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Old 02-12-06, 01:47 PM   #1
Katrogen
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Need tips on improving hand circulation/wind chill resistance.

Hello! I'm up here in Idaho with beautiful blue jay skies and a friendly sun. The only problem is the wind chill is destroying my hands and enjoyment of riding. I wanted to go on a 30ish mile ride to my grandmother's house today but the morning ride to church was painful so it turned me off. I put on some Specialized women's cycling gloves, a pair of mid-quality Ski gloves and took off hoping I'd have a wonderful time. Ended up loving the view but not the air...

My hands are incredibly dry, unvascular, cracked, pale, numb and weak. Plus I'm very skinny so theres not much "padding" but even then I don't have bony hands. I put lotion on everyday and just let my hands warm up for half an hour so I can write/type. I was wondering though if there was anyway to improve the quality of my hand circulation or that secret cheap gear that I could wear under my other layers to help with this. This beautiful weather is hard to ignore... I feel awful staying inside and typing on a computer when I could be enjoying a lovely ride. I even turned down my snowboard race yesterday because of the chill factor.... The last time I went up I had black hands and purple fingernails. Which is just scary... and a bummer. The rest of my body does just fine on the rides/runs.

I live half a mile from a Lowes, a Target, and a Idaho grocery store so I could just go obtain what handy gear is out there. 2 minutes from a YMCA so I'll do whatever exercise/therapy needed. I'm even going to the doctor to get this checked out along with my slow thyroid. So I'll definantly appreciate the advice because its been a great winter but the hands just ruin everything.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-12-06, 03:29 PM   #2
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Not gloves, mittens.

Thick goose down insulated mittens. Mine are leather and 30 years old and in good shape. Probably expensive. You may have to go to a ski shop or outdoor specialty store.
Probably nothing in a place like Target. Mountain climbing stores have all kinds of extreme cold weather gear.

Chemical hand warmers in the mittens.

If you are on the bike and your hands start to get cold, spin your arm around in a circle like a windmill. The motion helps and the centrifugal force helps get blood to the hands. If your hands are way too cold, stop the bike and spin your arms and walk or jog until you get warm, it works very fast.

More effort = more heat from the body. If you are just cruising along on the bike, shift to a lower gear and pedal fast until you heat up, then you can stay on the bike.

Here's a ride photo I took today. 50 mph gusts, almost total white out. I have to take my mittens off to work the camera. They get nice and warm again when I get going again with the mittens on.
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Old 02-12-06, 04:16 PM   #3
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Four words for you. Pearl Izumi Lobster Gloves. Hands are going to be vulnerable regardless, and no amount of layers will negate the heat-sucking effect of isolating your poor fingers. Let 'em nestle in together and feel the warmth.
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Old 02-12-06, 04:29 PM   #4
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I have similar problems - very cold hands.
A few weeks back, I bought a pair of ski gloves. Thick insulation, but still nice to ride with. Now, I don't feel the cold at all. They're still plenty warm at 18F, going 20 mph. Cost me (the equivalent of) US$35.
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Old 02-12-06, 04:39 PM   #5
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Mittens it is! Thanks guys.
Is 60$ as cheap as Pearl Izumi sells them?
http://www.pearlizumi.com/product.ph...color_code=021
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Old 02-12-06, 04:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katrogen
Mittens it is! Thanks guys.
Is 60$ as cheap as Pearl Izumi sells them?
http://www.pearlizumi.com/product.ph...color_code=021
Mittens without the split in the middle will be warmer, and if you need it the hand warmers will warm all of your fingers, not just two.
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Old 02-12-06, 06:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 2manybikes
Mittens without the split in the middle will be warmer, and if you need it the hand warmers will warm all of your fingers, not just two.
Yes, however it's a tradeoff for dexterity/ability to use the shifters, and I find that the PI Lobsters are frickin' WARM. But...yeah, expensive. Try eBay?
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Old 02-12-06, 07:10 PM   #8
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Sounds to me that you may suffer from Reynaud's disease, which causes blood vessels that feed the hands and feet to constrict in response to cold.

