Padded gloves are essential for any bicycle tour. On my first tour, my riding partner Sam Ryan did not bring gloves. After three or four days of 60-70 mile rides his hands became numb. We later learned that pressure on your hands while riding affects a nerve that creates problems similar to carpel tunnel. It took Sam about a week to get feeling back in his hands.

How are gloves different and which should you use?

1. Size/Fit: You should try on gloves before you buy, to make sure they fit your hand comfortably. Don't use gloves that are too big or too small.

2. Full finger vs short finger gloves: Full finger gloves are normally used for mountain biking. Short finger gloves are best for touring in warm weather, to make sure your hands don't overheat.

3. Padding: I love lots of gel padding, but everyone is different. You should buy, whatever you prefer.

4. Backside Material: It is nice to have cloth on the back of gloves to wipe sweat off your face.

5. Color: I prefer light colors that will not absorb heat during the day, and are more visible at night. reflective material is a plus.