We did our first big ride of the autumn as a family last weekend – 28 miles on the mountain bikes. Unfortunately this also coincided with the first really cold day of the autumn. As we were riding with our 9 year old, there were occasions when we just couldn’t go as fast as we would have done on our own. I particularly suffered from cold hands and feet and the others weren’t best prepared. We decided it was time to get advice from our friends in the bike business.
We asked Backcountry Bikes, Mikes Bikes, Go Where and our own local ladies mountain biking club, PetalPower for their help:
“Mmmm. It’s a tricky thing and many people have a bunch of ideas around it. It’s useful to look at why it happens. 1. your touching/gripping great big lumps of metal, that’s effectively a heat sink 2. as you move through the air the air whips away heat add moisture to that (sweat or rain) it happens 20 times quicker. 3. what the state of the rest of your body temperature? if you core’s chilling your body will react and protect the core by drawing blood away from your extremities.
Things you can do…
1. insulate from the heat sinks, silicone grips on the bars silicone covers on brake levers, bigger shoes (windproof is ideal if not block mesh up with gaffer tape/or loosely wrapping your forefoot in tin foil) with nice wool socks and plenty of space to wiggle in…
2. pogies on the bars ( check out what pogies are on my site or look at hotpog on the internet) manage moisture, by not working to hard that you sweat or having a number of liner gloves to change as they start to get wet.
3. your hands and feet are relatively static while riding, so stop get off the bike and do something to get blood moving, have a pre ride routine to encourage the whole body warm up, think about fueling the body so it has plenty to go around, ‘warm head warm hands'”
Andy from Backcountry.scot – Backcountry.scot specialise in bikepacking and packrafting. They run trips and sell the essential gear you’d need to head off on your own.
“We swear by Sealskinz waterproof socks (along with a thin pair of Point 6 merino socks when it’s v.cold) and their gloves are ace too: https://www.sealskinz.com/m/by-activity/mountain-biking” Go Where Scotland
The Sealskinz socks are also highly recommended by Cycling weekly We’ll definitely be looking to invest in a pair.
Go Where Scotland – Guided, self-guided and bespoke mountain bike tours – we’re proud to be the ‘Scotland only’ mountain bike travel specialist since 2008. That means we know exactly what makes for a great mountain biking holiday in Scotland.
Petal Power – our local ladies only mountain biking club
If you belong to a cycling club, don’t be shy about asking for advice. Any enthusiast, no matter the activity, is always keen to offer advice. All you need to do is to filter down to the advice which suits you for your problem and your budget. Cold hands and feet are a common problem here in the Highlands when you reach a certain time of year. If you don’t want to pack the bike up for nearly half the year, invest in a wee bit more gear.
” I use a size bigger shoes for winter so there’s room for thick socks. And goretex boot liners if wet. Also neoprene overshoes help.”
For those of you not fussy about branding “Check Aldi, they had neoprene gloves, waterproof socks and merino socks.”
“I have waterproof socks with merino lining – not sure of the make- I’d have got them from Mikes Bikes I think? And I wear Seal Skinz winter gloves and add a cheap silk liner pair from Mountain Warehouse if v cold. I agree with Dot – looser shoes to get more layers under.”
“Always have cold feet even with thick socks and over shoes but once warmed up have cold hands but will wear ski gloves if I have to. Just never care what you look like just get out and ride!!”
Also … a word or two from the Telegraph who interviewed Gary “Flash” Blesson
Very timely – obviously I’m not the only one thinking about this as an issue. I’m pleased to see that The Telegraph is also getting on the bandwagon with their recent article about the Best Cycling Gear for Winter