People who enjoy cycling usually want to partake of their favorite sport in the cold weather months. However, staying warm can be a challenge, especially when it comes to hands and toes. Depending on where you live, a cycling trip on a cold winter day can mean rain, mud, wind, ice, and freezing temperatures. Here are a few ways to stay warm so you can keep up your cycling skills all year long.
Prevent Cold Hands and Cold Feet with Smart Layers
Staying warm begins with smart layering. You will need to protect your body to keep the cold wind and precipitation out while keeping heat in. In addition, you want breathable layers so your own body moisture escapes instead of staying against your skin. Consider the following options.
1. Focus on Core Heat
Your body won’t be able to warm your extremities while it is struggling to figure out how to keep your core warm. When you are cold, your circulatory system actually shunts blood away from hands and feet to vital organs. Keeping your core warm and dry is an essential step in the fight to prevent cold hands and cold toes. Wear several layers of breathable material like polar fleece, and then a waterproof layer on top if it is raining or snowing.
2. Choose the Right Full Finger Cycling Gloves
Many people reach for ski gloves or mittens before a winter ride, but this is not the best strategy. These gloves are often not enough to keep up the wind. When you combine the steady cold wind with the fact that these gloves don’t breathe, you’ll be left with wet and cold hands. Cycling gloves are meant to let moisture evaporate while keeping out wind. They even come with temperature ratings to make it easy to choose the best ones for your climate.
3. Many Thin Layers Beat One Large One
This basic rule of staying warm is even more relevant to cycling. More layers will trap more air, which will trap more heat. Generally you want to start with a thin layer that wicks moisture away and then add as many as you need to feel comfortable. The base layer is important because it will keep your sweat and natural moisture from turning to ice. Choose socks with this principle in mind to prevent cold toes. You can even get base layers that go under your gloves for an added layer of warmth.
4. Go Big
Many people choose gloves that fit them like, well, a glove. This isn’t the best choice for winter cycling. Air is a better insulator than the glove itself, so choose one size bigger than normal. In addition, tight garments reduce circulation and make it harder for your body to warm hands and toes. Just make sure there is an adjustable strap at the wrist or other way to tighten the glove so it doesn’t fall off. The same principle applies to socks for similar reasons; you want good air flow and also to leave enough room for layering.
Cold Weather Hacks and Tips for How to Prevent Cold Hands and Cold Feet
In addition to layering, there are a few other tips on how to stay warm while cycling in the wind and cold. Consider the following tried and true solutions.
1. Pre-Warm Your Gloves and Shoes
If your hands are cold at the beginning of a trip, they will be freezing just a few minutes in. Warm your gear before leaving by placing it near a heater or even putting disposable chemical handwarmers inside.
2. Use Anti-Chafing Products
Anti-chafing products are a winter cycling necessity for a few reasons. First, the amount of layers involved can lead to more chafing, so prevention is essential. Second, they actually provide another layer of protection against wind and cold. Many cyclists are surprised at how much this step helps. Make sure you read the instructions on how to properly apply, as this is crucial to the product’s effectiveness. pjuractive 2SKIN is the innovation of skin protection against chafing and blistering. Just test it!
3. Leave No Skin Exposed
An uncovered ankle or wrist can quickly leave you with cold hands and cold feet. Cover your legs, arms, and every inch of skin possible to keep in as much heat as possible. While it seems like common sense, many people forget this basic step in how to stay warm.
4. Tape Handwarmers to Gloves and Shoes
Chemical handwarmers add an extra layer of heat. While you cannot fit them inside your gloves and cycling shoes, you can tape them to the tops of your hands and feet with scotch tape to prevent cold hands and cold toes. Disposable handwarmers are inexpensive and last for several hours, enough to prevent cold feet and cold hands over a five hour ride.
Nothing can ruin a nice ride like freezing fingers and toes. With these tips, you should be able to enjoy winter cycling in comfort and warmth. There is no need to get cold feet about cycling in cold weather as long as you plan ahead and have the right gear.
Do you have more tips to avoid cold hands and feet? Share them in the community below.