CycleDog wrote about cycling clothes yesterday. If you don't know why we wear funny shoes, padded shorts and plastic shirts, the Dog gives a good explanation.
He explains that bicycle gloves "absorb vibration, let you brush debris from moving tires, protect the hands in a fall, and sometimes give you a place to wipe your nose."
About brushing trash from the tires, I've been tire wiping for at least 20 years and I continue to do it in spite of Jobst's claim that tire wiping "never had any validity in the first place." In spite of Jobst's thought experiment on the subject, I remain firmly in the camp of a True Vacillator on the effectiveness of tire wiping. A flaw in Jobst's opinion is that it can take several rotations for a thorn or piece of glass to work itself through the tire to the tube -- I've seen it happen.
What about you? Do you wipe the tire or not?
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Not a wiper. I watched a guy get his hand caught between the wheel and chainstay, didn't look fun.
On occasion, I've noticed that, at least on my mountain bike, brushing bullthorns from my tires actually allows air to escape faster than with them in, so even if I do see a thorn in my tire, I seldom will brush it off or take it out until I get home. Definitely saves on the trailside flat fixes.
And besides that, I just use my feet to get stuff off my road tires.
Wiping a tire can be hazardous, as fixedgear pointed out. There's also a possibility of removing an large piece of glass from the rotating tire, only to have it firmly implanted into your hand. Guess how I know that!
I wipe. With gloves on, I don't get cuts. I hook my thumb around my frame/ seat stay, before wiping the rear tire, so I've never had my hand sucked in between the tire and frame. I even wipe my tires when racing at the velodrome. Stray debris can ruin tire adhesion in the banking... and I don't wanna lose grip.
I've never been a tire wiper. Seems too dangerous to do with my hands. If I see something on my front tire, I knock it off with a toe. Besides, if I don't know what it is, I don't want to risk jamming a chuck of metal through my glove into the palm of my hand.
I'm a big believer in frequent visual inspections. That way, I can use a sharp knife tip to pry nasties out of the tire before they work in deep.