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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-01-10, 02:40 PM   #1
Inertianinja
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this morning, 38 degrees, made it just 6 miles....

my entire body was totally comfortable, maybe too warm...except my hands.
after 3 miles, they were burning in pain from the cold, and i had to stop and warm them up.

i was wearing Sealskinz gloves with windstopper stuff. this is frustrating, because it's only my hands.

does this happen to anyone else?
i'm thinking of trying out snowboarding gloves tomorrow, even though they're pretty big.
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Old 11-01-10, 03:07 PM   #2
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one word - mittens.
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Old 11-01-10, 04:13 PM   #3
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Mittens and pogies when it gets cold.
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Old 11-01-10, 04:52 PM   #4
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ski mittens.
buy one size larger than snug, as snug will constrict blood flow and also give you less range of motion..

you can also complement the mitten with some sports wrist bands to keep your wrists warm. Keep the base of your thumb, where it meets your wrist, warm and there should be no problem with chilly, numb or painful hands.
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Old 11-01-10, 06:11 PM   #5
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Burning in pain from the cold in just a few minutes sounds like something more than just a glove issue--especially above freezing.

Are you usually a "cold hands/warm heart" kinda guy? If so, you might have Reynaud's, which is a spasmodic closure of the small blood vessels on exposure to the cold.

I was diagnosed 25 years ago.

The wiki article lists lots to things you can do. (And the colors in the photos are really exaggerated.) On the bike, I've found maintaining a death grip on the bars is sure to bring it on. It took a year or so of conscious effort, but now with a very loose and relaxed grip, I have significantly less trouble. Anything that's too tight makes it worse as well. I've never even seen the Sealskinz gloves, but I know their footwear is really tight. If their gloves are really tight too, that could be a contributing factor.
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Old 11-01-10, 06:18 PM   #6
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my entire body was totally comfortable, maybe too warm...except my hands.
after 3 miles, they were burning in pain from the cold, and i had to stop and warm them up.

i was wearing Sealskinz gloves with windstopper stuff. this is frustrating, because it's only my hands.

does this happen to anyone else?
i'm thinking of trying out snowboarding gloves tomorrow, even though they're pretty big.
Those thin gloves designed for dexterity are only good down to about 45-50 F degrees. Except for a gifted few who have above average circulation in their hands. At 38 degrees you will need to wear fully insulated ski gloves with a windproof cover. Or if your hands are sensitive to the cold, mittens. For some people hands are the hardest things to keep warm on the bike in winter.
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Old 11-01-10, 07:56 PM   #7
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Burning in pain from the cold in just a few minutes sounds like something more than just a glove issue--especially above freezing.

Are you usually a "cold hands/warm heart" kinda guy? If so, you might have Reynaud's, which is a spasmodic closure of the small blood vessels on exposure to the cold.

I was diagnosed 25 years ago.

The wiki article lists lots to things you can do. (And the colors in the photos are really exaggerated.) On the bike, I've found maintaining a death grip on the bars is sure to bring it on. It took a year or so of conscious effort, but now with a very loose and relaxed grip, I have significantly less trouble. Anything that's too tight makes it worse as well. I've never even seen the Sealskinz gloves, but I know their footwear is really tight. If their gloves are really tight too, that could be a contributing factor.
My hands dont look anything like that. This was me riding at 20mph in near freezing weather in the middle of the night, and things were okay after a few minutes of stopping. My hands have always gotten cold, but i dont have anything to compare it to.

Now that i think of it, today was the first time ive ever ridden a bike in weather that cold.
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Old 11-01-10, 08:20 PM   #8
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More insulation.... hands get cold on a bicycle quickly, they're gripping a steel bar and exposed to the wind.
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Old 11-02-10, 06:32 AM   #9
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I rode again this morning, same temp, this time with snowboarding gloves. What a difference. Hands were sweaty after ~15 miles. What this teaches me is that for cold weather cycling i need specific gear for every 5 degrees of temp change under 50F.
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Old 11-02-10, 12:23 PM   #10
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I like CC ski gloves with long gauntlets. If you get the biggest you can buy, you get a wider comfort range: Open the gauntlet closure when it's warmer to vent some heat; close down when it gets colder; layer with glove liners for colder still; put a windproof mitten shell over it for colder yet; and for the coldest, use the liners and mittens under a set of pogies. Works for me all through a Minnesota winter.

