying bike stuff in the first place (and I said so at the time).

Thanks for wishing me good luck at PBP but Dierdre Arscott will be riding vicariously on my behalf since I got disqualified. I did not make it to the Kamloops 600 (although I did ride more than 600k trying to get there on time for the start).

Dierdre is on her 6th PBP and she is guaranteed to finish well so I should be quite vicariously proud of myself when she rolls into Paris. The actual me has a bag over my head which I will be wearing for the next four years.

In lieu of going to Paris I will be doing something else insane this year. I have ridden across Canada and I found northern Ontario highways to be simply awful, so I will not be doing that again. I am presently reading crazyguyonabike for reports on the ACA Northern Tier TransAmerica route that I might take from Vancouver to Halifax via Minneapolis and Bar Harbor Maine.

I would be leaving to fulfill that American Dream in late October so I would have to ride fast to avoid advancing winter storms. That might help get me in shape for the Van Isle Hell Week in the spring.

Anonymous said...

So Vik are you telling us that you are putting your feet down on the Challenge bent? And not doing the low racer thing and using your fingers splayed out at stops. Our buddy Wingbatwu at dinner last week put out his hands on his X-low and was able to be supported. Do you think he would wear out more than just the thumbs, ;-). Any ways I have been thinking that MEC stuff is sliding lately too! And I do not like that they are changing outdoor clothes as if we are fashionistas. A good cargo short will never go out of style for trekkers or trekkies. Keep us posted on the Pearl Izumi stuff then.

PS have you caught up to the new milage on the Volae yet. Ha Ha

Vik said...

I can put my hands down on the Taifun and Fujin, but generally unclip one foot instead. If those bents were 5" lower the hand stop would be easier - I think the X-Low Baron is lower than my bikes. I'm sure hands down stops would wear out my gloves faster than normal, but I'm also sure I wouldn't care too much!

I'm pretty sure Jerome has me beat for mileage lately. Unfortunately work has been a shit show and I've working lots and riding little. For example it's the long weekend and where am I? At work..=-( How did I get here? I drove...=-(

I agree with the MEC fashion blitz of late, but I can live with that...what I think is a laugh is their mission statement [...self propelled wilderness travel...] and then the amount of school day packs, car camping gear and casual/fashion clothes they sell. I went on a four month kayak trip in Baja a few winters ago and I couldn't get all the stuff I needed from MEC - they just didn't have enough selection in the paddling section, but if I wanted an insulated coffee mug or an espresso maker they had lots. Oh well they are still the best option for outdoors gear in Calgary - even if they could be a lot better.

Vik said...

Hey David,

Sorry to hear you won't be at PBP - based on your dedication to riding your bike 600Ks to ride a 600K I'd say you certainly deserve to be there.

If it matters you should know that you have impressed the hell out of me.

Another option for your tour is running down the West Coast all the way to the tip of Baja. I spent 3 weeks touring in Baja on my DF bike last Dec and it was fantastic. I'm a Baja nut and I love the desert. You definitely wouldn't have to worry about snow in Oct/Nov!

Whatever you do setup a trip journal - it will be fun to keep up to date on your exploits...=-)