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Cold weather riding: hands and feet are freezing!! Apparel suggestions?

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Cold weather riding: hands and feet are freezing!! Apparel suggestions?

Old 11-05-12, 07:35 AM
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teamtrinity
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Cold weather riding: hands and feet are freezing!! Apparel suggestions?

The other day, I went on a 20 mile ride in the morning to figure out if my cold weather bike clothes will work. It was 29 degrees fahrenheit (-1 or -2 celcius) out. Everything was fine except my hands and feet. They were freezing! Here's what I had:

Feet: SmartWool socks, Sidi road shoes, Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier shoe cover

Hands: Terramar silk liner gloves, Pearl Izumi Thermal glove

This worked fine when it was upper 30s...but upper 20's, it's just not cutting it. Any apparel suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-12, 07:38 AM
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At that temperature I'd add some chemical hand/feet warmers to the mix.
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Old 11-05-12, 07:49 AM
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Full neoprene shoe covers should keep your feet acceptably warm in the 20's.

One issue you may be having is fit. If the wool socks are thicker than your usual cycling socks, you may be making yourself colder by limiting circulation. So a thinner sock can actually keep your feet warmer.

Another option is a neoprene sock. They're rather clammy but they'll keep your feet warm, and are not overly thick. If your feet are too cold with neoprene socks, and a neoprene over boot, it's too cold to ride outside.
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Old 11-05-12, 08:32 AM
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Is your head appropriately covered? Your body will draw blood from your extremities to meet higher priority demands, like keeping your brain and organs warm.

Shoes too tight (good suggestion above ^).

For hands, use layers, like a silk liner, a neoprene mid glove, and a windstop outer glove or mitten.
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Old 11-05-12, 08:44 AM
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Head, neck, torso, make sure they're warm. In cold weather I like to make sure they're protected from wind too, at least in the front.

Wind proof front panels on tights also help.

As suggested above your body keeps your vitals warm first, your hands and feet later. If your hands and feet are cold then examine how well you've protected your head, neck, torso.

It also helps if you're riding hard (increase heat energy production; I'll even lightly drag the brakes to increase resistance, and the most extreme is I'll use a mountain bike with full width knobbies on the road), if you unweight your feet more than normal (to allow blood flow to your feet, also forces you to lift your feet instead of letting them just sit there), and if you (using good judgment) hold the bars extremely lightly. I'll often place the bottom of my thumb and the heel of my hand (basically the first two padded parts of your hand when moving from the wrist) on the bars, kind of like if I was typing and the keyboard was in front of the bars. I curl my fingers loosely. This removes a heat sink from the equation (the bars that you hold with your hands). It's worth probably 5-8 deg F, more so if I've underestimated how cold it is and I have marginal gloves for the temperature.

Hope this helps. More power to you for riding in the cold.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:37 AM
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Do your shoes have one of those vent holes in the bottom, right in front of the cleat that your shoe cover might leave exposed? My shimano road shoes did and I used to put a duck tape patch on it. I have winter shoes now so not needed.

My wife switches to Spd pedals and mtb shoes as the shoes tend to be thicker and warmer and that may be a cheaper option than winter shoes.

For hands I have a pair of 'lobster' style gloves for when it is really cold. Also, don't ride with a tight grip as it impedes circulation. Carbon bars and/or levers are also nice as they don't pull as much heat out of your hands as aluminum.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
As suggested above your body keeps your vitals warm first, your hands and feet later. If your hands and feet are cold then examine how well you've protected your head, neck, torso.
This.

Keep the torso warm and the rest will follow. To a point, of course. However, I can ride in pretty cold weather with fairly thin gloves and mid-weight wool socks. Keeping the blood warm in the legs and arms helps keep the feet and hands warm. I loosely follow a 3-2-1 method: 3 layers around the torso, 2 on the arms and legs and one of the hands and feet (not counting the shoes themselves).
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Old 11-05-12, 10:15 AM
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A couple of people have hit on this already, but it bears repeating: "if your feet are cold, put on a hat." Your hands and feet will feel cold if your chest and head aren't warn enough, because your body will slow circulation to them to preserve heat.
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Old 11-05-12, 10:18 AM
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1) Head/ core kept warm/ covered
2) Shoes not too tight(socks not too thick). Cuts off circulation. Huge problems for skiers that insist on wearing thick socks.
3) Hands: chemical hand warmers or thin ski gloves.
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Old 11-05-12, 10:35 AM
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I had a balaklava and my head never felt cold. My nose and chin were cold because I had that part of the balaklava pulled down. My body, arms, and legs felt fine. Even warm when I sped up and pedaled harder.
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Old 11-05-12, 10:53 AM
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Hands - you have to have thicker gloves or mitts. Thicker, more insulation. Not as nifty. PI Lobster gloves are great:
https://shop.pearlizumi.com/product.p...uct_id=1740166
I can't wear these above about 35°.

Feet - Sidis and booties stop cutting it at about that temperature. You have to go to insulated mountain boots. Lake boots are great:
https://www.lakecycling.com/footwear.html
SPD pedals are necessary. Yes, they're expensive, but what can you do? Rollers, I guess.
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Old 11-05-12, 11:02 AM
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It's been in the low 40s but very windy here the last couple of days. I was ok with some extra-thick wool socks in my regular road shoes, but just about.

I was going to buy shoe covers, but the LBS had a pair of Northwave winter boots in my size at 50% off (I paid $99), so I bought those and a set of eggbeater pedals for winter riding. I have to go back on Friday to get the cleats fitted properly, so it'll be Saturday before I see how well they work for me.
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Old 11-05-12, 11:06 AM
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First of all, there is a Winter Cycling forum here which may answer some of your questions ...
https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...Winter-Cycling


Next, I've written a little article entitled "Cold Feet" which may give you some ideas of how to keep your feet warm in cold weather.
https://www.machka.net/whatworks/coldfeet.htm
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Old 11-05-12, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Full neoprene shoe covers should keep your feet acceptably warm in the 20's.

One issue you may be having is fit. If the wool socks are thicker than your usual cycling socks, you may be making yourself colder by limiting circulation. So a thinner sock can actually keep your feet warmer.

Another option is a neoprene sock. They're rather clammy but they'll keep your feet warm, and are not overly thick. If your feet are too cold with neoprene socks, and a neoprene over boot, it's too cold to ride outside.
This is good solid advise. For hands, layering also helps. I use some cross gloves and wear some wool gloves over that. I add the heated packs also.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:52 PM
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Big +1 to a wool or equivalent hat under your helmet - works like magic. The other option is to use some light wool iiner gloves - Smartwool makes a good pair that work really well for me.
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Old 11-06-12, 07:59 AM
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I'm glad I got my Lake winter shoes when they still made them for Look pedals! After I got them many years ago I was very happy to finally have warm feet. Much easier than booties over cycling shoes, only to have the achille's heel of the large cleat hole in the bootie make them susceptible. AmFib Pearl Izumi gloves, although only when it is really cold ( too warm otherwise! )
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Old 11-06-12, 08:14 AM
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This is all excellent advice - my .02 is that one key is to stay dry. Any of the UnderArmour type garments will be very helpful as a base layer. Any sweat that pools next to your body will magnify the impact of the cold.

A thin skullcap to wick sweat away will help as well, although you may need to adjust your helmet a bit.

Ive used this both for biking and outdoor hockey, which is much more interval based.

This is one case where HTFU may not be the best approach. You need to acclimate yourself but please be careful, in particular with your feet. Frostbite is no fun!
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