I’ve long been particularly susceptible to cold hands. Even a short ride to work on a not particularly cold day can leave me in a decent amount of discomfort. Last weekend’s ride was a new (temperature) low for my poor icy paws, and it sent me in search of a solution.

The last couple of winters I’ve been riding with Sealskin’s Extra Cold Winter Gloves (see my review here). With these and a liner glove I’ve been just about okay on most days.

Andy Hampsten recreating my ride



Dysfunctional Digits

Last Sunday wasn’t okay. The temperature with windchill was about 2 below 0 Celsius. Five miles in and my hands were beginning to hurt. For the next 55 miles it was either sleeting or snowing. About halfway done and my hands were extremely sore. By 10 miles from home they barely functioned. I couldn’t shift up onto the big ring and struggled to brake and grip the bars.

By home my fingers were so useless/painful I couldn’t get my key from my pocket, let alone use it to open the door. Thankfully, my wife heard my knock and came to the rescue.

I’m man enough to admit that as my hands slowly warmed the pain was so intense I broke down in tears.

Emigration or Amputation

A pitiful situation you’ll agree, and one that requires a solution beyond amputation/emigration to warmer climes.

Googling a solution to cold hands caused by poor circulation let to an article suggesting that hand exercises might be the key: an increase in muscle will lead to an increase in blood supply.

A glove within a glove within a glove

I’ll give that a shot. In the meantime I need a shorter-term fix. Step forward disposable latex gloves. I’m going to try these as a sub-liner beneath my liner, inside my Sealskin gloves and hope they do two things: one, keep the rain/snow completely out, and two, make my hands sweat (should there be sufficient internal heat to do so).

Will either fix work? Hopefully, or it’s amputation/emigration for me.

UPDATE: I’ve since had a few short (just) sub-zero rides to/from work and it appears that emigration is still on the cards. My thumbs in particular get really painful within a few miles. I guess that hoping the latex gloves will cause my hands to sweat will only work if my hands are sufficiently active to perspire.

Long-term I’ll work on the exercises and aim for emigration. Short term I’ve been trying to heat my hands up whilst riding by moving and flexing my fingers and thumbs. So, if you see a cyclist riding around Edinburgh who looks like a trainee mime artist then give me a wave.