CC ski tights work fine for bicyling, too, though you may wish to layer padding over the top if your saddlery regions are tender.
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Old 11-02-10, 12:45 PM   #11
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My hands dont look anything like that.
Mine don't either.

What headed me in that direction for you was when you said you had pain from above-freezing cold. I can't say from personal experience, but I've been told the normal people don't experience pain with cold the way I do. Apparently for most folks, cold feels cold, but not painful.
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Old 11-02-10, 12:54 PM   #12
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I rode again this morning, same temp, this time with snowboarding gloves. What a difference. Hands were sweaty after ~15 miles. What this teaches me is that for cold weather cycling i need specific gear for every 5 degrees of temp change under 50F.
I don't know where you are and how cold it gets, but if you're having trouble with sweaty hands in the cold try a vapour barrier. That is a super-thin wicking glove under a latex/nitrile glove and then a nice insulation layer on top... if you have sweaty hands the latex(vapour) barrier will keep the insulation dry but at the same time the thin wicking layer(supposedly) gets to a certain humidity and the skin stops sweating.

Make sure you're covering your arms and arteries also, particularly from the thumb up the inside of the forearm.
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Old 11-02-10, 01:18 PM   #13
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Those thin gloves designed for dexterity are only good down to about 45-50 F degrees. Except for a gifted few who have above average circulation in their hands. At 38 degrees you will need to wear fully insulated ski gloves with a windproof cover. Or if your hands are sensitive to the cold, mittens. For some people hands are the hardest things to keep warm on the bike in winter.
Jeez, really? I have crappy circulation and I don't use fully insulated ski gloves until the temps drop to 20-25.
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Old 11-02-10, 10:32 PM   #14
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Jeez, really? I have crappy circulation and I don't use fully insulated ski gloves until the temps drop to 20-25.
That doesn't surprise me. A lot of people don't need a fully insulated glove until those temps. But as the thread poster was cold at 38 F with thin gloves it's obvious he needs something better at that temp. I never actually use a ski glove as I have found something better and cheaper that works for me under all temps below 40 F. The 35-45 F zone can be a bit of a question mark. In fall before the ground is frozen a thin glove may be just fine. As more radiant heat loss occurs in hard winter I have to switch to a polar fleece glove with a breathable nylon cover. This is easy to dry out and works for me down to 15 F.
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Old 11-02-10, 10:39 PM   #15
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I rode again this morning, same temp, this time with snowboarding gloves. What a difference. Hands were sweaty after ~15 miles. What this teaches me is that for cold weather cycling i need specific gear for every 5 degrees of temp change under 50F.
You might try some cheap polar fleece gloves you can get at WalMart or Shopko. I have a good nylon cover that I got from tearing out all the lining and insulation from a pair of inexpensive ski gloves. I then wear them over the polar fleece gloves at around 35 F and below. It is nearly impossible to keep your hands exactly the right temperature. But I prefer mine slightly warm as opposed to cold. The wind resistant cover and lining works the best for gloves since you can pull them apart and dry them out in one night. Ski gloves don't dry out fast enough once they get wet from hand sweat.
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Old 11-02-10, 10:42 PM   #16
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I rode again this morning, same temp, this time with snowboarding gloves. What a difference. Hands were sweaty after ~15 miles. What this teaches me is that for cold weather cycling i need specific gear for every 5 degrees of temp change under 50F.
It becomes an art in knowing what to select and wear for the exact conditions. That is why there is no substitute for experimentation.
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Old 11-04-10, 10:20 AM   #17
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Regular full fingered cycling gloves with Arcteryx Merino Wool glove liners - this combo works perfect in about -5C and warmer.
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Old 11-04-10, 10:26 AM   #18
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my entire body was totally comfortable, maybe too warm...except my hands.
after 3 miles, they were burning in pain from the cold, and i had to stop and warm them up.

i was wearing Sealskinz gloves with windstopper stuff. this is frustrating, because it's only my hands.

does this happen to anyone else?
Yes generally my hands are the first (and often only) parts of me that get cold on a bike. I sometimes think that the intense freezing feeling from my hands masks everything else that's cold (like my feet, which never really feel cold).

As others have said solutions include ski gloves, mittens and pogies...

