Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ooh! Is That A Glove?!

[click here to skip to the glove comparison]

One of the many, many endearing qualities of My World of Hert is her ability to shift her attention with mercurial rapidity; keeping up with her is like trying to track minnows in shallow water. Anyway, one of the earliest moments that I knew I had to marry this woman was when we were driving along in a Syracuse winter, past shoulder-high snowbanks, having a conversation about I-don't-know-what, when all of the sudden she yells out, without skipping a beat, "Oooh...Is that a glove?" (The fact that we were already married didn't trouble me, and shouldn't trouble you). I immediately pictured a big, friendly Labrador, attention switching second-to-second, with every new wonderful really really interesting wonderful thing is that glove throw that stick can I have treat?!

Anyway, this sense of wonder and amazement has slowly evolved into dread, with the realization that Carol really likes to take it all in when she's driving: the trees, the birds, the wildlife, the houses, the mountains in the distance, the clouds on the horizon, the way people are dressed, the dogs they walk, the new fashions, nice gardens, and every once in awhile, the road. By now, I know that the only reason Carol has not had an accident driving is the minute changes in momentum I impart to the car as I cringe, twist, grip various things, and stomp imaginary brake pedals while riding in the passenger seat. (Carol reminds me that she's not watching all these things, she's delegating; she's telling me what I should be watching. Oh, man, a whole different can of worms, there!)

The Great Glove Throwdown

Anyway, at the end to this long preamble is: gloves. Specifically, reflective gloves for use by cyclists. Awhile ago, Bike Hugger posted this item about GloGloves reflective gloves. In trying to find out about them, I ran into another kind of reflective gloves: Bright Hands Glow Gloves Well, being the demanding consumer that I am, I had to know, which of these gloves is better for cyclists? And so, I staged ... The Great Glove Throwdown.

Aw, no I didn't. I just went to a parking lot with a photographer (the intrepid Oliver Mak: take a bow Oliver, the Oscar's for you, baby!), with these two pairs of gloves, a bike, a stationary trainer, and a whole lotta dark, to try to get an idea of what a driver actually sees with these two gloves.

Well, as we were setting up, it became clear that the Bright Hands Glow Gloves (the ones I stumbled upon) have no value as a cyclist's reflective glove. I'm not sure under what circumstances they actually glow, but they were pretty much not visible under our circumstances: bike about 35 feet ahead of the driver, offset about 8 feet laterally, illuminated by a Subaru Impreza's headlights. In fact, at one point I got lazy about taking gloves off, and put the Bright Hands over the Glo Gloves. Oliver could see the Glo Gloves through the Bright Hands.

So, cherry-picking opportunist that I am, I decided to change the purpose of the inquiry from "Which Glove Is Better" to "What Does a Motorist See When You're Wearing GloGloves?" (Those of you who make a living doing academic research, and have learned the lesson that, noble rhetoric about scientific inquiry notwithstanding, negative results get you nowhere, will recognize this nifty little move).

And so, this is what the camera saw. (Although I had originally envisioned still shots, with appropriate camera settings found by trial and error, Oliver convinced me a much easier way to do this is by digital video camera, since DVR's are specifically designed to reproduce what the user sees).

The first part of the clip, I am wearing the Bright hand is not visible. Then I take off the Bright Hands, exposing the GloGlove. I see a big difference.

Anyway, I'm buying a bunch of GloGloves for myself, Carol, my cat, my fish, ...

But I do have one complaint. I have gotten into the habit of wiping my nose on the my glove (gross, I know, but cycling gloves are specifically designed to accommodate such disgusting behavior). The reflective material on Glo Gloves is quite stiff, with a sharp edge, and is sewn onto the glove with the stitching about 3/16" from the edge of the material. The net result is that when I draw the glove across my nose, I get a faceful of hurt. Now I understand why all those traffic cops are grumpy and have band-aids on their noses.

1 comment:

Lyn Gray said...

Hi guys, just found this on the net. Thank you for your short but effective video. If you wouldn't mind letting us use it for marketing purposes, that would be awesome. Thanks so much and be safe out there,

The Glolady