you don't read a great deal about door wedges these days, despite the sterling work they still carry out in hidden corners of many a small and tall building. it was always a derogatory term in my schooldays, mostly due to my ineptness and inefficiency in the woodwork department. as i recall, we were all issued with a chunk of wood on which appropriate measurement was made before placing in a bench vice and proceeding to employ a plane to take the surface down to the carefully pencil marked dimension. unfortunately, it was more often than not the pencil mark that was the only careful part.
on more than one occasion i measured up from different edges, meaning that the mark on the left was not in any way similar to that on the right. to be honest, neither mark was of anything other than academic value, since my planing technique never strayed beyond the rudimentary, resulting in a fine workbox full of ever more smooth door wedges. that i never became a joiner is of no surprise to anyone.
however, for all the disparaging of my woodworking talents and the obscurism of writing about door wedges in the first place, it does not lessen the vital role that they play in modern day society where open and closed doors are met with increasing frequency. unfortunately, considering the amount of scrapped wood there must be all over the place, a great number of modern day wedges are made from a resilient rubber, but with scooped out internals. this latter feature, the reason for which i know not removes the ability of the door wedge to provide a suitable area of grip on something like an acrylic carpeted floor. this frequently seems to result in an open door that insists on closing.
as a device or implement, however, they have a singular job to deliver. a door wedge, is a door wedge, is a door wedge. you'd be unlikely to employ its services for anything other than opening doors. they tend not to be very good at painting the skirting boards or unscrewing a set of crank bros. pedals. not that there is any direct line of descent, but i have a pair of thinsulate gloves that are of similar singular purpose. they are slightly too large, but since all that is asked of them is that they keep my hands warm, this is of no real nevermind, and i think the greatest trial they have been asked to perform recently is that of waving to the driver of the council bin lorry on my morning walk.
their purpose is clear to them and to me.
on the contrary, cycling gloves are of a different and greater level of import to the honed athlete. they have things of far greater import to deal with and often a lot less time to do so than the humble door wedge. at a particularly minimal level, those string-backed track mitts need only provide comfort at the point of contact with the option of digital protection should it be necessary to spaly oneself out on the gravel due to an inadvertant and unforeseen mishap. but it's still a chunk more than my wooly thinsulates have need of doing. autumn and winter, however, bring with them alternative forms of cycle sport, the one most under concern at present being that of cyclocross
since this is a form of pedalling that brings with it a number of features hitherto unknown on the wide open road, there's every likelihood that items of apparel for this purpose might conceivably be in need of one or two extras. for instance, a cycle jersey with a padded right shoulder can be a boon to those who have yet to learn the art of the bunny-hop. and it is surely of serious import that cyclocross demands a pair of gloves with bonus features, such as those recently arrived from glacier.
the naming of this reno, nevada based company may seem at odds with the mental picture we have of an american state comprised of large tracts of desert, but their products have favoured the hands and fingers of u.s. navy seals, the u.s. coastguard, various antarctic expeditions and climbers on mount everest. it perhaps goes without saying that several squishy laps of bridgend woods would be unlikely to give them too much trouble.
their aptly named cyclocross gloves are principally constituted of neoprene, with blue lycra cuffs and padded leather palms. that padding seems mostly formed from rubber inserts, inlaid into slotted leather panels on the palm and thumb, the latter of which features a terry cloth outer for wiping glasses, face and nose. the padding sits along the base of the fingers, on the inner face of the thumb and on the palm. i cannot deny that i had minor tribulations with the thumb padding, but on consulting with importers, 2 pure, it appears my review samples were pre-production models, and the glitch has been satisfactorily corrected on the production models. i might point out in their favour, that the glitch in no way undermined the excellent performance of the gloves.
unlike those untroubled thinsulates, there is much for which to call upon the skills of cyclocross gloves. aside from clicking up and down the gears, braking as and when necessary, there's all that leaping on and off the bicycle to contend with, to say nothing of hefting a top tube onto a padded (or otherwise) right shoulder. as if that were not enough, such situations were often mixed with mud. so now we've viscosity to contend with. on cold mornings, something an islay november owns in spades, it took a commendably short time to heat the fingers up and keep them that way. their prestidigitatory qualities were often my safety net when incompetence intervened.
if there's something that i found less than favourable it was the random scattering of lines on the back of each glove. i assume that the glaciers, though inhabiting the hands of an incompetent in this particular case, are intended for professional use, and i therefore think it unlikely that those dependent on their offroad riding skills for a living would find themselves even remotely concerned with this most abstract of patterns. i think they would have looked less ostentatious were the backs to have been left plain. however, even i cannot deny that this is purely icing on a particularly excellent cake, one that occupies the trivial and thus has no bearing on the efficacy of a very fine product.
retailing at a smidgeon under £45, these are not particularly cheap, but i think it only fair to state that i think careful consideration should always be paid to the three points of contact. skimping on any one of those is often false economy. you'd look particularly silly if you dropped that bike jumping the hurdles or missing a gear because you couldn't feel your fingers and the gear lever couldn't feel them either. these are available in small, medium, large or extra large and as far as i can ascertain, are only available in black and blue.
not that i've checked, but i doubt they'd be much use as door stops.
wednesday 28th november 2012..........................................................................................................................................................................................................