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etw 12-31-13 11:54 AM

Frozen fingers
Perhaps someone has some tips or suggestions for me. I have real problems with cold fingers. I think it may be a circulation issue. Sometimes I can be sitting indoors in a warm room and my fingers are like ice. Cycling in temperatures that are not too cold (40's) my fingers are often numb. Today I went out when it was in the upper teens/low 20's and needed to turn back after a few miles because my fingers were throbbing in pain.

I have tried a number of gloves and combinations of gloves. Today I had on Specialized lobster gloves which have a liner and I added a chemical heat pack inside. I have a number of other gloves and combinations as well as bar mitts and always pretty much have the same result. I was layered up really well and the rest of my body was toasty. My toes were a little chilly, but not bad.

I'll probably end up selling off some of these items and keep searching until I find a good solution, but am running out of ideas. I don't know if I need to find the right combination or something different. I have considered trying heated gloves, but they are pretty pricey. I would consider them if it would work.

prooftheory 12-31-13 12:26 PM

Mittens would let you keep the chemical heat pack closer to the finger tips, which seems to be where your problem is.

Altair 4 12-31-13 12:32 PM

Maybe Reynaud's Syndrome? Given that your fingers are icy while you are in a warm room, I'd think a visit to your doctor may be in order. Starting from that cold hands/warm room baseline, it doesn't seem likely that you will find a glove that will keep you warm in cold weather. If it were me, I'd get it checked out by a doctor.

bikemig 12-31-13 12:38 PM

I have problems with cold fingers as well. I have no issues with the cold in general but my hands really suffer. I've been doing pretty well so far with my Pearl Izumi lobster gloves. But these pogies look good: I like the idea of oversized mittens attached to your handlebars.

ThermionicScott 12-31-13 05:29 PM

How about your arms/torso? If they're not insulated enough, your hands will freeze. With a merino base layer, long-sleeved T-shirt, and my windbreaker, my hands will sweat in lobster claws if it's over 10F.

I agree with @Altair 4 that this may be something to bring up with your doctor.

etw 12-31-13 06:47 PM


Originally Posted by Altair 4 (Post 16370425)
Maybe Reynaud's Syndrome? Given that your fingers are icy while you are in a warm room, I'd think a visit to your doctor may be in order. Starting from that cold hands/warm room baseline, it doesn't seem likely that you will find a glove that will keep you warm in cold weather. If it were me, I'd get it checked out by a doctor.

Recently I have read a little about Raynaud's and thought that may be a possibility. I'll have to find out more about it.

To answer ThermionicScott: my arms and torso were very toasty and in fact, a little too warm.

swwhite 12-31-13 07:45 PM

I second (or third) the doctor idea, if your hands are cold indoors. However, I do have a couple thoughts.

I myself find gloves ineffective below around 32 degrees, which is where I switch to mittens, so if you haven't tried mittens you haven't maxed-out the hand wear options.

As for which mittens, I discovered the following combination somewhat by accident.

A relative alerted me to Ice Armor 150-gram thinsulate mittens which seem to be intended for snowmobile use. They go up the wrist a bit and tighten around the hand. By themselves they are rather warm, but probably not good enough for you. However, I have made a "special modification." (By the way, they also have zippered slots on the backs for hand warmers, which I don't use.)

Some years ago, my brother who is handy with a sewing machine, made some mittens for my daughter to wear while standing around outside at high school ski meets. There was an inner mitten, and then a larger outer mitten made out of black fleece on the palm side and fake tiger fur on the back side (the school emblem was a tiger). They were long enough to go almost up to the elbow. That outer fake fur mitten was large enough to go over the inner mitten and therefore too large to wear by itself. However, what I tried to do is don that fake fur outer mitten by itself and then stuff the mittened hand inside the Ice Armor mitten. In other words, I have an inner liner for the Ice Armor mitten, made of fake fur, and enough fake fur to stuff inside the Ice Armor mitten and take up a lot of the excess space. For some reason, that fake fur liner inside the Ice Armor mitten is really warm, warm enough for me to be reasonably comfortable at below-zero temperatures. The liner mitten is long enough to go up the arm almost to the elbow, so it also covers up the jacket-mitten boundary and adds a layer of fabric on the arm.

So, if you have the time and a needle and thread, you could try making prototype mitten liners out of fake fur to see if you get similar results. It might not work for you, but it would not cost a lot of money to try it.

kookaburra1701 01-01-14 04:50 AM

Another vote for mittens. My hands are comfortable in my handknit wool mittens until 32F/0C, and then I add on waterproof thinsulate mittens over them. I rode through -10F/-22C temps earlier this month, and my hands were actually sweating.

Kai Winters 01-01-14 07:47 AM

I use a pair of thin liners then my thick winter gloves.
I also change my hand positions on the bike every thirty seconds or so, move my fingers like I'm squeezing a ball and put as little pressure on the bars as I can.
My hands will get cold and uncomfortable after a mile or so and within another mile or so they will warm up using the above methods.