I have the same problem. The pain can be debilitating. A few things I do to help ward off the problem:

1. Stay warm. I dress in layers and take off one layer at a time. I also carry a lycra beanie for my head ("if your hands are cold, put on a hat"). That little beanie has kept me and my hands warm many times.

2. Get warm. If my hands start getting cold, I take care of it right away. That may mean heading for the closest coffee house, putting my hands down my shorts, or borrowing a friend's armpits.

3. Touch warm. Don't touch anything that's cold with your hands, since that's what triggers the reaction.

4. Keep moving. I often have problems after I stop. If I'm forced to stop for a while, I'll put all my layers on again.
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Old 02-12-06, 08:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alison_in_oh
Yes, however it's a tradeoff for dexterity/ability to use the shifters, and I find that the PI Lobsters are frickin' WARM. But...yeah, expensive. Try eBay?

Good point, when It's that cold I'm usually on my MTB with rapid fire shifters. They are easy to shift. The original poster may have something different that would be easier with the PI Lobsters.
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Old 02-12-06, 09:27 PM   #10
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No need to stick with cycling mittens: look around, there should be a variety of relatively water proof mittens available. Look for some polypro glove liners or fleece gloves to go inside the mittens also. I have some mitten/gloves, type that came out a few yrs ago, with full thumb, 3/4fingers and a mitten flap that can cover the fingers and fold back on the back of the glove if it warms up. Good down to the mid 20sF. Doesn't get much colder here though. You don't need hi tech ski, cycle or sport mittens. Less expensive varieties should do as well.
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Old 02-12-06, 09:37 PM   #11
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I'll talk to my parents about the lobster gloves as I've got to get a computer/water bottle cages/helmet and rest of team uniform for the new year.

I'll call bike shops/REI and see what they've got in the polypro liners. Is there other brands of lobster gloves?
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Old 02-12-06, 11:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katrogen
I'll call bike shops/REI and see what they've got in the polypro liners.
I get my supply of polypro liners here. If they're good enough for our troops, they're good enough for me. They get rough treatment on a bike, so get a few pair.
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Old 02-13-06, 05:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrymorse
Sounds to me that you may suffer from Reynaud's disease, which causes blood vessels that feed the hands and feet to constrict in response to cold.

. . .

4. Keep moving. I often have problems after I stop. If I'm forced to stop for a while, I'll put all my layers on again.
Interesting!

I'll tell you about an experience I had a few months back.
It was a cold day for the season (about 2C/36F) and I went out on a group ride with my club.
I was warm when I started, and even though I only had thin leather gloves at the time, I didn't get cold in my hands. However, after about two hours, we stopped for a while, because several of the others in the group were cold. We stopped outside a store and they went in and warmed themselves up. I stayed outside, because I was quite warm, and I didn't want to leave my bike unattended.

After a few minutes, my hands were ice cold. Ten minutes later, the rest of the group came back out, and we continued on. My hands were still cold, and they never got warm again. It didn't take many minutes until they went numb, and for the rest of the ride, they were almost useless. Could hardly use the brakes. When I got back home, about 40 minutes after the stop, and I started to warm my hands back up, the pain was horrible.

This is a pattern I've often seen. I'm warm and don't get cold as long as I stay active. As soon as I stop for a while, my hands (as well as my feet, normally) become ice cold, and then they go numb.

It seems my new ski gloves are warm enough to prevent cold hands completely, though.
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Old 02-13-06, 09:01 AM   #14
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Nice site Terry. I had given up on the $3 polypro since Sierra stopped carrying them.
I suspect these are sized for size 7 and up hands, and petites will be a bit swamped inside but they are thin enough that it is not a big deal. Interesting that they are listed as US sourced, one of the rare items of US made clothing still extent, though bike clothing seems to have been somewhat resistant to the outsourcing movement, I suppose because of the boutique nature of the genera. Lobster gloves tend to be somewhat oversize also in my experience, handy for biking because you still get to use your Shimano brifters, but if the finger covers are too long they can get in the way. Mittens come in lots of sizes.
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Old 02-13-06, 02:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katrogen
I'll talk to my parents about the lobster gloves as I've got to get a computer/water bottle cages/helmet and rest of team uniform for the new year.

