We've all experienced rides where frozen hands or fingers have been the main feature of the spin. While they can make your spin miserable, they can also inhibit your ability to shift gears, brake or grip your bars. Not only can they affect your performance, but your safety also. When its cold, your body's core temperature can start to drop. This leads to your blood vessels in extremities (hands/feet) to constrict in an effort to divert warming blood back to your core. Combine this reduced blood flow with the wind chill your forward speed is creating, the exposed position of your hands on the bars and it’s no wonder your fingers can easily become icicles.
As we recommended in our previous blog on avoiding cold feet, we suggest pre-warming your gloves on a radiator. Another tip is to give the insides a warming blast with a hair drier and clasp a steaming mug of tea or coffee before you head out.
Layer Your Gloves
Adopting a layering approach to your gloves increases flexibility if conditions change while you’re out and, as there’s warm air between each layer, they’ll be warmer. Choose thin silk or Merino wool line gloves next to your skin, an insulating mid-layer and then a wind or waterproof outer shell. We have had great feedback on these Altura Nightvision Windproof gloves.
Dont Restrict Your Hands
Make sure that your gloves aren’t too tight as this might also restrict blood flow and increase chilling. There should be room at your fingertips and you should be able to clench and open your hands without any sensations of tightness or restriction.
If conditions are really cold and wet, a spare pair of gloves, or at least liners, stashed in a zip-lock bag in your jersey pockets can make the second half of a ride far more bearable. Don’t forget to give them a warming blast with the hand-drier if you’ve stopped in a café.
These are tips we've gathered through many years of cycling and while they can't guarantee warm hands, they will definitely contribute to "warm-er" hands if you've been struggling through cold weather.