I don't like gloves though the lobsters aren't too bad but haven't used them in years.
I've used the chemical hand warmers and find them to work well...some hunter's gloves and mittens have pockets in them to hold the may want to look in the hunting dept at a local big box store like Gander's, etc.
Make sure the outer gloves are windproof...if they aren't keeping that cold wind out you won't ever warm up.

Good luck and keep us informed...frozen extremities really suck.

kookaburra1701 01-01-14 07:55 AM

Something I just thought of - have you tried wrapping your brake levers (assuming they are metal) with Coban or something? I've found that no matter how much insulation on my fingers I have, if they are against bare metal they start feeling cold after about 5 minutes. I have no idea why wrapping the levers works when adding way thicker insulation to my hand coverings doesn't but there you go.

Lobster gloves are good for giving the "Live Long and Prosper" salute to friendly motorists.

etw 01-01-14 08:30 AM


Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 (Post 16372447)
Lobster gloves are good for giving the "Live Long and Prosper" salute to friendly motorists.

Yes, and for those cyclists who are frustrated with the motorists, it prevents you from giving the one-fingered salute! :lol:

Thanks for the idea.

duckbill 01-03-14 09:02 AM

After suffering with Reynaud's for many years, I finally bit the bullet and bought electric gloves. Many examples out there with many claims but I settled on these:

balto charlie 01-03-14 09:35 AM

Mittens for sure
Thin liners, silk or wool then some
Dachstein boiled wool liners
Then a pair of
gore-tex shell mittens

Make sure they are not too tight. Warmth is more easily achieved when there is a little wiggle room.

Gonzo Bob 01-03-14 03:31 PM

Here's a tip that works for me when my core is warm but my fingertips are cold: windmill your arms (one at a time) about 10 times or so to get warm blood back into your fingertips.

lesdunham 01-03-14 07:43 PM

I use neoprene gloves and they help quite a bit. Just careful when it warms up or if your hands sweat, they do not breathe well at all. Also keep your core warm with another layer maybe even out onto your arms. Your body will draw blood flow to keep the core warm if it too cool. I know lots of people who use the lobster mittens too and they seem to like them.

RRRoubaix 01-04-14 11:01 AM

A subject near and dear to my heart- I have Reynaud's Syndrome and have battled cold feet and hands for years.
Yep, I have poor circulation and cool/cold hands and feet even in the summertime.
Most of the advice that has been given probably won't do you much good if you have Reynaud's.
You probably should check w/ you doctor- but if you do have Reynaud's, understand that they can't do anything for you.

For me, it's been lots and lots of experimentation. Be prepared to buy lots and lots of gloves, socks and boots until you find a combo that will somewhat work for you.
You'll be wearing much heavier gloves/boots than your fellow cyclists on rides, so just accept that.
The coldest I'll cycle in is 25-30f and I'll wear my Lake boots (think Frankenstein's boots) and wool liners inside my Specicalized mitts.
Even then, my ride time must be limited to about 2 hours.
Also, I tend to do more MTB'ing in the winter, since you work more of your body and have less wind chill than road riding, so I definitely keep warmer.

BROOKLINEBIKER 01-07-14 07:26 AM

I have Raynaud's as well. It is horrible in winter. Have a vascular specialist prescribe Nifipedipine (sp?). It will give you head rushes due to lowered blood pressure but helps quite a bit. Rheumatism, smoking, food allergies, and anything inflammatory to the body will make Raynaud's much worse. Try to warm your core when cycling to the point you feel like you will sweat that helps.

ironwood 01-07-14 09:12 AM

There is a piece of folk wisdom which says "if your hands are cold, put on a hat." I know there has been some science that says it isn't true, but it seems that the basic idea is. Keeping your core temperature up is most important. The first places the body will stop sending warm blood are the extremities, your fingers and toes, because they are expendable.
How are you dressed otherwise? As far as your fingers being cold inside while stting, maybe you should get up and move. Sitting is the new smoking.
When I was a ski instructor we used to tell people with cold fingers to swing their arms in big circles so the the centifugal force would push blood to the fingers.

Leebo 01-07-14 10:06 AM

Tried barmitts?

jrickards 01-07-14 10:26 AM

I got some nice lobster overmitts for Christmas and shortly after, the weather turned really cold (-34–36C, not including windchill). I wore these on those days and found that my fingers got really cold and wondered if the fact that the cuffs on the lobster overmitts were really tight was the cause. After wearing them for a few days, the cuffs have loosened up and my hands are comfortable. This relates to the conversation in that if there is constriction, this will limit blood flow and cause you to get colder. You want looseness to all of your clothes to allow for air pockets and to allow easy blood flow.

etw 01-07-14 10:28 AM

I have tried Bar Mitts. Even on a day where it was not that cold, fingers were still icy. For that reason I will likely sell them and try other options. (anyone need a set?)

I have been on some recent rides or out shoveling snow and found that my core can be warm to the point of sweating, even my arms and hands are perspiring, yet my fingers will still be uncomfortably cold, which is why I posed this question.

I appreciate everyones responses and I will continue to try the suggestions to find what will be best for me.

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