If you're on the bike and have no better gloves, I find pulling my fingers out of the fingered part of the gloves and making a fist inside the gloves works to unfreeze my hands. I alternate hands as riding conditions permit.
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Old 11-04-10, 12:23 PM   #19
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I've been using fingerless gloves for awhile, and I just bought a pair of those $1 stretchy knit gloves that fit snugly inside them for when it's actually cold. Seems okay so far, but we've only had one 30F day so far...
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Old 11-04-10, 04:59 PM   #20
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my solution last year worked down to the teens for over an hour. basically I used thin glove liners under loose fitting winter gloves. on some days a single ski glove layer was adequate but for the killer months where the commute was always in the teens or low 20s, then I needed the two layers. some folks rig a kind of wind block strapped onto the bars - I don't recall what they're called but i think they're used on ATVs and snow mobiles too
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Old 11-20-10, 05:50 PM   #21
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What keeps you warm is a layer of warm air, I believe. That would explain why sealskinz gloves and wind-resistant shell are NOT the way to go. If you already have wind-resistant shells, try one or more layers of something that would trap some air, like those green wool liners from the military surplus store, some fleece gloves from somewhere, or something like that. A couple layers might be better, but don't jam so much stuff in there that the gloves feel tight. Too tight means not enough trapped air means cold.

I myself can use gloves down to around 30F, and after that I switch to mittens. I have not tried the super-duper expensive ski gloves, so I can't say how far one can push "glove technology" before having to give it up for mittens.
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Old 11-21-10, 08:55 AM   #22
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It was -38 here yesterday. It will be -26 today but with all the snow its impossible to ride safely.
I think the op has it pretty good.
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Old 11-21-10, 10:35 AM   #23
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What keeps you warm is a layer of warm air, I believe. That would explain why sealskinz gloves and wind-resistant shell are NOT the way to go. If you already have wind-resistant shells, try one or more layers of something that would trap some air, like those green wool liners from the military surplus store, some fleece gloves from somewhere, or something like that. A couple layers might be better, but don't jam so much stuff in there that the gloves feel tight. Too tight means not enough trapped air means cold.

I myself can use gloves down to around 30F, and after that I switch to mittens. I have not tried the super-duper expensive ski gloves, so I can't say how far one can push "glove technology" before having to give it up for mittens.
You also need a bit of permeability in the fabric to help moisture cycle outwards... wind-proof does that a bit, but sometimes wind-resistant fabric with a lower CFM rating is more comfortable. Mittens are great, I saw a wind-proof shell only one the other day which was designed larger so you could select the level of insulation you wear inside it. That is a piece of gear you can use almost all late fall/winter/early spring by adjusting the insulation inside. Layering works!
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Old 11-21-10, 12:00 PM   #24
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Mittens are a good idea, especially if you have circulation issues. However, I have a pair of ice climbing gloves that a salesman at REI recommended. They are Neoprene with wool lining and are AWESOME. Windproof and waterproof. Check them out at: http://www.komperdell.com/

I also have a set of Pearl Izumi barrier fingered gloves that are warm and roomy. I've worn those down to freezing temps with a set of glove liners. My only complaint is that when it's warmer, say 40-45, they can get a little sweaty. The Komperdell's seem to be more breathable and have a wider temperature range.
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Old 11-21-10, 02:59 PM   #25
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...my entire body was totally comfortable, maybe too warm...except my hands.
after 3 miles, they were burning in pain from the cold, and i had to stop and warm them up....
Just this morning (Sunday, 11/21) I post to this thread on the Commuter Forum: "Winter Gloves For Commuting"

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-For-Commuting

FWIW:

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I commute year round [14 miles one way] usually in the 20's F, but often lower, rarely down to 0 degrees. My own prefeence at less than 20 is a thin knit glove under a heavily insulated windproof shell. This year I'm going to try a lobster claw pair.

I would however like to suggest this additional piece of gear. Since I have a gap between my jacket and glove end, I always have to carefully tuck the wrist end of the gloves under the sleeve ends. Last year I made a pair of "wrist gaiters" by cutting the toe ends off a pair of athletic socks for my fingers and an additional hole for my thumb. The gaiters extend all the way up over my forearm. I have found that they keep my forearms quite warm, and usually become slightly damp with sweat, but not enough to chill. This may be subjective, but I think they help keep my hands warmer by keeping the blood flowing down to my hands warmer than otherwise without them.

This winter I will take note more carefully on those really challenging days, but last winter I didn't buy mittens, as I had contemplated the year before.
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