There are few things more miserable than riding around with cold, wet hands and feet.
With the weather the way it has been throughout November and into December, getting wet on your ride is an occupational hazard. Unfortunately, water is a crafty substance that will eventually make its way into everything, including clothes that claim to be waterproof. So, what do we do?
I recently spent a morning riding to Chepstow in a failed attempt at getting to Bath and back. You may have already seen Jon from Cardiff Cycle Workshop’s post about the very same ride.
I think it’s fairly safe to say, that was as high as they got. By the time we reached the old Severn Bridge about 3 hours later the wind was really starting to howl and a brief respite from the rain was over. We ploughed on towards Bristol and after negotiating a particularly treacherous series of roundabouts around Cribbs Causeway we picked up a cycle path in the grounds of the UWE that delivered us safely to Coffee #1 in Fishponds. Gloves were wrung out, carb’s ingested and once fully caffeinated we saddled up again.
The gloves proved to be a problem for me too. Gloves I’d bought for the express purpose of keeping my hands dry failed me and contributed to a thoroughly miserable few hours in the saddle.
Water will inevitably find its way into most fabric surfaces and “waterproof” gloves are no exception.
Fortunately, there’s another option. Rather than keep your hands dry, why not settle for keeping them warm? Wetsuits are designed to keep divers and swimmers warm under water, by holding a layer of water near the skin that is warmed up by your body. As luck would have it, you can buy gloves made from the same stuff –neoprene.
I recently acquired a pair of Endura FS260Pro Nemo gloves and so far, they’ve been brilliant. They’re light on padding, but neoprene is a fairly spongy material anyway. However, they do hold a damp layer near your skin that stays warm. If it isn’t raining, rest assured, they’ll end up wet through sweat.
Best of all, they provide great dexterity for changing gear and fiddling with the Garmin and they were only about £25. So, if you’ve had no luck with the gloves you have, give some neoprene ones a go.
I hate to break this to you, but overshoes aren’t watertight. They will keep the rain out just long enough to get you far from home, before letting the water in and giving you a cold, squelchy ride back.
One option is to pick up a pair of MTB boots. I did that, but they also took water on during Monday’s rain & gales (I think it might have been the flood water I rode through…). You can also get some waterproof socks, but by far the cheapest option is to use a couple of carrier bags.
No, not those hemp “bags for life”, I mean the old plastic carrier bags you pay 5p for these days. Put your socks on as normal, then put your feet in each bag and then into your shoe. If you have overshoes on, this will hide the rather unsightly excess of bag hanging over the top. It’s worth checking that the bag doesn’t have anti-suffocation holes in the bottom.
This won’t stop you ending up with soggy shoes, but it will at least keep your feet dry and toasty.