Handlebar Tape (Just For Cyclists)

Cinelli padded handlebar tape, with cork

Cinelli padded handlebar tape. You can just about see the small bits of cork it’s impregnated with – keeping it absorbent.

This is one of those ‘just in case’ entries – as in, just in case you’re not aware of this.

Your backside on the saddle, your feet on the pedals and your hands on the handlebars – and thus (if you’re on a standard road bike) on the handlebar tape: those are the points of contact – the points which have to carry all your weight. That’s obvious enough if you think about it, but you do need to think about it.

To be comfortable on a bike means those points of contact need to be comfortable. The longer the ride, the more important comfort becomes, but whatever the distance, the happier you are on the bike, the better you’ll be able to ride and the more enjoyment you’ll get.

To just focus on the bars, handlebar tape comes in any number of varieties. Today I was riding with new, padded handlebar tape – replacing some previously non-padded stuff that I’d bought without thinking (which in turn had replaced some padded tape). Going back to a padded version made me realise just what a big difference it makes. (I’ve used Cinelli tape; there are other makes though. Just make sure it’s thick and non-slip.)

So, if you’re getting any discomfort with your hands, you could do worse than trying some padded tape to see if that helps. (You could also try some decently padded gloves/mitts.) New tape is a relatively low-cost thing to experiment with, and there are plenty of videos online showing you how to wrap bars if you’re not sure: put “taping handlebars on a road bike” into Google and take your pick. (My tip: don’t be in a hurry when you set about doing it; it takes time to do it nicely.)