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Biking in Colder Weather: Protecting Hands and Feet

In 1973, the rock group The Eagles recorded the hit song, Desperado. One of the memorable lines from the song is, "Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?" While they weren't talking about biking in colder weather, it certainly applies.

In the last article, we looked at keeping your head and body warm while riding in colder weather. Today, we will take a look at keeping your hands and feet nice and toasty for bike commuting in the fall, specifically when the temperature is 35-55 degrees Farenheit.

Keeping Hands Warm on Bike Ride

Glove liners on left; flip mittens on right.

To protect my hands, I use a multi-layer approach. For temperatures between 45-55 degrees, I use fleece gloves that have flip mittens (also known as hobo mittens). They are a cross between a glove and a mitten. When the mitten is flipped back, my fingers are exposed and can grip the handlebars better. It also keeps my hand from sweating.

As the temperatures drop, I flip the mitt up to cover my fingers. If that's not enough, I add a pair of moisture-wicking glove liners to provide more insulation and keep my fingers dry. This combination provides a great deal of flexibility, and most importantly keeps my hands warm!

​A key part of keeping your hands and feet warm is keeping them dry.

For my feet, I wear moisture-wicking socks under my biking shoes. Although any shoe will do, I prefer to ride with shoes that have clip-less pedals. As it becomes colder, I switch to a thicker wool/synthetic blend sock. It's critical not to wear cotton socks - they retain moisture and your feet will quickly become very cold!

One of the things about riding is that once your feet get cold, it's almost impossible to warm them up again. Sigh!


It's important to note that the advice in this article is a guideline. For some individuals, my clothing recommendations are too much and for others, too little. Over time, you will find the combination that works best for you.

As the temperature drops to freezing and below, you will need to adjust your clothing for the conditions. Otherwise you may never return to biking again and we can't have that. I'll cover winter clothing in a future post.

Stay tuned and ride on!

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