Cold Fingers: It Snow Joke

SealSkin Gloves
It Snow Joke

Its been more than 24 hours since I returned from my ride and my fingers still tingle from a horrible experience on my Sunday morning ride.

I’ve had cold hands before but never this cold and absolutely never since buying/wearing a set of SealSkinz winter cycling gloves. So what happened?

It was cold yesterday, there’s no doubt about that but I have been out in colder weather recently – my trip to North Wales was bitterly cold. Was the so called “wind chill factor” that bad yesterday? Or have my gloves “worn out”?

Best practice is to put warm hands into your gloves, as with a sleeping bag, warmth generated from within is the only way you will stay warm.  I may have been a bit slack with some faffing about and did stop early on to check a meeting time on Facebook as I thought I was late.  But I didn’t think my hands were out of the gloves long enough for any real cold to set it.

After about 30 mins of pedaling I started to feel a bit queezy – I thought I had pushed myself hard up our first climb and maybe exerted myself too much, but as we stopped for a breather I began to feel really ill.  I opted to leave the gang and turn around and return home, a mostly road ride of around 5 miles.

By the time I got home I had stopped 3 times, started to feel faint and began to lose all feeling in my fingers. I could no longer feel the shifter or the brakes, making riding a very odd and slightly dangerous experience as I was grabbing brakes fully rather than feathering or modulating in anyway.

It took around an hour before I could touch anything and during that time I was in excruciating pain. If I had been silly and not worn my winter gloves I could understand but these gloves have been fantastic for 4 years and worked fine up until now. I should add the rest of me, including toes and torso were absolutely fine.

So this post has two purposes:

  1. A reminder to make sure you wear sensible winter cycling clothing
  2. And to ask “is it possible for my gloves to have stopped insulating my fingers?”

If you have any glove recommendations, similar stories or any thoughts on why my gloves simply didn’t work yesterday please comment below.

Endura Deluge Overshoes

Endura Deluge Overshoes

Endura Deluge Overshoe

I may have looked like a lost scuba diver today out on the Witshire downs but my feet were dry and warm.

The last few weekend outings on the hardtail with the Shimano SPDs and the Specialized Primo shoes have resulted in a cold feet. While the SealSkinz socks have kept my feet dry the sock and shoe has managed to hold plenty of cold water and this has meant my feet were encased for much of my ride in freezing water. This week I bought a few new Endura items to keep the cold at bay.

Endura Deluge Overshoe / Merino Socks

I decided to ditch the SealSkinz today and put my faith in the advice form my LBS ( of Marlborough) and Endura. The BaaBaa Merino double thickness socks had already been put to use yesterday when I went to our local Christmas lights switching on and had to walk and stand around in the cold for a few hours. But a few hours on the bike was going to be the real test – and they stood up well to the task at hand.

As a rider who prefers to wear baggie shorts and flat shoes I won’t deny thinking I looked a bit silly with the overshoes on, but after a damp, cold ride today I am more than happy to wear them now knowing they serve a very good purpose. The combination kept my feet warm by keeping the freezing water away from my socks and shoes and insulating against the cold sub zero wind chill. The current trend is to have a one piece construction removing the weakness of velcro or zippers. This means they are a little more water tight but it is tough to stretch them over your shoes. It was all worth it though as once they were peeled off at the end of the ride (as you can see below) the shoes underneath were still dry. This was £28 well spent as it no only kept my feet warm and dry, it will also prolong the life of my shoes.

Endura Deluge / Specialized Primo

If you ride clipless (still don’t fully understand that term) then I would totally recommend you try overshoes for wet and wintery rides.

Here’s the specs from Endura:

  • High Stretch fabrics provide zipperless access
  • Superstretch waterproof thermal neoprene upper heel/cuff
  • Tough Nylon faced neoprene upper front
  • Reflective logos on heel/toe area
  • Reflective heel pull tab for easy access
  • MTB and Road Cleat compatible sole
  • Stretch abrasion resistant sole/heel