I got a new bike for my birthday, aren’t I the luckiest girl? But as Autumn closed in, riding became a whole lot chillier. My hands felt like chunks of ice, which is bad enough, but then they’d thaw a bit and feel white-hot painful.
Thinking this must be a solved problem, I googled ‘bike gloves’ and ‘best mittens for bike’ and found… nothing that great. A bunch of MAMILs recommending ski gloves to each other and that’s it.
(Nothing against MAMILs – bless them for making cycling more visible and by extension safer for everyone – but I can’t emphasise enough how little lycra I wear!)
Okay sure, I own ski gloves. But. They’re bulky. They’re HOT – good on the slopes, but at temperatures above freezing why bother? And they’re not the cheapest things in the world either – suppose I dropped one at a traffic light?
‘Lobster claw gloves are especially good for cycling,’ continued the MAMIL forums. ‘We call those trigger gloves,’ said someone else, and then the commentators had a fight about the different sorts of split mittens, and I closed the tab.
Here’s where a normal human being would buy a pair of gloves. That honestly never occured to me. I checked Ravelry instead. No patterns exactly suited – hey ho, I’d make my own instead.
Why split mittens and not regular mittens or gloves? Well, mittens would make it difficult to ring the bell or change gears. Gloves are a bit fussy to knit, and not as warm as mittens. Split mittens, um, split the difference. Each finger has a buddy to cuddle, but there’s half as many fingers to knit as gloves.
And why multimodal? Well, it’s a way of describing a commute that (for example) goes tram > train > bike, like mine does. And these mittens go warm > ring the bell > change gear. And a multimodal commute often needs infrastructure, like a bike share program or a pair of mittens that still let you change gears. Is that a totally weird name? Once it popped into my head I just couldn’t call them anything else!
These split mittens are lightweight (in sock yarn) and as warm as toast. Because they’ve got all sorts of different sections (cuff! Thumb gusset! Finger pocket!) they seem to knit up quickly. And honestly, wearing them my hands are the warmest part of my body.
Want to make your own split mittens? You’ll need about 50 grams of sock yarn (something with a high wool content for warmth, and in a nice variegated or speckled colourway to avoid stains from random oil splashes – maybe something like this self-striping yarn from Regia?). I used 45g of Holst Garn Highland Sock Yarn 13 Tapestry. You might like to purchase an additional skein, or risk having mismatched thumbs!
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