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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 12-06-17, 02:53 PM   #1
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Gloves or tips on keeping my thumbs warm

I have an assortment of gloves from cycling specific to winter/ski gloves and most of the time, my hands are warm or at least not cold except for my thumbs. Is there gloves with more insulation for the thumb area? Or tricks you can share to keeping my thumb as toasty as the other fingers?
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Old 12-07-17, 01:12 AM   #2
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This could be caused by several things. First make sure that what ever gloves that you use are fully cleaned and dried out before you go on your ride.

I have found that the problem is generally a combination of not wearing enough on the feet and body and a lack of circulation in the hands caused from pressure from the handle bars. If your sure you are wearing enough on the rest of your body you may wish to try to tackle the hand circulation issue first.

There are several important nerves in your hands and depending on your personal anatomy your could be putting excessive pressure on one of them depending on your favorite hand position on the handle bars. If you are using mountain bike style handle bars I would recommend that you use the nice anatomical type of grips. they are more comfortable and have more surface area to support the hand so it puts less pressure on the hand. I also use long bar ends with a thick wrap of tape to put my hands in other positions to reduce hand pressure in the same spot.

Generally, cyclist want their bikes to be as light as possible so they use little bar wrap on the handlebars. This is good in hot and warm weather. But during the cold the hand needs more insulation and pressure relief from the bars. I wrap my drop type handlebars with polyurethane garage door weather striping for a super thick and padded handlebar. It works very well as it's tough and has a firm sponginess that soaks up a lot of shock and spreads out the pressure. It also insulates your hand from the cold metal handlebar.

I also have found cycling and ski gloves ineffective for really cold weather riding. Ski gloves don't work well in a constantly sweaty environment and cycling gloves are generally not heavy enough for really cold conditions. What I have done that works the best for me is to use a standard cheap single layer medium thick or thick fleece glove. You want it to be cheap and completely breathable. then you need to get a good quality ski glove or mountaineering glove shell to put over it for wind protection. You can take them apart really easy to wash the liner and the combination is really warm.

Cheap ski gloves from Walmart with the linings removed work well for the shell and will do nicely in a pinch. Make sure that all waterproof linings have been removed.

Last edited by Hezz; 12-07-17 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 12-07-17, 05:59 AM   #3
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Keep your circulation going. I regularly drop my arm to the side and totally relax it, then I shake the elbow a bit while the forearm stays totally relaxed. I find this helpful in warm or cold and relax each arm as I ride.

Good reply about hand positioning above but too much padding is a bad thing for me.

Best of luck to you,
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Old 12-07-17, 06:10 AM   #4
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Wiggle your thumbs around until they get warm.
One at a time spin your arm around like a windmill to force blood to the hand..
Ride harder. Sprint up a hill. Go full blast for a bit
Let go of the handlebars and wrap your fingers around your thumb. Keep your hands touching the bars enough to steer.
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Old 12-07-17, 10:42 AM   #5
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my hands warm up after approx 30 min of riding. but during that time it helps to be wearing something w pockets. I can alternate putting one hand in a pocket to flex it & warm it up, then the other hand. so far the best thing I wore for this is a thick fleece North Face jacket. I've also used the pockets in a thin cycling vest but it's not as good for that
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Old 12-07-17, 12:06 PM   #6
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I appreciate all the responses

Hezz - very informative response. I think circulation to the thumb is probably my biggest issue since my other fingers are ok.

]2manybikes and Paddlefoot - funny you listed all those things and yes I do all of them. I sometimes put my gloves on the heater vents to warm them up a bit before I put them on. It feels good for the first few minutes.

FWIW - I normally wear a liner and gloves and live in the DC area. Not as cold as NY but definitely not as warm as FL during winter
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Old 12-08-17, 11:59 AM   #7
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Pogies.. its like a sleeping bag over the ends of your handlebars.. Original design comes from Eskimo Arctic Ocean hunters in Kayaks.
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Old 12-08-17, 01:43 PM   #8
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On level, straight stretches, I've had success tucking my thumbs under my palms to get them out of the wind.
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Old 12-08-17, 02:36 PM   #9
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+2 for pogies.
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