IPMBA Product Review

Bar Mitts:  Get Ready for Winter

by James Englert, PCI #1081
Arapahoe County (CO) Sheriff’s Office
IPMBA Industry Liaison

One of my goals at Interbike is to find products to suggest to instructors and members of IPMBA.  This is a difficult task because of the variety of products at Interbike.  It is hard not to be swayed by the tons of cool bike stuff that I think would be good, but not necessarily for the job or the membership in general.

At Interbike 2013, I found a product that I think would benefit members in the colder climates, for both work and for recreation.  I live and work in the area south of Denver.  Most years, it is possible to ride year-round, depending on the snow or ice on the road.  I find it difficult to find suitable gloves because of the changing temperatures from morning to the afternoon.

The product that has helped me overcome this difficulty is Bar Mitts.  When I met the owners, Ward and Patty, they were immediately willing to support us.  They sent several pairs of the Bar Mitts for the silent auction at the 2014 IPMBA Conference in Tampa.

I was able to try out a pair starting in about November 2013.  At the time, I thought trying them out on my commuter bike would be best since I was riding that more than my work mountain bike.

My commuter bike is a single-speed road bike with drop bars.   You need to make sure you have the right set of Bar Mitts for your bike. They are designed a little differently for drop bars than they are for mountain bikes.

Once I figured out how to put the Bar Mitts on my bike, it took about a minute to put them on and figure out how to use them.  A small piece of VelcroTM holds the Bar Mitts into place once they are on the handlebars.  Once they are on, they don’t move.  If you need to remove them, it is easy to do so by just undoing the VelcroTM and pulling the Bar Mitts off the handlebars.

My first ride involved leaving my house at about 5:30am on a cold November morning.  I guessing the temperature was about 25 degrees.  I had on a thin pair of riding gloves that I normally wear for those cold mornings.  Usually my hands get cold.  That morning, my hands didn’t get cold; they were even feeling hot. 

A couple days later, at about the same time and temperature, I did the same ride with another pair of gloves I would usually wear on a ride of about 40 degrees.  My hands felt great.  I really liked the Bar Mitts because they gave my hands room to move.  I was able to manipulate things more easily than when wearing a thicker pair of gloves. 

In the afternoon, when I left my work to head home, the temperature was about 45-50 degrees.  In those temperatures,     I would usually wear a thinner glove, but with the Bar Mitts, I was able to ride with no gloves because the wind was blocked from hitting my hands by the  wind-blocking Neoprene.

A big plus I can to see with the Bar Mitts is you can wear a thinner glove in colder weather.  With a thinner glove, it is easier to manipulate your equipment, whether it is on your duty belt or in your panniers.

Bar Mitts are great for those days where the weather goes from cold to warm.  They can be left on your bike and don’t have to be messed with or put away.  The opening on the Bar Mitts allows you to move your hands in and out with ease. 

If you are looking for a product to keep your hands warm in the colder climates, I would definitely suggest Bar Mitts.  They are an effective product from a great company, and Ward and Patty are very supportive of IPMBA.

Bar Mitts offer IPMBA members 20% off through the Product Purchase Program so check them out at http://www.barmitts.com.

James is a School Resource Officer in Centennial CO.  He was certified as an IPMBA Instructor in 2008 and currently serves as the Industry Liaison on the IPMBA board.  He can be reached at industry@ipmba.org

(c) 2014 IPMBA.  This review appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of IPMBA News. 

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