Virtual fingers

by Joe Clark

It's an age-old dilemma: Winter gloves give you dexterity at the expense of warmth, while mittens do the converse. The requirements of that echt Canadian, the intrepid wintertime bicyclist who needs to hang onto the handlebars and shift and brake, have led to a solution for this cold war of the hands: Virtual fingers.

Stick your hand in Trek's Scissorhands gloves and you'll find five glove-like inner pockets which in turn form part of three mitten-like virtual fingers-- one for your index and middle fingers, another for the ring and little fingers, and a third to house your thumb. While Scissorhands gloves look plenty good, they fail the basic test of warmth. Pearl Izumi's flashy Lobster Therma-Dore model, on the other hand, is toasty enough but far from waterproof. Therma-Dores don't separate your real fingers inside the virtual fingers, instead providing three simple pockets; they also stretch right over the cuff of your jacket, keeping your wrists from getting drafty. The only mystery is why no one bothered to patent the idea in the first place.

UPDATE: I was rather kind to the Therma-Dores, which are usable only to about the freezing point. And gosh, are they ever not waterproof. However Pearl Izumi learned from its mistakes in the Aqua-Not, about which I, notorious for my complaining, have few complaints. The Aqua-Nots will permit water leakage, but only at the very tips of the fingers; that could easily be remedied by relocating the seam attaching the upper to lower sides of the inner glove. You're better off buying one size too large; using the "correct" size, in my experience, results in unrelenting pain from the unending low-level exertion your hands and wrists must produce to keep your hands around the handlebar grips. Also, the Aqua-Nots cost a small fortune-- C$70 retail. Mountain Equipment Co-op (800 663-2667, fax 800 722-1960, or +1 604 876-6221, fax +1 604 876-6590; 130 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P3) sells them for a reasonable C$54 or so.

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