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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Why Motorcycle Gloves Are So Misunderstood

We hear from an expert

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
5/8/2015

May 8th is World Ovarian Cancer Day. We are running this story because the wife of Lee Block, owner of Racer Gloves USA, and subject of this story, has Ovarian cancer. Lee is using his position in the motorcycle industry to raise awareness of this disease. It has the lowest survival rate of all gynecologic cancers so early detection is extremely important.

From today until May 31, 2015, Lee will donate 5 percent of sales of his gloves to the Ovarian National Cancer Alliance. Please read the story on why gloves are so important yet so often misunderstood and then buy a pair of gloves from Racer Gloves USA so Lee can make a donation. Thank you. 

In all my years of riding, two pieces of riding gear garner the most opinions from riders: helmets and gloves. Helmets for the obvious reasons. With the laws governing the wearing of one, helmets are the most contentious piece of riding gear and for many riders, not being forced by law to wear one represents the ultimate freedom. 

Second behind a helmet are motorcycle riding gloves. I either see a rider not wearing any protective gear including no gloves, or a rider wearing every piece of protective gear, but still no gloves. Why is this?

I decided to ask the one guy I know who eats, breathes and sleeps gloves—and motorcycling with his nine bikes and lifelong passion for two wheels—Lee Block. Lee owns Racer Gloves USA, which is the US importer of this leading Austrian glove brand. 

why gloves are so misunderstood racer gloves
Four of the women's motorcycle glove styles offered by Racer Gloves USA.

Racer has been a supporter of Women Riders Now for the last few years. The company has a wide ranging selection of both women’s and men’s gloves from summer to winter riding. But don't let the “Racer” name fool you. This company makes gloves for all riders, from cruiser, to sportbike, to adventure touring. 

why gloves are so misunderstood lee block
Lee Block has been riding motorcycles since he was
8 years old, both on road and off road.

GS: Lee, why are riding gloves always an afterthought for a lot of riders? Why don’t more riders wear gloves?

LB: Without stereotyping riders, my experience has been it depends on the genre. Go to a v-twin rally like Laughlin, Sturgis, or Daytona and you will probably see most riders not wearing gloves. Go to a BMW rally or a motorcycle race and you most likely see full gear on the majority of riders.  

Some like the feel of the grips in their hand, and as you mentioned about helmets, like the freedom of not wearing them. Others have only worn work gloves or other gloves that are not a good fit and therefore have not had good experience wearing gloves. But if you’ve ridden motorcycles for any length of time and have hit the pavement, I’m sure you wear some type of glove.

GS: What do you think is the biggest misconception with riding gloves?

LB: I’m not sure if it’s a misconception but rather a person’s experience with buying/wearing gloves. We’re all different and finding a proper fitting pair of gloves takes time. Just like helmets and boots, you need to find one that fits you the best.  

I sometimes get asked, “Do I need all that protection in a glove?” My answer is, the pavement is not prejudiced. It doesn’t care if you’re riding a scooter at 30mph or a Road Glide at 70mph—the pavement will hurt and cause damage to your hands.

GS: One of the most common complaints I hear from riders when I promote good quality gloves like yours is that they’re too expensive. What is your response to that?

LB: There was a helmet ad back in the 1980s that said, “If you have a $10 head, wear a $10 helmet.” Most of us have expensive motorcycles, wear $400-plus leather jackets, $200 boots and $150 sunglasses. Don’t skimp on gloves.

Gloves should be considered the same way as your other protective gear. A rider really needs to compare gloves and decide what features are important to her or him and at what cost. There is a wide difference between a glove that costs $30 and one that costs $130. As in other apparel, there is more technology going into gloves these days by means of fabrics, molded protection and construction. 

In gloves it’s about fit, protection, and overall construction of the product.  

why gloves are so misunderstood queen gloves
These are the gloves I, Genevieve Schmitt, wear in cool weather when riding my Harley-Davidson Street Glide. They're leather and waterproof so I don't have to worry about changing to waterproof specific gloves. These do it all. I reviewed these Queen gloves here on WRN.

GS: If you could say one thing to convince a rider to wear gloves every time she or he gets on the motorcycle, what would it be?  

LB: What are your hands worth to you? When you ask yourself that question, I think the answer is apparent. Our hands are amazing instruments and we don’t realize that until we damage them. Most of us know what happens to your hands when you trip and fall on the sidewalk. Now add traffic, speed and a 500-pound-plus motorcycle to that equation and think what would happen to your hands. Not wearing gloves is like riding naked. 

Even if you drop your motorcycle while standing still, what's the first thing you put out to break your fall. Your hands. Gloves will protect you there too!

GS: Lastly, you and your family are challenged with a health issue that has you using your position in the motorcycle industry to promote awareness. Your wife, Michelle, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. You and she have two grown daughters. May 8th is World Ovarian Cancer Day. What message would you like to get out about this deadly disease?

LB: Oh boy, where do I start? Ovarian cancer (I never capitalize the word cancer as I don’t want to show it any respect) has been known as a “silent killer” since there is no screening test and the symptoms are vague. Many times, by the time a woman detects symptoms and sees a doctor, the disease is usually in the later stages. Currently there is no cure for Ovarian cancer past stages II-IV and is a recurrent terminal disease. 

With monthly periods, menopause, and other “women-specific" conditions, many women mistake subtle signs as usual occurrences. Many doctors are also not trained to understand the subtle symptoms of Ovarian cancer and often pass these off as related to something else. In my wife’s situation her doctor felt her symptoms were related to menopause. Unfortunately this was incorrect and it was too late to prevent it from progressing to Stage III.

I urge every person (men included) reading this article to click on this link to learn more. The life you save could be yours or your wife’s!

why gloves are so misunderstood lee block family
Lee Block, owner of Racer Gloves USA, his wife Michelle, and their daughters, Sarah and Lauren. They live in Gilroy, Calif.

GS: Thanks Lee for donating 5 percent of your sales during the month of May 2015 to Ovarian National Cancer Alliance. Visit RacerGlovesUSA.com to buy online. There's free shipping both ways; Lee will exchange the gloves for the right fit. 


Related Articles
Review: Cool Weather Riding Gloves
Review: Waterproof Cool Weather Riding Gloves

Now tell us what your opinion of gloves is and/or share what you know about Ovarian cancer in the comments below.


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