There's no reason to let a little cold weather get in the way of your daily commute, and thankfully cycling brands agree. With lighter, thinner and warmer fabric technology on the market, you can ride comfortably and warm without that layered up Michelin man feel.
When riding in the cold, the first parts of your body to suffer its bitter wrath are the head, hands and feet. Your working body will take care of your core temperature, but your extremities are what can let you down. As soon as they go numb and start to ache, it's game over and time to go home.
Your hands are one of the main contact points you have with your bike, so it's important to take good care of them. Keeping them in an ideal riding position, and ensuring your hands are warm and dry is key to a comfortable ride.
Fortunately, there are a number of thermal winter gloves on the market which keep your hands toasty and protected against the harsh elements. While winter gloves can help you grip your bars, aid feeling in your hands and prevent frostbite, these cumbersome hand prisons are good for little else.
Using your phone
A mobile phone has become a ride essential for many cyclists. Whether you use your phone for proving your ride actually took place with a detailed Strava report, or perhaps you're a snap-o-holic (like me) who has to document every picturesque moment, with the occasional selfie here and there.
While some gloves are touch-screen compatible, others aren't. It's not just using the screen either, but handling your mobile phone becomes a lot more stressful. Ensuring you cradle your phone ever so carefully, just in case it slips from your clumsy wadded hand and cracks on the floor.
Keys are probably the hardest things to find when you're wearing thick winter gloves. Typically, they're usually hiding in some far to reach crevasse in the bottom of your bag as well.
It happens, and sometimes for no reason whatsoever. Your face opens up and within a few minutes of riding, your eyes and nose are streaming.
Some gloves incorporate a lovely microfibre "snot rag" on the back of the thumb for such a thing. However, winter gloves are often constructed from a thicker and more resistant fabric so when you go to wipe at your leaking face, rather than absorbing anything, it smears in further - gross.
Rogue flyaway hair
Braid it, tie it, or wear a cycling cap. It doesn't matter because somehow a rogue hair will plaster itself across your face and worm it's way into your mouth.
Rather than delicately locating and removing said hair, you find yourself swiping at your face with your big glove hand whilst pulling some rather dashing gurns before giving up, or chewing through it.
A disaster puncture occurs - quelle horreur!
Your toasty gloved sausage fingers really don't want to come out of their insulated jacket to deal with this, so you persevere. Removing dust caps with your winter gloves on turns into a high-pressured game of Operation. Not to mention the dirt and mess you'll get all over yourself as well.
Forget about it.
It's important to get your helmet on and fastened before putting on your winter gloves, because adjusting your helmet later on will be a chore.
Straps get twisted, they're difficult to grasp and the ratchet wheel at the back will be hard to locate and turn when your hands are locked up in comfort.
Have you tried taking them off and on again?
Winter gloves tend to have insulating and thermal properties so the heat can be kept in, and the wind and cold kept out.
Of course working up a sweat on the bike can sometimes lead to sweaty hands. Peeling off your gloves may seem like a fine idea to cool them down, but putting the sweaty cold gloves back on is a wiggly unpleasant mission.
You want to lock up/unlock your bike as quickly as possible, and wearing winter gloves won't let you be that efficient.
More keys to fumble and find, along with the threading and looping of cables has you questioning how attached you really are to your bike.
While winter gloves can be cumbersome, hot and sweaty, they sure do keep your hands warm, but more importantly, they keep you pedalling.
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