How To Keep Your Hands & Feet Warm | GCN’s Pro Tips

How To Keep Your Hands & Feet Warm | GCN’s Pro Tips


– A common question among cyclists is how to keep your
hands and your feet warm when you’re riding in cold weather, but the answer is coming up, a result of some hard-earned lessons and indeed, some handy hints. See what I did there? So why do we get cold
hands and cold feet, eh? The first point is that
the windchill when we ride is much, much higher than
if we’re walking or running because the speeds are higher, the wind blows over our bodies, and it cools us down. And then of course, there are also times we’re actually not really
exerting ourselves. Now, that’s certainly
not the case right now as I’m riding half up a mountain, but when you get to the top and
descend down the other side, I’m effectively gonna stop pedalling and, to make it worse, the windchill is gonna get significantly higher. In order to keep warm,
my body is gonna keep all the blood flow around my core and neglect my poor extremities. So what do we do about it then? Well, so like with your
hands, the simple answer is just to put on a pair of gloves, but doing that doesn’t guarantee
that you will get warm hands. You need to put a little bit more thought and a bit more planning into it, and certainly, investing
in a cycling-specific pair of gloves is a very good idea because although normal gloves
might get your hands warm, of crucial importance is being able to hold on to your handlebars,
change gear, and brake. So what are the options? What should we buy? We mentioned the effect
of windchill earlier on, so if you are buying just one
pair of winter-cycling gloves, make sure they’re made
out of windproof material, certainly on the back of the glove, but I think over the whole glove itself. That is gonna, of
course, protect your hand from the chilling effect of the wind and it’s also gonna do
so with minimal bulk so you maintain that all-important
control over the bike. Now as the temperature
plummets, you will, of course, need to add some insulation
to the mix as well, so a layer underneath
that windproof barrier is gonna keep your hand warm. There is also the opportunity
to layer your gloves. So just like with any
other part of your body, you could wear a thinner pair of gloves underneath your thicker pair of gloves and then really, really
cold-weather gloves will actually have your fingers
in the same compartments, so like a lobster effect,
and while that’s not ideal for riding, it certainly
better than a mitten and if you’ve got no other
option, if it’s that cold, then they are absolutely great. However, if the weather
is like it is today, why, a little bit damp, then you
want a different glove again. So one is that is waterproof, or indeed, one that is made out of neoprene, so that’s like a wetsuit material. It is not waterproof, but
it keeps your hand warm when it’s wet by using that
water as an insulative layer between your hand and the glove. But what you’ve got to bear
in mind with these is that your hand needs to be warm
before you actually put it on. Otherwise, you’ll just get colder. Having the right gloves, though, will not guarantee you having warm hands. We also need to think about
keeping our bodies warm and our arms warm as
well because that way, we’re keeping that blood flowing
down into our extremities. So again, choosing something
with windproof fabric is gonna help protect your arms. It doesn’t have to be a
dedicated cycling jersey. Even just a waterproof
jacket is gonna do that job really, really well. And then, there’s also
the question of effort. So long, steady rides in cold weather are really hard to keep warm during and so actually maybe you need to think about riding in a slightly different way. So going out riding shorter, but harder, and that way, you will stay warmer still. So what about feet then? Having cold feet is absolutely grim, but fortunately, there are
some easy and inexpensive ways that we have. The obvious one being overshoes, so literally, an article of
clothing that goes over the top of your sock and shoe,
blocking out the wind and keeping not just your
foot, most of your ankle, nice and toasty. There are loads of different
types on the market, from thin ones that are there
purely for aerodynamics; to windproof ones, neoprene ones, right up to warm, insulated
fleecy lined ones. Now just like with gloves,
there is an optimum overshoe for seemingly every
temperature, but unlike gloves, actually, I think you can
get away with just one, really thick, warm pair. So I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from hot feet particularly, and nor do you have the
problem of losing control over your bike. The only downside of thick overshoes is they make your feet look a little bit big. Now, why overshoe and not under-sock? Well, to get a same amount
of insulation as a sock, it’s gonna need to be really thick meaning your shoe can then
end up being really tight and that’ll mean that
actually the circulation to your foot ends up being restricted, so actually, despite
having that insulation, you get a correspondingly colder foot, so it’s much better to layer
over the top of your shoes. Now, you can’t argue with
the fact that an overshoe is probably the best combination
of value and function but you may well find that
a dedicated winter booty is a great investment. So there’s no mesh, no
ventilation, it’s just a waterproof and warm shoe, great for
really cold conditions but also great if you spend
any time getting off your bike and walking, which is an activity
that will make right work of an overshoe. Now before we leave the
issue of feet for good, we need hand over to my esteemed colleague for one particularly infamous pro-tip. Thanks very much Si, This is a technique that
I’ve been using for years to keep my feet warm in
the depths of winter. Get some decent-quality foil,
simply wrap your foot in them, over your sock, fit your
shoe, push your shoe over your befoiled socked
foot, tighten things up, and there we go. Make like a jacket potato. – So what do we need to remember then, to banish numb hands and numb feet? Well, first you need to think
about the type of riding that you do, so shorter,
harder rides are likely to leave you with warmer hands and feet than longer, slower rides. Then it’s not just about
wrapping up your extremities, remember, it’s also about
keeping your torso warm, your arms warm, and your legs warm. When it does come to protecting
those hands and feet though bear in mind windproof fabric for gloves that are worth their weight in gold and then also the concept of an overshoe, completely bizarre to non-cyclists but once you’ve tried them,
you will never go back. Now do make you subscribe to
GCN for leaving this video. To do so, just click on the globe and if you want some more content, we’ve got how to dress for
riding in the mountains, including a hack to keep
your hands warm this time. That’s definitely worth a watch. Or some for some winter riding
tips, click just down there.