Ouch it’s cold. Extremities are the first to feel the nips of the chill winter air. Perched at the far extremes of the body, they’re the first to have blood supply pulled away from them when it’s needed elsewhere, or if it’s not being pumped round fast enough because you’re dehydrated.Look after you fingers, because the pain that is cold-digits — or warmth returning to cold digits — is awful. And if you get frostbite once, it’s ten times worse next time.
Crazy idea, but it’s worth it for serious winter riding. Alaskans wouldn’t use anything else. I’ve happily ridden down to -10C in bare hands with pogies on my bike, and dig them out for UK riding when the temperature drops low enough. Sidetrack make them, if you can find them. Else you’ll be forced to have someones mum (or your own) whip you up a pair. For serious winter riding, there isn’t another option. Fantastic. But they don’t half look daft.
Students at Anchorage University did a study on how to increase the temperature of their hands in extreme cold. Several methods were tried. The old favourites — sticking hands in armpits, in crotch (own), leaping about enthusiastically.. The best method by far was as follows:-1. Raise your hands to head height.2. Fling them downwards, as if trying to shake water off them, or get rid of a scorpion that bitten you… Ouch…get off… that sort of thing.3. Repeat.
This method was found to be over five times as effective as anything else — literally linging the blood back into the finger tips. The other thing to remember is to stay well hydrated and don’t restrict bloodflow. Tight gloves, not enough drink… it’ll hurt.
It’s a fine principle. A big cosy insulated glove should keep you warm. But they
don’t always. Lobster claw mitts — Pearlizumi invented them, Trek and Madison do versions — should be the greatest gloves under the sun, but they’re not. They’re awkward to work with, bulk up and get soggy with sweat. The sweat then cools and you’re left with cold fingers. Ouch. I’ll walk to the shops in them, but I won’t ride in ‘em.
Specialized make what many consider to be one of the best winter gloves. Their Storm Force number with a leather palm and neoprene back will take care of you on cold days. But these to suffer from bad palm insulation, leading to chilled digits on damp days. Buy a size larger and wear a thin liner glove. That works.
Spinning off from the baggy gravity set, downhill gloves for cycling in are now popular. Full fingered, some of these make excellent winter riding gloves. Watch out for fingers that are too tight — this will restrict blood flow, and before you know it, you’ll be looking for your finger (or thumb) tips.
Windstopper gloves combine fleeces insulating properties with an windproof membrane -something other fleece gloves don’t have. Without the windproof bit- check by blowing through the fabric- it’s like wearing no gloves. Remember regular fleece is a great insulator, but is useless when the wind is blowing.
Porelle, makers of the “Drys” sock have made a glove, and have released
it to a few selected testers for UK trials. According to our source, they look like
regular black woolen gloves, with a rubber weave inside (like the socks), and ‘octopus’ grippy dots all over the palm and fingers. Like gloves from the market.
The prototypes came with woollen liners as well, are *totally* waterproof. We’re expecting proper releases of these soon. And we can’t wait…