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How To Keep Your Hands Warm During Winter Cycling

Updated on January 31, 2013
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. A keen cyclist, runner, and obstacle racer who ran his first ultra-marathon in 2016.

Winter cycling is a great opportunity to explore- If you can keep your hands warm!
Winter cycling is a great opportunity to explore- If you can keep your hands warm! | Source

Keeping your hands warm while cycling in cold conditions can be a challenge

Cycling in the winter can be a huge amount of fun- If you can keep your hands and feet warm.

Whether you're commuting in to work on a cold winters morning or out for a few hours in the local hills as part of your training program you need to make sure you're wearing the right clothing and putting the right strategies in place to ensure that you can squeeze those brake levers or flick that lever to change gear.

Winter cycling can be great fun- but not with uncomfortable,cold hands so this guide will assess how you can help to protect your hands from the cold during winter cycling.

Fingerless gloves won't help keep your hands warm

The fingerless cycling gloves that many people use for cycling in the summer months are great when the temperature drops as your fingers are at risk when it gets cold.

You can still consider using your trusty fingerless gloves when it starts to get cooler if you use a lightweight glove underneath. However the likelihood is that this will not provide the required warmth for winter cycling if temperatures drop to freezing levels.

Fingerless gloves don't offer cold weather protection

fingerless cycling gloves leave your fingers exposed to the elements in winter
fingerless cycling gloves leave your fingers exposed to the elements in winter | Source

Get the right winter cycling gloves to keep your hands warm

Too often you see commuter cyclists riding to work in the depths of winter with a pair of traditional woollen gloves. Traditional woolen gloves offer good levels of warmth however when you wear them for cycling you will find that your hands will be exposed to cold winds which can cut through the wool to cool your hands and rain which will negatively affect the insulating properties of the wool.

Wool gloves are fine when the weather starts to cool down however will likely not provide significant protection when winter really hits.

Consider a windproof winter cycling glove to block out the cold

A cycling glove with a windproof membrane will block out the cold currents of air that you experience while cycling in cold weather. Couple this with insulating properties means that your hands can be potentially kept warm and protected from icy winds.

Windproof winter cycling gloves are often susceptible to the rain so windproof cycling gloves are often best used on cold, dry days.

Waterproof winter cycling gloves can be very versatile

These BTwin gloves from Decathlon are waterproof and very warm with an additional zip for ventilation
These BTwin gloves from Decathlon are waterproof and very warm with an additional zip for ventilation | Source

Waterproof winter cycling gloves can be very versatile

If you live in a climate that often experiences wet winter weather you really should consider a pair of waterproof winter cycling gloves to provide the protection required in an attempt to combat cold, wet weather.

Waterproof cycling gloves often feature a waterproof membrane layer within the glove itself. This often means that waterproof cycling gloves keep heat inside well when they're combined with a layer of internal insulation.

What to consider if your winter cycling glove don't keep your hands warm enough

If you're using the right kind of winter cycling gloves already but still suffer with cold hands while cycling you can consider wearing a thin liner glove underneath your regular winter gloves.

The inner gloves are light and thin so easily fit underneath a regular set of cycling gloves to give additional warmth to the wearer. They're vesatile enough to use on their own or with a pair of fingerless mitts over the top when the temperatures are just a little below optimal.

A lightweight inner cycling glove should be made from either a silk or wicking polyester yarn to wick away moisture from the skin to keep it dry, and an insulating layer to trap air between for additional hand warmth in the same manner as layering your upper body layers for warmth

Alternately- Consider some lobster-style mitts if you really feel the cold

Lobster style cycling mitts (or split finger mitten gloves) are a cross between regular fingered gloves and traditional mittens. Traditional mittens limit your finger dexterity as you'll struggle to pull at those brake levers and change gear. A double 'claw' approach allows for additional dexterity while maintaining more warmth than traditional fingered cycling gloves to help keep those hands warm while you ride.

How do you keep your hands warm for winter bicycling?

Please let us know in the comments below- especially if you use a technique not shown here.



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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks drpennypincher. I can't understand when you see someone without gloves on as the cold can cause big problems long term

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      For early spring riding, cold hands are the biggest problem for me. Wearing gloves in 30 to 40 degree weather makes a big difference. I can see why you would want specialized gloves if you are riding in colder weather.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks for the comments

      @sean- thanks for the comment. Winter riders are a little crazy but from the magic comes a sense of logic

      @dan- its amazing what those lobster gloves can do for extra warmth.

      Thanks both for your comments

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 5 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      I use to ride my bike all winter long and my hands were always a problem with getting cold. Finally I went to a lobster mit with a silk-weight glove liner and it kept my fingers toasty warm, even on longer rides.

      Nice Hub CF!

    • Sean Evans profile image

      Sean Evans 5 years ago from GTA

      Winter cycling is crazy! I'm just being jealous really. I work with a few people who ride in the winter. When it gets -10 here and they are still at it. Takes dedication that is for sure.

      Hats off to those who do though and nice hub CyclingFitness