I just wrote an article for a friends bike site in the USA about gloves. I thought it was worth re-printing here as I see quite a few riders in the summer who don't wear any kind of gloves at all. I will wear t-shirts and shorts in the summer around my local area, but never no gloves. Your body almost always manages to get a hand on the ground in a low speed fall...read on. XXXXX I am ahgast at the line you wrote to the college girl inquiring about cheaper alternatives to high priced bike gear. You wrote... "and you'll also see links to motorcycle aftermarket companies (like JP Cycles) for gloves, which are optional, but cheap enough..." My dear XXXXX gloves are NEVER optional, like over the ankle boots they are of vital importance. (We won't get into a helmet debate). Why are gloves so important?..If you drop or fall off a slow moving bike your body will instinctivly put out a hand or hands to protect the head and vital body parts. Always, without question. It's a completly reflex action. If you come off a bike at high speed the body will attempt to put a hand down, but because of the speed it may or may not be successful. If you are not wearing even short, rodeo style gloves, in a slow speed accident, chances are your palms will be lacerated, as will your fingertips and fingers. The fingers are very delicate, not being able to use your hand(s) for weeks because you were not wearing a pair of gloves seems completely pointless to me. You know I trail bike a lot, have you noticed every trail biker wears gloves? That's because we expect to fall, and we realise the palm and fingers are likely, 9 times out of 10, to make contact with the earth. If you had ever seen the palm and hand of a rider who has come off without gloves on...trust me you would be saying gloves are VITAL not optional mate. In a high speed accident the hands are often being thrown about like weights on the end of a rope. They slam into the ground, they drag, they get stuck under a sliding body. But a pair of gloves will lessen the damage by quite a degree. Armoured sports bike gloves will also protect the knuckles and wrist bones. (Not that I wear this style of glove myself, I just wear those tan colored rodeo gloves, but they have saved my hands trail biking countless times now.) I know guys and gals who have come off on the road without gloves, strangely enough they all wear them now, even in the summer. Additional note: It's best not to wear rings or jewellry on the fingers or wrists, even under the gloves. The rings and bracelets can get caught as you slide along and also cause damage. Heat transference being a major problem. Cheers: Jaq. And for those of you who question why I worry about gloves if I ride around the local area in shorts and t-shirts...it's simple...your arms and legs will take a lot more abuse than your fingers will. I've come off on the trail in shorts before and not even scratched my knee, but the left glove was badly lacerated, I was riding slow, and so my hand went out as I fell, to save me. Had I not been wearing the glove I would have had a badly slashed hand. Having a bad slash on the outer thigh is not such a huge problem, it's a big piece of muscle tissue, it will take lots of abuse. As will the shoulders and biceps. But the same slash that is inconvinent on a thigh or arm becomes a massive laceration on the delicate structure of the hand. Anyone reading this from a military background will understand what I am talking about.