I'll call bike shops/REI and see what they've got in the polypro liners. Is there other brands of lobster gloves?
specialized makes them too but i bet they're about the same price...

i'd say if price is a big issue just get a cheap pair of biggish mitts that keep the wind out big enough to wear a thinner pair of hand hugging liner gloves inside and your hands will be toasty warm. and if you need to do something that really requires dexterity then you can take off the mitts still keep the gloves on so you never have to expose bare skin. switching gears in the cold is not that great but not that hard either... warm hands are more important.

i used lobster claws with a liner glove last weekend here for 2hrs in -6C/21F... last 30min were a bit cold... mitts would have been a bit better for that duration and temp.
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Old 02-13-06, 03:02 PM   #16
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When the brain starts to sense that the body may be losing core temperature, it will respond by diverting blood flow to the core and away from the extremities. The scenario that CdCf provides is a typical example of when that can happen on a ride.

So make sure that your head (brain) and core (heart & lungs) are staying warm. Keep in mind that if you over expose your arms and legs, you can still undermine your core temperature maintenance strategy. And when you have been cranking and have to stop for a while, just be aware that your best strategy will be to keep it really brief. As soon as your core temp starts to drop, even if it has been fairly high, you can trigger the response to begin to limit bloodflow and warmth to your extremities.

I like the idea of getting a medical opinion though. And for my take, I use PI Amphibs and stay frikkin toasty on my 32 degree and lower morning commute temps. It doesn't get cold enough around here for Lobsters but I would bet that they are even better.
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Old 02-13-06, 04:38 PM   #17
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Really appreciate all the input guys!
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Old 02-14-06, 10:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CdCf
Interesting!

I'll tell you about an experience I had a few months back.
It was a cold day for the season (about 2C/36F) and I went out on a group ride with my club.
I was warm when I started, and even though I only had thin leather gloves at the time, I didn't get cold in my hands. However, after about two hours, we stopped for a while, because several of the others in the group were cold. We stopped outside a store and they went in and warmed themselves up. I stayed outside, because I was quite warm, and I didn't want to leave my bike unattended.

After a few minutes, my hands were ice cold. Ten minutes later, the rest of the group came back out, and we continued on. My hands were still cold, and they never got warm again. It didn't take many minutes until they went numb, and for the rest of the ride, they were almost useless. Could hardly use the brakes. When I got back home, about 40 minutes after the stop, and I started to warm my hands back up, the pain was horrible.

This is a pattern I've often seen. I'm warm and don't get cold as long as I stay active. As soon as I stop for a while, my hands (as well as my feet, normally) become ice cold, and then they go numb.

It seems my new ski gloves are warm enough to prevent cold hands completely, though.
If you have enough insulation.......more than thin leather gloves.
All you need to do is work hard and create enough body heat to warm up again. You need to work harder than you did before because you are a little colder, and if you are sweaty you need to heat up the sweat too this requires more BTU's from you - the furnace. Shift down and spin like crazy. Works great at 15f rides 6+ hours long with lots of stops for bare hand camera operation. Jogging or walking will warm your feet. I know this can be difficult on a group ride when everyone wants to get going.

If you do go inside the store, take you gloves or shoes off so the warm air in the store can get to your skin better.
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Old 02-14-06, 12:59 PM   #19
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Ok, first of all, this is no longer a problem. I lost one of those gloves, so I had to buy new ones. And knowing how cold they were, I bought a pair of thick ski gloves. They've been very nice and warm so far.

The other thing is that, as soon as my hands have become cold, it doesn't matter how hard I work - they're basically shut off from that point on. In fact, I tried just what you suggest, and it didn't work. People are different, just a fact of life.
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Old 02-14-06, 03:57 PM   #20
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Ok, first of all, this is no longer a problem. I lost one of those gloves, so I had to buy new ones. And knowing how cold they were, I bought a pair of thick ski gloves. They've been very nice and warm so far.

The other thing is that, as soon as my hands have become cold, it doesn't matter how hard I work - they're basically shut off from that point on. In fact, I tried just what you suggest, and it didn't work. People are different, just a fact of life.

It seems unusual to me, I hope you're OK.
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