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.

SealSkinz – All Weather Cycle Gloves

SealSkinz - All Weather Cycle Gloves

I don’t normally feel the cold; but 2 years ago on one very crisp and frosty February morning I felt the cold like never before! My core temperature and limbs were fine thanks to a good wicking base layer and the usual central heating generated by a bike ride. But my fingers and toes were numb beyond belief. Holding the cold bars, pulling on cold shifters and break levers coupled with the freezing wind generated by my forward movement meant my hands and fingers in particular were subjected to sub zero temperatures that I hadn’t thought possible and it hurt!

If this sounds a little dramatic its supposed to. Do not take the cold lightly! By the time I got home (on a ride I cut very short) I was close to tears – yes at 40 years old I felt like crying because my hands were cold! I felt sick and I couldn’t touch anything let alone rub my hands together to warm them like I have been telling my kids to do on cold Bonfire nights.

You clicked on the link to read a review and this is a review of sorts – I’m almost there. It took hours for the life to come back into my fingertips and a few more for the tingling to stop altogether, never again was I going to let this happen. I needed gloves that were going to provide thermal protection and wouldn’t allow water (snow or rain) in so I went shopping that afternoon.

Now I wear SealSkinz cycling gloves and the above experience is but a memory. The gloves provide great protection against the elements and my hands are now toasty and warm during Winter rides. They have cycling specific rubber patches for grip on wet brake levers and with a velcro wrist strap they seal in the heat and fit snug. They don’t have much in the way of padding on the palm or heel to provide any of the impact support, but for me Winter riding is firstly about staying warm and these do the job perfectly.