PASSPORT CROCHET BACK CYCLING MITTS
Black 88g Large £14.99
The Passport Crochet Back Cycling Mitts are, according to Ison Distribution “One of the most iconic cycling accessories”. This might ignite some very lively debate but, for me at least, a statement I’m inclined to agree with.
Pros: Classic style, well made, comfortable and attractively priced.
Cons: Need greater care than synthetics.
The retro flavour isn’t simply aesthetic, these are authentic, down to the materials. Backs are crochet cotton, with a Velcro closure. Look carefully and you’ll find a Terry thumb wipe for taming runny noses. This contemporary twist, might offend the purists. However, for me, it’s perfectly executed and so subtle.
Flipping them over, reveals a generous leather palm, designed to provide grip and comfort. Unlike some, density mimics that of some ulnar defending gel types, i.e. thicker at key points. Theoretically, offering greater protection from numbness without being unduly bulky. The hide is also reassuringly supple, taking around 100miles, or so, before moulding to my shape.
It’s worth noting that I added a quick lick of leather conditioner. This undoubtedly helped, accelerate the breaking in process. My main objective, was to nourish and protect it from the elements.
Since we’re on the subject, I treat natural hides every six weeks, or so. Solvent based products work faster, dare I say more effectively, on weathered leather. However, water-based preps won’t degrade the stitching, over time.
Talking of which, stitching is also uniform and tidy throughout, with little hint of fraying, over the past few weeks, and 500 miles. Calling Ison’s bluff, I hand-washed them, using soap flakes, just to see how they responded.
Rinsed carefully, and left drying naturally overnight, the palms didn’t feel stiff, nor was there any hint of fraying. Mind you, (unless you’d applied some leather lacquer beforehand), I’d give the palms a quick once-over with a lint free cloth, dipped in conditioner.
Ison suggested going a size bigger than usual, which is good advice, if you’re coming from the Lycra backed, aero types. I’m traditionally a large, and these fitted me like the proverbial.
Bucking the trend for smaller Velcro tabs, this one ensures easy tailoring and effortless adjustment-even in the saddle. Fingers also extended, just beyond the knuckle. This was again, perfect for my long, willow digits, coupled with some additional protection - I’m fond of taking the odd, dirt road/trail detour.
Overall performance is hard to fault, when everything’s considered. Those sensibly padded, supple hides took a matter of rides before they’d moulded to my shape. Grip, regardless of bar coverings (from genuine leather, to natural silicones) has been uniformly dependable.
That said, it improves further, once the palms develop that very faint, superficial patina. Being a natural blend, the mitts have relaxed very slightly. Especially around the cuff and tips. Never to the point of baggy, nor gathering uncomfortably on longer outings.
Dexterity and mitts are synonymous. The Passport were no exception, whether tending a flat, rummaging for my keys, grabbing and swigging from a bottle etc. Modern bar wraps, such as this Lizard Skins DSP 2.5 with their gummy textures ensure excellent control, especially when it’s lashing down.
In this context, there’s not a great deal in it. Amara type palms with silicone detailing have a slight edge, purchase-wise but I’ve never found myself death-gripping the bars, when haring down 1in 7s at 35mph.
Introducing a thin layer of Crankalicious Leather Lacquer brought this on par with those silicone infused synthetics. Coating other leather kit, specifically saddles and shoes is a good move, while you’re about it. Especially before a tour, or tackling other, epic rides.
Steadily increasing distances and ride duration, there’s been no issues with numbness, or tingling, let alone anything more serious. This confirmed the strategically located padding is properly configured and not simply, aesthetic.
Leather palms and crochet cotton backs take longer to saturate, in showery conditions but they also take longer to dry. Whereas Lycra/Amara pairings are pretty much there in around 20 mins, with a moderate breeze, bank on two hours, maybe longer. Again, that’s typical of similar designs in my collection, regardless of price.
I’ve nothing against white backs (The passport, are also available in blue/white/yellow, or white, blue red with tan palms) but I much preferred our black and white, which show little signs of sullying, or turning funky, despite being worn for several hours at a time, in some very warm conditions.
So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised in every respect. Something like these Santini Micro Mesh would be a better bet, for strict vegetarians and those riders, who can’t be bothered with the modest, periodic but very necessary care required. Just the same, the passport offer a brilliant bang to buck ratio.