As I mentioned in my last blog, my ride yesterday was cold. Like, really cold. And remember that cold on a bike ride isn’t like cold on a run or hike.

That’s because you’re also creating your own wind as you ride. You don’t heat up nearly as fast as you do when running or something else that’s slower.

In addition, my hands and feet can get frigid and go numb easily in cold weather. Not so much the rest of me, but when that happens, the ride ends. (Yeah, I’m getting older. This is a remark you’ll hear more than once from me).

It hovered near freezing for my ride, which meant I had to break out my ultra-cold-weather gear. Here’s the whole kit laid out:

Cold weather riding gear

It’s a bunch of stuff.

Here’s me, ready to ride:

Keith cold weather

Am I riding a bike or going skiing? Hard to tell, eh? As Ralphie Parker might say, I look like a tick about to pop.

Anyway, I have a couple of tips for keeping hands and feet warm on winter rides, and thought you might find them useful.

Hand Gloves

I wear the equivalent of these Pearl Izumi winter gloves (they don’t have my specific model in stock, but this is close enough.) If your hands get extra-cold, like mine do, consider a glove liner as well (these are very thin gloves you can wear under a thicker pair.

Also consider something like this pair of lobster gloves. I find them to be even warmer than the above pair. Shifting and braking don’t work as well for me, though, so I rarely wear them.

Warming Your Feet

Keeping my feet warm is a much more difficult chore. I’ve tried lots of solutions over the years, and here’s what works best for me.

  • Regular road shoes
  • Wool socks (I like Woolie-Boolies, but any thick wool socks will work).
  • Shoe covers. These go over your cycling shoe, blocking the wind and insulating your feet. For me, they’re indispensable. I wear Grip-Grab covers, the yellow ones for visibility.
  • Even with those items, however, my feet would still go numb within a half hour. Then I discovered my secret weapon: HotHands Toe Warmers. Slap one of those over my sock (don’t put them on your skin!!), up near my toes. Voila! Warm tootsies for the ride.

(Full disclosure: I don’t have any financial relationship with any vendors mentioned here. I just use what I like).

Then an insulated cap or balaclava, depending on how cold it is, and I’m comfy for the whole ride. I did almost 90 minutes yesterday, and never felt myself wishing I was by a toasty fire

That’s what works for me, anyway. If you have your own bag of cold-weather riding tricks, let me know in the comments, so I and others can get the benefit of your wisdom and experience.